Anthrax at The Academy, Dublin – Review
Anthrax at The Academy, Dublin – July 2nd 2014
After Slayer playing a sold-out show here in The Academy the night before, another quarter of thrash metal’s ‘Big Four’ will play a sold out show. Tonight’s quarter comes in the form of New York’s own Anthrax. Formed in 1981, Anthrax currently has 10 studio albums. Tonight, Anthrax will perform 1987’s ‘Among the Living’ in full, certainly a treat for long-time fans of the band. There are quite a few familiar faces from Slayer, and they’re all just as equally as excited as they were for Slayer; but before Anthrax hit the stage, it’s tonight’s support act’s turn to show us what they have.
Tonight’s opening act comes in the form of Twisted Wrath, a thrash metal band hailing from Ireland. A huge majority of tonight’s audience haven’t even arrived yet, but this doesn’t faze the band one bit, and they give it everything they have. This is a band who are no strangers to playing with big bands (try UFO and Exodus), and their talent and energy proves as to how and why they can support such strong bands, and the future is definitely bright for them. With a strong set list including new track ‘The Beast’, they prove that the thrash scene in Ireland is most definitely not dead. They finish their half hour set on a total high, and I have a feeling tonight is not the last we will hear of Twisted Wrath.
Once Twisted Wrath leaves the stage, Thin Lizzy hits, AC/DC hits, and more of tonight’s Anthrax fans fill up the Academy. I can’t say I’ve ever seen so many battle-vests in one night, but it’s rare to see one without an Anthrax patch. The whole place is buzzing, knowing that at any moment, the Thrash Giants will take to the stage. The lights dim, everyone begins to chant, and Anthrax’s ‘Worship’ plays. This track is enough to light the fuse, and once the band hit the stage, the entire place explodes, as they open with ‘Among the Living’, the first track off the album of the same name. Chaos ensues as they continue on into ‘Caught in a Mosh’; being the perfect title to describe 80% of the downstairs area of the venue for the entire night, total insanity. That doesn’t mean people didn’t have respect for one another; if someone fell in the pit, they were picked straight back up again as to prevent further injuries. The respect within the metal community is one of my favourite things about it, and makes the night so much more than live music and moshing.
Anthrax is a band that most definitely appreciates their fans, and don’t miss a chance to communicate with them and have a good time with them. Tonight’s crowd interaction is so impressive, and I respect them so much more now for it. Their frontman, Joey Belladonna is probably one of the most charismatic, fun and entertaining frontmen in metal. He performs every song with an energy that can only be described as infectious and contagious. As he dances and jumps around the stage, there’s no doubt that the crowd are completely under his spell, as they bow to his every demand. Honestly, one of the greatest frontmen I’ve had the pleasure of seeing live; and is probably the only frontman that could wear a snapback and still be just as awesome.
They play through ‘Among the Living’ with absolute excellence and never miss a beat, with ‘Hymn 1’ separating ‘A Skeleton in the Closet’ and ‘In the End’. Early on in tonight’s show, the lights go dark, and when light returns, the crowd is welcomed by a banner with the faces of Ronnie James Dio (who passed away in 2010 of cancer) and Dimebag Darrell (Pantera’s guitarist who was shot dead on stage in 2004) on it. These were (and still are) both musicians who hold a special place not just in the hearts of Anthrax, but in the hearts of all metal fans; a moving tribute to the fallen heroes of this genre. Tonight’s set continues on with tracks such as ‘Indians’, ‘A.D.I / Horror of It All’, ‘Imitation of Life’, and ‘I Am the Law’. Anthrax finish their set with ‘March of the S.O.D’, a Stormtroopers of Death cover. Anthrax leave the stage, only to return with one of the best encores imaginable, which includes ‘I’m the Man’, a cover of Thin Lizzy’s ‘Jailbreak’, ‘Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t’ and ‘Antisocial’; the first song definitely being the most entertaining song of the night and the latter producing the biggest mosh pits and sing-a-longs of the entire night. The band leaves the stage, but Belladonna decides to stay and dance for everyone a little bit longer. I’m going to say it again, such an awesome frontman.
Tonight was more than a metal show; it was a thrash metal show. From start to end, it was bursting at the seams with drum blasts, chugging and screeching guitars, deafening sing-a-longs and a whole lot of fun. If I’ve learnt anything, it’s that thrash metal is most definitely not dead, and it is not going anywhere anytime soon. I look forward to Anthrax’s return with great anticipation and am so excited to see what they produce next!
Review by Shauna Collins