Anthrax Brings a Major Mosh To Flagstaff: Review – Bookmans- Written by Paul Lee
I’ve been an Anthrax fan for years and I’ve followed their rise to fame since their first album Fistful of Metal in 1984. I remember well when the band released this early thrash classic with it’s garish and cover with a guy’s face being destroyed by a spiked fist. I had just gotten into Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All and then Fistful of Metal arrived on the scene and floored me. From the get go, things were looking bright for Anthrax and their rise to world domination was assured.
It’s unbelievable to think that Anthrax has been unleashing their brand of thrash metal since the nascent days of the thrash movement in 1982. Its now been 35 years since this crew of fierce New Yorkers have dominated the global metal scene and there’s still no stopping them.
After Fistful of Metal, the band continued to release a string of killer albums. There were classics like Spreading The Disease (1985), Among The Living (1986) – which purportedly coined the term “mosh” from the song “Caught In A Mosh” – and Persistence of Time (1990) which featured a blistering cover of Joe Jackson’s “Got The Time.” Anthrax continued to set the world afire with their uniquely heavy (and catchy) songs.
Due to some musical differences, Joey Belladonna parted ways with Anthrax and John Bush, formerly part of highly underrated US metal band Armored Saint, took over the microphone duties. Anthrax had a bit of a musical shift as it incorporated a touch of alternative influences yet kept their awesome full metal assault. With Bush leading the charge, guitarist Scott Ian, and drummer Charlie Benante directing the band, Anthrax released Sound of White Noise (1993), Stomp 442 (1995), Volume 8: The Threat Is Real (1998) and We’ve Come For You All (2003) showed that Anthrax still had the skills to pay the bills.
My connection to Anthrax is a personal one as I was linked to them in a professional way. It was around the release of Persistence of Time that I interned at Megaforce Records, Anthrax’s record company also former home to Metallica. It was an exciting time for me as I was in college seriously pondering diving into the music business. I got to hang out with Anthrax who I had interviewed a few years before on their State of Euphoria tour with San Francisco thrashers Exodus. I got to see Anthrax play with Primus and Public Enemy for a unique tour.
Today, Anthrax continue to mosh their way all over the globe with their stomp after releasing another great CD For All Kings (2016) (one of the best in their illustrious career) that followed equally awesome Worship Music (2011) that reunited singer Joey Belladonna (the second vocalist but longest serving one) with the band. Both Worship and Kings not only harken back to Anthrax’s glory days, they both prove that the band still had important music to offer the rock ‘n roll world.
Anthrax Stomps Flagstaff
I was lucky enough to be able to attend Anthrax’s show at the Orpheum in Flagstaff (their first time in our fair city) and take photos of the show. I’ve seen them at least four times before and this show was just as phenomenal as the previous ones I’ve seen.
The Orpheum was absolutely filled to the gills with rabid Anthrax fans chanting the band’s name. The band hit the stage with a blistering version of “A.I.R.” (Adolescents In Red) from Spreading The Disease and set the tone for the rest of the raucous evening. You’d never know that Anthrax were at it for 35 years as they had all the vitality of thrashing youth.
Guitarist Scott Ian unleashed sonic fury with other classic song’s like “Caught In A Mosh” and “Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.).” Bassist Frank Bello let loose his bass thunder and the band stomped with songs like Joe Jackson’s “Got The Time”. Singer Joey Belladonna still had the pipes to carry his melodic magic throughout the show and showed that he was still a vital presence in the metal vocal world. Setting the rhythmic carnage throughout was the mighty Charlie Benante who, in spite of nerve problems, showed no sign of weakness.
In addition the to the classics, Anthrax ripped through some of their newer excellent material like “Monster In The End” from For All Kings and “Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t” from Worship Music. In spite of my biased reverence for this band, I tried to have an unbiased view of this amazing group of thrashers. With the great turnout and crowd response, I’ll bet that Anthrax will return to Flagstaff on their next tour.
The Opening Bands
Opening up the show was Swedish quintet Avatar who put on a great performance with their carnival of metal destruction. Their sound was unique and my curiosity was piqued as to what they sound like on CD. All the members of Avatar just let loose and unleashed a fury of metal that had the crowd fully engaged. As they played, I tried to figure out their style of metal and I couldn’t peg them into any one genre which is a good sign. I would definitely go to another show if they were the headliners.
Second on the bill was the mighty Death Angel who have been a merciless thrash machine since the mid-80’s. Surprisingly, this was my first time seeing them outside of watching them on DVD and for the hour that they were on stage, I was blown away. Their energy and intensity was awesome and singer Mark Osegueda connected with the crowd and proved why he’s one of the best frontmen in metal. The crowd chanted “Death Angel” over and over again and the energy was electric.
Death Angel was touring in support of their latest and quite excellent album The Evil Divide. The album is another great thrash fest that continues with the passion and power of their last four CDs The Art of Dying (2004), Killing Season (2010), The Relentless Revolution (2012) and The Dream Calls For Blood (2014). There’s not a weak album among them. I sincerely hope that the band comes to Flagstaff as a headlining act where they’ll get to play a full set.
Overall, the Anthrax show made for an unforgettable experience that I hope will continue to open the door for A-list metal bands to come to Flagstaff. If anything, the show proved that metal is truly alive and well in Arizona and the world.
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