Anthrax is celebrating four decades of being metal thrashing mad and moshed into the sold-out Fillmore in Minneapolis, Minnesota and brought a whole lot of noise to the venue. Joining the party were Black Label Society and Hatebreedwhich made for an unbelievable night of fist crushing music.
Hitting the stage first was Hatebreed and it is no secret what they do. Hit you fast and hard and cause as much destruction as possible. Led by frontman Jamey Jasta the band launched into an assault of heavy pounders that included “Proven,” “Destroy Everything,” “Perseverance” and “Looking Down The barrel of Today.” Hatebreed are no strangers to thrash scene and have toured with everybody except the biggest band of the big four. With that type of history, it just made sense for them to rip a smoking version of “Bonded by Blood,’ the Exodus classic cut. I’ve seen these guys on so many different tours over the years and every time they deliver the goods, the vibe is so positive and they use every second of their time on stage getting every person involved in the show.
Black Label Society led by Zakk Wylde hit the stage with the song “Funeral Bell.” The band, along with Wylde, feature another guitar shredder in Dario Lorina along with bassist John DeServio and drummer Jeff Fabb. The band dropped ‘Doom Crew Inc.’ in 2021 and the set featured “Destroy & Conquer,” “You Made Me Want to Live” and “Set Me Free” from that album. Some other highlights included “Overlord,” “Fire it Up” and “Suicide Messiah.” I’ve seen Black Label Society on many occasions but this show was something different, the energy was palpable and it looked like a band on a mission to leave its mark on the Minneapolis Chapter fan base. It was like a jackhammer to your head reminding you just how good this band is and the electricity that Zakk brings as he shreds the frets off his guitar. With Zakk casting such a large shadow you sometimes forget the talent of Lorina but this tour is highlighting his ability throughout the set. He is getting plenty of time to showcase his fret burning ability as he trades off solos which created a nice dynamic between the two. Towards the end of the set the two takes to the center perch and put the guitars behind their head and rip solos and harmonize with each other which really gave the feeling that is was a band and not just one man. They ended with the classic “Stillborn,” which ended one of the most entertaining Black Label Society shows I have ever seen.
Anthrax was my gateway into thrash music. ‘Among the Living’ was an album I couldn’t get enough of back in 1987, its break-neck speed, moshing and infectious hooks was ground breaking to my ears and it still stands as one of the most important metal albums of all time. Here we are, with Anthrax, celebrating forty years as they open with that title track from that iconic album. The band still has its key nucleus of Scott Ian, Joey Belladonna, Frank Bello and Charlie Benante which introduced Anthrax to the masses. Filling the roster was Jon Donais who has been axe slinging for the band since 2013. This stage production, with its ramps and stairs, is the biggest thing they have done in a long time and it really felt like an old-school Anthrax show. I think the lay-off gave the band a chance to recharge the batteries as they looked like an inspired group of guys proving why they belong in the Big Four. Belladonna sounded as good as ever and Bello never stopped moving as they ripped through classics like “Madhouse,” “Metal Thrashing Mad,” “Caught In A Mosh,” “I Am the Law’” and new cuts like “The Devil You Know” and “In The End.” A couple cool gems from the set included “Only,” the only John Bush era song to be played and Scott Ian handling the lead rap on “Bring the Noise” was really fun. The fantastic night ended with “Indians” as it capped one of the best Anthrax performances I have seen in years.