JAM Magazine Concert Reviews

October 28, 2011
South Side Music Hall
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Tim Taylor
Photos by Jamie Miller

Anthrax - Anthrax, Testament

Anyone who has grown up listening to heavy metal music knows the cliches of a metal show. The guy with the oldest and rarest t-shirt is the coolest. There will be lots of mullets and denim jackets covered in patches. A bunch of dudes, who have no business showing any skin, will be shirtless and sweaty. Oh yes, there will be moshing - lots and lots of moshing. The crowd that showed up to see Anthrax and Testament rocked the Southside Music Hall with all those cliches and more. It was a glorious sight to see.

Testament was first, and although their sound was a bit muddy, the opening guitar riff of "The Preacher" was all the metal heads in the audience needed to hear in order to go insane. The pit grew quickly, as Alex Skolnick and company roared through a set list spanning their 20-plus year history, including "Over The Wall" from 1987‘s The Legacy, "Into The Pit" from 1988‘s classic The New Order, "Envy Life" from 1989's Practice What You Preach, and a handful of songs from their most recent offering, The Formation Of Damnation. Hideous front man, Chuck Billy, paced back and forth, encouraging the violence in the pit and playing air guitar on his microphone stand. Testament really was the perfect opening act and really set the tone for what was to come.

Anthrax is easily the most interesting metal band of 2011. They just released their first studio album with Joey Belladonna on vocals in twenty-one years. Without a doubt, it's the best metal album of the year. Worship Music is loaded with some of the best guitar riffs and pounding drums that metal fanatics have ever heard, and it's getting rave reviews from fans and critics alike. This night, however, the band had its work cut out for them as fans split their time between watching Anthrax on stage or the Texas Rangers lose the seventh game of the World Series on the televisions all around the room. It was a big buzz kill when the Rangers lost. Fortunately, the band was up for the challenge of bringing the dejected crowd back to life.

Opening with two songs from a new album can be risky business, but the material on Worship Music is so strong that the audience went into a feeding frenzy as soon as they heard the opening notes of "Earth on Hell". Joey Belladonna sounded better than ever, and the band was perfect as they delivered hit after hit including "Caught in a Mosh", "Madhouse", and "Got the Time". During the classic "Indians" from 1987's Among The Living, the pit was especially brutal as the old school fans did the ‘war dance‘, while making sure they didn't go near the bad-ass blonde girl in the middle of it all.

The big surprise of the night came when the band pulled out "Be All, End All" from 1988's State Of Euphoria. The excited head bangers showed their appreciation for Anthrax reaching into the archives just to make us happy. As they walked onto the stage for the encore, the group teased the Dallas crowd with Pantera's "This Love" as a tribute for their fallen friend, Dimebag. The fans sang every word through the first chorus. Then the band blazed through a high energy encore consisting of "Efilnikufesin (N.F.L)", "Metal Thrashing Mad", and "I Am The Law". Leaving the venue, tired, sore, and sweaty, fans were overheard saying this was one of the best shows they had ever seen. A crowded t-shirt stand was testimony to the fact..

It was great seeing one of the great metal bands of our generation rise up after a few years of rotating singers and uncertain future. If the new album and this show are any indications, Anthrax will remain among the top metal acts for years to come.