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Metal/Prog Metal Concert Reviews

Anthrax

Live in Rockford, IL, September 28, 2005

Review by Mike Korn

It's been a long and twisting road for Anthrax, but things seem to have come full circle for them. The band has once again settled into the same classic configuration that unleashed seminal albums like "Among the Living" and "State of Euphoria" upon the world and I must say, it seems very natural and comfortable. Talking to singer Joey Belladonna, it was obvious he felt it was destiny of these guys to reunite and attack the masses once again. Joey also said that Anthrax's show would get straight to the point and hit the crowd with nothing but classic hits. He was right on the mark with that remark.

Opening with "Among the Living", the first thing I noticed was the conspicuous absence of Dan Spitz. About three quarters of the way through the song, Dan finally showed up and unleashed a solo with his laid back, almost Ace Frehley like demeanor. One of the things I like about Anthrax is that each member has a different stage presence. Frank Bello is one of the most active and intense bassmen in rock...he runs around like a madman and frantically gestures to the crowd while thrashing like crazy. Bald headed Scott Ian is a gnarly little dude who doesn't run around quite as much, but who strikes a very distinct and energetic pose with his intense facial expressions and headbanging. The aforementioned Spitz is definitely the cool customer of the band but not so much as to be aloof.

Gary Hill
 
Gary Hill
   
Most of the stage is commanded by Belladonna, who is an archetypal metal frontman. He hasn't changed his hairstyle since 1985 and God bless him for it. Vocally, he was just as strong as ever and during the opening of "NFL", he hit a long sustained note that few could have matched (one of the few happening to be Rob Halford whose Judas Priest were headlining). He's still one of the most distinct and melodic frontmen in thrash metal.

Only one real surprise amongst the set list, that being "Medusa" from "Spreading the Disease". The rest of the set was all standards...an excellent "Indians" which the crowd sang along with, "Antisocial" (ditto), "Caught In a Mosh" and a bone-crumbling closer of "I Am the Law". As you might expect, nothing from the lengthy John Bush era was touched on, which I feel was a shame. "Only" is as good as tune as Anthrax ever wrote.

Nevertheless, the "real" Anthrax is back in action and they fulfilled their function very well tonight...setting the table for the Metal Gods, Judas Priest.


Gary Hill
 
Gary Hill
   
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

 
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