Considered one of the “Big Four” classic thrash metal bands (along with Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth), Anthrax has gone through their share of line-up, recording label and stylistic changes during their 30-plus year career. With that much experience under their belt, it’s no surprise that Anthrax knows how to throw a party. The band appeared to be enjoying every minute of their time on Tabernacle Atlanta’s stage during their opening slot on the current Lamb of God Spring tour, which arrived in Atlanta Tuesday, Jan. 19.
There’s no denying that this band has personality, and it shows in their performance. Head-banging bassist Frank Bello gets the “Metal Thrashing Mad” award for being the most gregarious of the crew, smiling and bouncing around the stage, only briefly stopping to add background vocals. The “new guy,” ex-Shadows Fall guitarist Jon Donais, blends in well with the band, providing a quick-fingered counterpoint to Scott Ian’s aggressive rhythm playing. Underrated drummer Charlie Benate lays down the pummeling beat with ease as classic-era singer Joey Belladonna (back with the band since 2010), takes center stage as the ringleader, smiling, throwing guitar picks and constantly interacting with the crowd.
The band’s setlist concentrated mainly on their classic Belladonna-era material, and unfortunately only included one new song, “Evil Twin” from the soon-to-be-released album For All Kings. I was really hoping to hear some more of their new material, but only one song is understandable considering their abbreviated opening time slot.
“Fight’Em ’Til You Can’t” from their 2011 release Worship Music started the set, before the band settled into that familiar, bouncing thrash groove of their classic anthem “Caught In A Mosh.” It was at the beginning of that song that I leaned over to the security guard in the photo pit and said: “This is when the bodies start flying.” And fly they did. “Got The Time,” “Antisocial,” and the fabulous “In The End” filled out the middle section, before the band once again went back to their critically acclaimed 1987 masterpiece Among The Living for the big ending: a double shot of “Indians” and “Among The Living.”
As far as metal concerts go, this is how it should be done. A great venue, tasteful and colorful lighting, and a classic metal band performing at the top of their game.
Full gallery of Anthrax
Full Gallery of Lamb of God