The KillThrax Tour, featuring metalcore giants Killswitch Engage and old school thrash titans Anthrax arrived at the Fillmore in Silver Spring last night. The bands on supporting duty are The Devil Wears Prada, a band good enough to act as headliner, and Jasta, the eponymous band of Hatebreed lead singer Jamey Jasta. No way in hell were I going to not cover this event!
The show started fifteen minutes or so early, so I missed the first two songs of Jasta. The band played a short set of 4-5 songs. I can’t tell you how it was musically, but Jasta did have the crowd well entertained. Jamey Jasta can usually command a crowd like no other. But on this night his request to get a big mosh pit going fell through. Maybe 7 o’clock in Silver Spring is a tad too early for a mosh pit, or that the venue had not started filling up yet, being a Monday night. Their performance didn’t go unappreciated by anyone though and the crowd was pleased with his stage presence and gave him a good round of applause.
The Devil Wears Prada was the only band of the night that I had not seen earlier. Right off the bat, they established a moody and gloomy atmosphere on the stage, and the venue. The major strength of this band’s music is the lyrical content, often much darker and serious than many other metalcore bands. The short melodic riffs and clean vocals in the latest album ‘Transit Blues’ have polarized their fans, with some fans accusing the music of being “less hard”. I can tell you that the track “Daughter” from ‘Transit Blues’ sounded much harder that what it sounds like when I play it on Spotify. It was evident that they had tons of fans in the crowd, for much of the crowd were crooning the songs with Mike Hranica. The lack of lighting added to the dark ambient sounds they performed. Even in the darkness its easy to see the sheer musical quality of the band’s performance.
I will never forget the day I saw Anthrax for the first time; it was in Rock Allegiance (Chester) last year, where I got struck with an extreme allergic reaction in the middle of the festival. That performance didn’t include some of my favorite tracks, so it left me wanting more. Tonight, it was a different story altogether, Anthrax delivered the most compelling show of the night. The selection of songs was immaculate, for lack of better word, with hits from yesteryears “Among the Living”, “Madhouse” as well as the most recent release ‘For All Kings’. I consider “Evil Twin” and “Blood Eagle Wings” as two of the finest songs Anthrax have ever composed, and Joey Belladonna with his cohort delivered it to perfection. Frank Bello is a monstrous ball of energy, and Scott Ian was as expressive during his guitar play as ever, with the instrument as well as stage presence. Joey Belladonna, with the microphone in his hands was effervescent, stopping not only once to interact with the crowd in front, but as well as those in the upper balconies. At one point, Joey Belladonna grabbed the camera of one photographer and started shooting photos of the crowd. And towards the end of the set, the security was having a hard time stopping people from crowd surfing and landing over the barrier. Chants of ‘Anthrax Anthrax Anthrax’ were ringing all around the venue once the band bowed to the crowd and bid adieu, with a promise that they will be back to Maryland in future.
The last act of the night was Killswitch Engage, Opening the set with the moderately paced “Hate by Design”, a track from the latest album ‘Incarnate’. The strength of Jesse Leach lies in his delivery of harsh vocals, which is aplenty in the two releases with Leach back on the vocals, following the departure of Howard Jones. Howard Jones era songs “Rose of Sharyn”, “The End of Heartache, “My Curse” etc. was also featured in the set list, and I don’t think anyone, barring Howard Jones himself, could have done a better job. Killswitch Engage ended this exciting night by playing “In Due Time”, and to a rousing applause of the crowd. With a bunch of dates left on this tour, you still have a chance to catch them live. Go for it, you won’t regret it!