A coronation of sorts, representing an incredible milestone. Hard to believe that it has been thirty five years since the release of their now archetypal Among The Living, Anthrax are, particularly in 2017 a terrific force to be reckoned with. Commemorating this remarkable achievement our quintet deliver a performance that would be fit For All Kings. Riding off the immense success that their 2016 effort garnered, the Among The Kings tour features a game of two halves. Going the way of the Metallica’s of the world, the first set is a performance of tracks requested by fans featuring material spanning the groups career. Returning afterwards to perform their classic Among The Living in its entirety.
Nevertheless before these seasoned veterans take to the stage we welcome to the first flight of The Raven Age. With a schedule as chockablock as Anthrax’s it’s understandable why the band would be bringing along just the one support band. Set to release their debut record Darkness Will Rise this March, The Raven Age are a welcomed young blood. Delivering a stellar mid 00’s Metalcore smackdown to the evening. Recently announcing their signing to BMG, it’s hard to imagine that a band’s first ever tour would be one of this kind of stature.
Taking to the stage the incredibly young band immediately command, what would be an incredibly daunting sized Forum with confidence. The stalking Michael Burrough, a would be Lost Boys, Kiefer Sutherland doppelganger, walks the stage delivering the triplet thundering “Death March” with ease. No mean feat performing to a crowd that could well be antagonistic towards support particularly with a performance like tonight’s set to take place. Nevertheless the confidence of these young lads is somewhat infectious, particularly the bellowing of bassist Matt Cox who happily blasts the cobwebs off any unsuspecting punters tonight. Not to mention that George Harris, holds his own on the stage here tonight with the duties of lead guitarist, proving that perhaps he may well continue on the legacy of his namesake. Given the band have yet to release a record, though that will be arriving shortly, the age of the ravens will be arriving shortly. Delivering a cocksure yet never arrogant performance, it would be easy to be overwhelmed here at a venue this is size but these London lads have The Forum in the palm of their hands tonight. Not a bad start boys.
As the imperial march of “Impaled” begins the band’s empirical introduction screams of Anthrax reach almost a deafening level as Charlie Benante, Frank Bello, Scott Ian and Jonathan Donais come out each immediately taking position at their relative posts. Before the (somehow?!) bounding ball of energy that is Joey Belladonna walks out with a speed that most young frontmen don’t even possess. Instantly gripping the crowd from the off, tonight’s first half is dedicated to a set list cherry picked by the audience. Prior to the show fans were given forty four tracks to choose from. Power to the people!
Instantly you can tell that fans have brilliant taste as the band bound into “A.I.R.” Thrashing their way through the first track it’s clear that Anthrax have been rehearsing well for their Among The Kings Tour putting precedence on their more Thrash oriented songs. It’s immediately followed by the cell rattling “Madhouse“. Who often don’t even need Belladonna’s, particularly perfect soaring vocal lines as the audience will do nicely. Before moving into new number “Evil Twin“. Three songs down Anthrax are simply on fire here tonight. Releasing For All Kings could arguably have reignited the dormant drive within them as tonight’s performance is nothing short of flawless. Frank Bello, living up to his name hurling out lyrics as his bass lines rumble on throughout the brutal “Blood Eagle Wings” before the closing of our first act, summoned by the delicate clean chords of “Breathing Lightning” whose delivery would shake the foundations of the olympians.
After a brief interval (has there ever been an interval at a Thrash show?) Anthrax return to a stage adorned differently to its beginning. Combining both artwork of Among The Living and For All Kings it’s a fantastic statement of the band in 2017. Thirty five years after the release of Among The Living. Let that sink in for a moment. The band wrote this now archetypal record thirty five years ago! Of course the group play the full record with style and panache. “Skeleton In The Closet” goes down a treat as the crowd rhetorically ask the infamous question of”Any skeletons hiding in the closet?“. Scott Ian leads the charge in the second half of “Indians” whose war cry deafens the surrounding Kentish Town area. Not to mention Jonathan Donais is completely at home performing solos all over the place from “Caught In A Mosh” which sees the rowdiest moment of the night in a flurry of bodies. Finishing up with the classic “The Horror Of It All” the band return for one more final cry in the form of “Antisocial“. Proving that these gents are anything but. Tonight the band not only celebrate their landmark achievement of Among The Living but prove to people that even still now For All Kings, their latest record, stands among some of their best material. Representing a successful coronation both past and present that Anthrax are and always will be one of the kings of Thrash Metal.