We hit the ground running this month with a genre of Metal that I will always identify with - Thrash. You grow up listening to your parents music until you discover your own & that can be painted with a whatever fad you happened to be the demographic for at the time or your life can be enriched with something real. Thankfully my friends & I were right there to witness the blossoming & then domination of Thrash Metal in the mid 1980's.
Here we visit some of our faves, still kicking ass all these years.
KillThrax Tour w/ Anthrax & Killswitch Engage - April 18th - House of Blues - Dallas, TX
One of the most highly anticipated Metal tours this year, The KillThrax Tour, featuring a co-headlining bill of thrash royalty Anthrax and metalcore titans Killswitch Engage, rounded out by rising metalcore outfit The Devil Wears Prada and Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed fame.
Taking the stage to the familiar openings sounds of Among the Living to the great delight of the crowd, thrash metal godfathers Anthrax literally dropped a bomb with the kind of ferocity and sheer intensity most bands thirty years their junior would be lucky to emulate.
Still touring on what many consider (myself included) would could very well be their greatest LP to date, 2016’s For All Kings, the evening’s performance was also a metal time machine journey through Anthrax’s early catalog. Three FAK tracks off & lead single tune from 2011’s Worship Music, blended perfectly with the early material & so great to have Joey Belladonna back in the band from those classic early records on these new LPs. He hasn't missed a step and in fact might even sound better than before.
At 56 years of age, Joey Belladona’s voice has only improved, his level of energy & confidence are just that much stronger. This same sentiment holds true for the entirety of the band, especially in terms of Frank Bello and Scott Ian’s frantic antics while up on stage. Sadly long-time drummer Charlie Benante hasn't been touring with them as much as of late, nursing some physical ailments, however, workaholic Jason Bittner from Shadows Fall has stepped in for this tour & doing a fine job. This dude is also somehow the drummer for Flotsam & Jetsam AND Overkill as well!
Anthrax makes interactions with the audience that ensures their performances are unique, making these encounters that much more timeless for their fan base. At most concerts if the band performs at a high level, that’s more than enough for almost any fan to be satisfied with. Anthrax always manages to exceed those expectations by creating personal moments that will never die. Hell at one point, Belladonna, who made an appearance on our Youtube channel TrickyKid TV earlier that afternoon spotted us and let us know his appreciation for us being there in no uncertain terms.
Among the Living
Caught in a Mosh
Fight 'Em 'Til You Can't
I Am the Law
March of the S.O.D. (Stormtroopers of Death)
Blood Eagle Wings
Antisocial (Trust cover)
Taking the stage right before them was Massachusetts' Killswitch Engage who are on somewhat of a nostalgia trip themselves as the band is also celebrating one of their own record’s anniversary, The Art of Balance, released fifteen years ago, the band’s second full-length studio effort put the outfit on the proverbial metal map on the strength of the single, “Last Serenade.”
Known for his crazy stage outfits and even more outlandish stage antics, guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz could easily come off as corny. however fans seem excited to see what eccentric ensemble Dutkiewicz would show up in.
The counter to Dutkiewicz was lead singer Jesse Leach, is more of a serious presence while up on stage & commands immediate attention and only has to utter a few words for the audience to respond with vigor especially when he welcomed Joey Belladonna to the stage to end their set with Dio's Holy Diver.
Joey said he had a surprise for us earlier that afternoon and this was it & it was awesome. Anthrax have taken to honoring the late great Ronnie James Dio with a track from Worship Music called In the End that honors both Dio & Dimebag Darrell from hometown heroes Pantera. This was a great extension of that. Good times.
Hate by Design
My Last Serenade
Alone I Stand
The End of Heartache
Rose of Sharyn
This Is Absolution
Beyond the Flames
In Due Time
Strength of the Mind
Holy Diver (Dio cover) (with Joey Belladonna)
As mentioned above, we had the opportunity to speak at length with Joey Belladonna for our weekly TrickyKid Radio program and this time it was filmed for a special episode of TrickyKid TV that you can view on this site or on our YouTube Channel.
Testament w/ Sepultura & Prong - April 7th - Gas Monkey Live - Dallas,TX
It's cliche to say so, but as Anthrax as a member of the Big Four of Thrash, people usually say the Next Four would easily include Testament & to a degree others also include Sepultura. For me personally the big four is what led me to other thrash bands, these two included and Testament's The New Order LP ruled my summer in 1988. I stayed with them up until 1992's The Ritual (& no not because of Grunge) my tastes were changing on their own & their last few releases up to that point were getting harder to defend.
I finally managed to see them live many years later in 2007 & can honestly say their Dark Roots of Thrash tour in 2015 was the best rock show I saw that year (one of the best ever). It got me listening to The New Order again and I couldn't believe how well that record has held up, a true classic. So with that in mind, I was back on board and eagerly awaiting the release of their most recent LP - The Brotherhood of the Snake and to hear those new songs live.
The first several songs of their set was a mix of tracks from the new LP & some staples from the past. Vocalist Chuck Billy led the charge, often playing air guitar on his mic stand as he crisscrossed the stage. Guitarists Eric Peterson and Alex Skolnick were spot-on with their leads and solos and the always reliable Gene Hoglan gracefully pummeled the back beat.
The band may have 30 years under their belt, but they played with as much enthusiasm as they did when they were starting out. Mixing in classics from their late-80s/early-90s albums left the crowd breathless, whether they were in the pit or not. If you’re wondering how Testament has kept it together for some many years, the bands set and the crowds reaction is all you need to know.
Brotherhood of the Snake
The Pale King
Centuries of Suffering
Into the Pit
Throne of Thorns
Eyes of Wrath
First Strike Is Deadly
Souls of Black
The New Order
Practice What You Preach
Over the Wall
Before Testament, Sepultura took the stage & immediately kicked into a scorched earth set that included material from their critically acclaimed 2017 release Machine Messiah and more than a handful of classics. “Inner Self,” from 1989s Beneath the Remains and “Refuse/Resist” from 1993s Chaos A.D. were instant crowd pleasers, as was “Roots Bloody Roots” from their 1996s Roots LP. Vocalist Derrick Green commanded the stage as vicious mosh pits churned beneath him. Among the many reasons to see the band live, drummer Eloy Casagrande has to be at the top of the list. He brings as much to the band as any drummer in their history, if not more. Of course, lead guitarist Andreas Kisser was flawless in his execution and remains one of the best guitarists in the game.
Prong began the evening with a high-energy set - Front man/guitarist Tommy Victor, a veteran of the hardcore punk/industrial/metal scene, admirably warmed up the crowd as his three-piece band hammered through songs from their last release X: No Absolutes and delighted the crowd with classics like “Unconditional,” “Beg to Differ,” and of course, “Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck.” The band was razor sharp throughout their half-hour set, exhibiting the precision and power that have earned them a devoted following across their 30 year career.
Beg to Differ
Cut and Dry
Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck
Whose Fist Is This Anyway?
Sense of Ease