To celebrate their 40th anniversary, accomplished thrash metal band, Anthrax performed a live stream concert to fans from all around the world. Throughout their 40-year tenure, Anthrax has released 11 studio albums along with numerous singles and 17 live, compilation and video albums. Anthrax is known as one of the leaders of the thrash metal scene and one of the “Big Four” influential thrash metal bands alongside Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer.
To kick off the event, viewers saw a countdown set against a black screen with a zombie-like undead face with rotten teeth and pale blue eyes. As the countdown reached 0:00, the screen faded to black and cut to a black and white close-up clip to a slow-motion drum stick powering down onto the cymbal, a stark contrast to the silence of the live stream thus far. The tick-tock-like beat corresponded with flashing images of clips from previous concerts and close-ups of instruments. With the screech of a guitar, the band came into vision adorned in all-black clothing and set in front of a pentagon-covered drum set. The entire stage was pitch black, the only lighting being colored backlighting and beams. The ambiance certainly paired well with the heavy, dark music to follow.
Anthrax showed the same high level of passion, intensity and aggression throughout their 22-song set. The band’s energy was comparable to that of their younger selves, as one fan joked in the public chat, “Not only is this not live, it was actually filmed in 1986, what a rip-off.” Their performance included heavy, suspenseful guitar riffs, intricate, fast drum patterns and lots and lots of head thrashing. Anthrax is notorious for their fast-paced rhythm as they cite punk bands like the Ramones, Dead Kennnedys, Sex Pistols and Black Flag as influences. The chaotic atmosphere was amplified by the flashing lights and the camera cutting to different perspectives of the band. Clips alternated between close-up shots of fingers strumming an electric guitar, the pounding of the drums, and Joey Belladonna’s expressive singing, all of this combined with the music created a dizzying experience.
Notable performances of the evening included “Madhouse,” which started off with a heavy guitar intro followed by loud, crashing drums. The quick flash of camera cuts, red backlighting, and the band yelling in unison, “It’s a madhouse!” gave the selection a combative tone. Also notable, “Be All, End All” began inconspicuously with slow, quiet cymbals that gradually got louder and faster. Finally, all instruments abruptly crashed in. The band, set against a green and black spiral tarp, flipped their middle finger up to the camera as a sound effect similar to deep breathing blasted through the speakers. As the camera zoomed in on Belladonna’s face during “Blood Eagle Wings,” it was easy to see the passion he holds for performing. The band was consumed in pinkish light as an electric guitar solo blared and abruptly stopped. The screen cut to black and all of a sudden returned. As the music slowed, a cartoon image of a skull flashed on and off of Belladonna’s face. The concert included a Joe Jackson cover, “Got the Time,” a Trust cover, “Antisocial” and their famous Public Enemy collaboration, “Bring the Noise,” during which Chuck D joined the band on stage.
As if Anthrax’s reputation and performance wasn’t enough to make clear the influence they have had on the metal scene specifically and music in general, the concert was constantly interrupted by celebrities and musicians congratulating the band on 40 years. Rob Zombie correctly stated, “They were born to be rockers,” Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil noted that “many people are afraid to meet their idols, but they are amazing on stage, and awesome people off stage.” Shavo Odadjian of System of a Down exclaimed, “They paved the way for others; they are legends,” followed by Slash, who applauded the passion they hold for performing and loving it enough to never let go. Henry Rollins of Black Flag joked, “They still have an audience, and they still pull it off. It does not suck.”
Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t
Caught in a Mosh
Metal Thrashing Mad
Got the Time (Joe Jackson cover)
I Am The Law
Keep It in the Family
The Devil You Know
Be All, End All
Now It’s Dark
Antisocial (Trust cover)
In the End
A Skeleton in the Closet
Blood Eagle Wings
Bring the Noise (Public Enemy cover, featuring Chuck D)
Bring the Noise
File Photo: Boston Lynn Shulz