by Alex Barbieri & Jonna Ambur
- Senior Columnist / Photojournalist –
OCTOBER 4, 2012 AT WEBSTER THEATER, HARTFORD, CT
On a Mission to Bring Back Old School Metal
Some of Connecticut’s best and heaviest bands kicked off this much-anticipated thrash fest. Continuum from Wolcott—featuring the ferocious vocals of Brenda St. Amant—were the cream of the crop, along with Oath of Insanity from Hamden. This young band, highlighted by the amazing guitar work of Joey Concepcion, warmed up the crowd with their blend of youthful enthusiasm and old-school style thrash. Vengeance, Graven Image and Eyes of the Dead rounded out the awesome local scene in The Webster’s Underground.
All the way from California, Death Angel was the first band up and played to an already-packed house. Touring in support of Relentless Retribution, Death Angel’s amazing guitar duo of Rob Cavestany and Ted Aguilar generated unbelievable chemistry and complementary riffs. Mark Osegueda’s vocals were on point, and newest members Damien Sisson on bass and Will Carroll on drums, melded right into the mix and didn’t miss a beat.
Testament has gone through many member changes over the years, so it’s hard to keep track of who’s recording and who’s touring; however, that night you’d think they’d all been playing together straight through for 20 years.
The current lineup features Chuck Billyon vocals, Eric Peterson and Alex Skolnick on guitars, Greg Christian on bass, and drummer, Gene Hoglan. These guys projected incredible energy and camaraderie with each other and the fans, despite the fact that the club was sweltering, smoky, and humid and people were dripping sweat from the pit to the bar.
Testament delivered to enormous response. As soon as they played “Into the Pit,” the floor was a sea of passing bodies.They played songs from the early years like “Over the Wall” and “Practice What You Preach,” and unleashed new tracks like “True American Hate” and “Native Blood” from their July 2012 release, Dark Roots of Earth.
Now 120 degrees in the club with NO air circulation. The building filled up with effect fog to the point that camera lenses needed windshield wipers! You’d think people would give up and go home—NO chance! Anthrax hit the stage to a full house, and we were all sent back in time. From the first song, the bodies were being passed over the crowd and through the pit.
Worship Music, their critically lauded 10th studio album released last year, features the return of Joey Belladonna, and was their first recording of original music since 2003.
After opening with “Fight ‘Em ‘Til Ya Can’t,” they launched into “Caught in a Mosh” and “Cry for the Indians” followed by another new one, “The Devil You Know.” “Efilnikufesin” started the encore, followed by “Got the Time” from Persistence of Time—at that time the first crazed fan rushed the stage, only to be tackled and escorted away by security.The encore wrapped up with “I Am the Law” and another fan rushed, then tried to elude security only to be nailed by TWO of them and removed promptly from the building. Everyone was feeling the heat in the building, and kudos to these guys for powering through.The effects/fog was so dense at times, sometimes you couldn’t even see the band!
Every member of Anthrax put on an amazing show, which included Belladonna on vocals, Scott Ian and Rob Caggiano on guitars, Frank Bello on bass, and drummer Jason Bittner, who did a stellar job filling in for the legendary and much-loved Charlie Benante. They were all phenomenal, and are true metal to the core. Anthrax will always remain true to themselves, their fans and their music. They prove it time, and again.
Overall the night was astounding! It brought so many of us back to the days of skipping class, buying tapes at a record store, walking around with boom boxes and spare D batteries, and at the same time introduced live metal to the next generation of young fans in attendance. To share the words of Joey Belladonna, “Always remember to worship music. Long live rock and roll!”
Anthrax, Testament & Death Angel Photo Gallery
PHOTO GALLERY—PHOTOS BY JONNA AMBUR
by Christophe Pauly
- Photographer –
June 15th-17th 2012, in Clisson, France
France’s Hellfest is an ‘extreme music’ festival held at Clisson, western France, a new location having moved from Val de Moine, on Friday 15th to Sunday 17th June 2012.
Ozzy & Friends who replace Black Sabbath, Lamb of God, Trivium, Blue Oyster Cult, Children Of Bodom, Hatebreed, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Machine Head, Acid King, Alpha Tiger, Amon Amarth, August Burns Red, Betraying The Martyrs, Blood Red Throne, Brain Police, Brujeria, Brutal Truth, Cannibal Corpse, Megadeth, Guns N Roses, Motley Crue, Within Temptation, Refused, Dropkick Murphys, Biohazard, Turbonegro, Abysse, All Shall Perish, Arson Anthem, Ascension, Behemoth, Belenos, Benighted, Big Business, Black Bomb A, Bukowski, Cancer Bats, Celeste, D-A-D, Discharge, Doomriders, Edguy, Entombed, Gotthard, Hank Iii, Hamlet, Heaven Shall Burn, Ihsahn, Insomnium, Jesus Crost, Koritni, Lasting Values, Liturgy, Lock Up, Moonsorrow, Necrophagia, Obituary, October File, Satyricon, Sebastian Bach, Shining, Sublime Cadaveric Decomposition, Suffocation, Sunno))), The Atomic Bitchwax, The Bronx, The Obsessed, The Rodeo Riot Engine, Tragedy, Trepalium, Unearth, Unsane, Uriah Heep, Vitamin X, Channel Zero, Darkest Hour, Death Angel, Devil Driver, Djerv, Dog Eat Dog, Do Or Die, Dying Fetus, Emmure, Endstille, Enslaved, L Esprit Du Clan, Exodus, Extinction Of A Mankind, Gamabomb, Girlschool, Glorior Belli, H2o, Hoods, Integrity, Lizzy Borden, Madball, Merrimack, Molly Hatchet, Nasum, Origin, Pentagram, Sacred Reich, Saint Vitus, Suicidal Angels, Taake, Vomitory, Walls Of Jericho, Year Of No Light, Yob, Aborted, Alcest, All For Nothing, Amenra, Anaal Nathrakh, Aosoth, Arcturus, Asg, Avulsed, Benediction, Colour Haze, Crashdiet, Darkspace, Death Before Dishonor, Dimmu Borgir, Disembowelment, Dyse, From Ashes Rise, Haemorrhage, Hour Of Penance, In Extremo, Monkey 3, Napalm Death, Necros Christos, Orange Goblin, Oranssi Pazuzu, Rompeprop, Solstafir, Spudmonsters, Strife, The Devil’s Blood, Thou, Ufomammut, Unexpect, Vanderbuyst, Victims, Vulture Industries, Winterfylleth.
Hellfest 2012 Photo Gallery
by Trevor Portz
Staff Writer –
October 22, 2011 at Club Nokia, Los Angeles, CA.
Riding the waves of praise and success both Anthrax and Testament have had with their most recent albums (Worship Music and The Formation of Damnation, respectively), it was a masterstroke for the bands to tour together. Throwing in a little Death Angel created a triple bill that feels something like a Big 4 spinoff tour. Thus, the crowd at Los Angeles’ Club Nokia was understandably hyped to catch a triple dose of thrash royalty.
Due to L.A. traffic, the Death Angel portion of this review will be based solely on hearsay, but with that caveat, it appears they put on a great show and kicked things off with a bang.
After a quick set change, Testament took to the stage to a packed crowd with horns raised high. Opening with fan-favorite “The Preacher,” it was almost immediately apparent what renewed life the band has been infused with in recent years. While they stuck mostly to the classics and new tracks, the audience was treated to a few oddities, such as the rarely played “Envy Life” from Practice What You Preach. The only bummer was that, with the exception of “D.N.R.” and “3 Days in Darkness” from The Gathering, the band completely avoided two of its non-Skolnick (and heaviest) albums, Low and Demonic. While it does make some sense, especially since they weren’t massive sellers for the band, it’s a pity they tend to be ignored on the live front. Either way, though, Chuck and the gang played a brutal set of thrash classics, and more than satisfied the crowd’s urge to mosh.
Another quick change (by metal standards), and it was time for Anthrax to hit the stage. Wasting no time, the band flew into “Earth on Hell” from Worship Music, showing that even 30 years down the road, they have not lost the gift of speed. Like their kinsmen in Testament, the members ran, jumped, and stomped as intensely as they did in the early days. It would seem thrash is immune to aging. Recently returned front man Joey Belladonna sounds stronger than ever, and truly seems to enjoy being back in the band that made him famous (or, conversely, in the band he helped make famous).
Seamlessly blending old and new tracks, the audience was treated to the expected standards (“Caught in a Mosh,” “Antisocial,” “Got the Time,” and “Madhouse”), as well as a slew of songs from Worship Music. Following Testament’s lead and almost entirely avoiding the non-Belladonna albums (minus the obligatory “Only” from Sound of White Noise), it was too bad the guys didn’t throw in an obscure album track, whether from a Turbin, Belladonna, or Bush-fronted album. They did tackle Sepultura’s “Refuse/Resist” before the final encore (perhaps as a nod to Andreas Kisser’s brief tenure with band while Scott welcomed his first child), which was a nice surprise, but otherwise, the [relatively] short set-list shied away from any major surprises.
What was surprising, however, was the “tackling incident” that occurred midway through “Metal Thrashing Mad,” (and is readily viewable on Youtube). An overly enthusiastic fan jumped on stage, and when security decided to—a bit over-zealously—take him down, Joey was inadvertently brought down hard as well. Frank Bello was (not surprisingly) visibly angry and confrontational, and Scott Ian made a point to trash the apparently blind security guard. But a few moments later, Joey was back on his feet, showing extreme class, but unnecessarily apologizing for the incident. He may have been sore for a few days, but seemed otherwise undamaged.
Similar to the Big 4 shows that have been happening over the last year or so, the biggest take away from this was that, as mentioned earlier, age doesn’t seem to have affected these classic bands in any way. While newer extreme bands may be pushing the limits further than anyone though possible, no one can deny the impact Anthrax, Testament and Death Angel had on the metal world. It’s comforting to know that they’re still at the top of their game(s), and here’s to hoping at least one of them can become the Rolling Stones of thrash.
Joey Belladonna (v)
Scott Ian (g)
Rob Caggiano (g)
Frank Bello (b)
Charlie Benante (d)
Chuck Billy (v)
Eric Peterson (g)
Alex Skolnick (g)
Greg Christian (b)
John Tempesta (d)
Mark Osegueda (v)
Rob Cavestany (g)
Ted Aguilar (g)
Damien Sisson (b)
Will Carroll (d)
1. Earth on Hell
2. Fight ‘Em Till You Can’t
3. Caught in a Mosh
6. I’m Alive
7. The Devil You Know
9. Got the Time
10. Hymn 1
11. In the End
13. Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)
14. Metal Thrashing Mad
15. Refuse/Resist (partial)
16. I Am The Law
1. The Preacher
2. The New Order
3. The Persecuted Won’t Forget
4. Envy Life
5. Over the Wall
6. Souls of Black
7. Into the Pit
8. Electric Crown
9. Henchmen Ride
10. More Than Meets the Eye
11. D.N.R. (Do Not Resuscitate)
12. 3 Days in Darkness
13. Disciples of the Watch
1. I Chose the Sky
2. Evil Priest
3. Claws In So Deep
4. Relentless Revolution
5. Seemingly Endless Time
6. The Ultra-Violence
7. Thrown to the Wolves
by Mark Allen
There are some who will weep, wail, and offer up woeful lamentations that this is the end of the Death Angel of old, that scruffy pack of young and hungry head-bangers who pummeled their way into thrash metal history in ’87 with their ferocious debut album, Ultraviolence. The naysayers will point accusing fingers at this turning point in the band’s career and claim Death Angel sold out and sacrificed their thrash metal roots on the altar of commercial viability. The kicker is, those who make such bitter accusations are not necessarily wrong. Relentless Retribution is to Death Angel what The Black Album was to Metallica, what Ritual was to Testament, and what Youthanasia was to Megadeth; in other words, a deliberate, calculated attempt at mainstream acceptance.
Thankfully, their attempt is pretty damn good.
Relentless Retribution finds Death Angel doing an excellent job of merging their aggressive old-school thrash with the slicker, beefed-up catchiness of today’s new wave of American heavy metal. They have one foot firmly planted in the past, but have also progressed to the point where they are willing to also embrace the more melodic metal of today, mimicking the approach favored by the likes of Trivium, Shadows Fall, and All That Remains. Make no mistake, your love, like, or loathing of this new Death Angel offering will be strongly governed by your feelings toward modern heavy metal in general. There is no denying the band has incorporated current trends into their overall sound, but they have pulled this incorporation off with pleasurable precision.
That is not to say the thrash of the past doesn’t still make an appearance. The album opens with “Relentless Revolution,” which is classic thrash metal at its finest, and closes with “Where They Lay,” which is absolutely pulverizing in its intensity. But in between these nods to yesteryear are some pretty blatant attempts at modern metal success, with “Opponents at Side” in particular practically begging you to sing along, so urgently catchy that it creeps dangerously close to emo-core territory.
Time and time again Death Angel reaches into their bag of tricks, pull out big hooks, and slap them into the choruses, transforming them into radio-friendly anthems with such ease you would think they’d been doing it since their embryonic days. Metal fans with narrow tastes who crave nothing but raw, brutal, unfettered aggression may find such catchiness to be a negative, but Death Angel makes it work, straddling the line between powerful heaviness and commercial credibility with startling finesse.
The band nimbly seesaws back and forth between retro thrash and current day catchiness. “Truce” and “Into the Arms of Righteous Anger” tear things up like a berserk badger; “Absence of Light” and “Death of the Meek” display the melody so prevalent in modern metal. There’s even an ill-fitting but still quite cool acoustic ballad (“Volcanic”) that strives for the same melancholy vibe that made Metallica’s “Unforgiven” such as smash hit.
Mark Osegueda’s vocals are suitably angry, spitting out the lyrics like sonic bullets and when he resorts to screams, he keeps it decipherable instead of devolving into guttural gibberish. He is ably matched by the other members of the band, with the guitars cranking out some killer riffs, ripping leads, and molten solos while the bass thunders out a low end hurricane. Drummer Will Carroll pounds the skins with savage fury, flowing effortlessly from full-throttle thrash fusillades to the more mid-tempo grooves of the modern heavy metal approach the band has embraced.
Bottom line, this is not the penultimate crossover metal album, but it is a mighty fine example of how to mix the old with the new. Today’s heavy music scene is dangerously close to oversaturation, rarely giving bands from the past a second chance, but Death Angel have come up with the proper formula to take another stab at resurrecting their metal relevancy.
Genre: Thrash metal
Ted Aguilar (guitar)
Will Carroll (drums)
Mark Osegueda (vocals)
Damien Sisson (bass)
Rob Cavestany (guitars, vocals)
1. Relentless Revolution
2. Claws in So Deep
4. Into the Arms of Righteous Anger
5. River of Rapture
6. Absence of Light
7. This Hate
8. Death of the Meek
9. Opponents at Sides
10. I Chose the Sky
12. Where They Lay
Nuclear Blast Records
Hardrock Haven rating: 8.3/10
July 15, 2010 at Trocadero Theatre, London, Philadelphia PA
by Steve Trager
On the second night of Soilwork’s “Panic Over North America Tour “which touched down in Philadelphia at the Trocadero Theatre, it seemed to be nothing short of greatness. It has been quite a while for this amazing band to hit American soil once again, and their power-packed show leaves you nothing short of breathless as a music fan who, enjoys Swedish Metal fast and extremely furious. Even with a new axe man at hand and Peter back into the fold, Soilwork never sounded better. In fact this was one of the greatest touring packages comprised of three Nuclear Blast Bands along with Mutiny Within, who seem to be the hardest working young band on the road with every major tour in the last several months.
This tour seemed to be nothing short of great with Swashbuckle opening the show with just under twenty minutes to get the fans going. An odd band from the shores of New Jersey, who entertained the fans with their quirky tunes and pirate outfits, makes you think you’re at some Halloween party. However, they still know how to kick it into high gear.
Nothing is greater than short set changes and right back to the fist pumping music with Mutiny Within who, still for only twenty minutes, played a great set with just five songs. This band not only showcases their drive as a young eager six piece outfit, Mutiny’s live show is nothing short of greatness as they performed songs from their debut release chock full of melodic metal.
Sharing the stage at the Trocadero Theatre on this super tour package Canada ‘s own Augury, another great Nuclear Blast band who stepped forward and ripped into some great death metal. Still, with only twenty minutes, it doesn’t give you much time to get into it. However, fans still enjoyed a great set.
Nuclear Blast has some great bands under their wings and this next band certainly needs no plug. It’s been more than 20 years Death Angel has been playing and recording. Not sure if this is the same line up as in the early ‘90s, but rest assured Death Angel never sounded better with their brand of pure Thrash Metal. It often reminds me of the early days when Thrash Metal reigned over the land with some great bands, pure and simple yet unique. Their live show brings back memories when I first seen this band with Forbidden; same place but different era in music. Nothing like sweating it out while watching these guys performs some great songs from their back catalog.
The night got even better with 90 of pure Swedish metal from Soilwork, who never sounded more tighter as a live band than they did on this momentous tour, featuring their new guitarist along with axe man Peter who, certainly give this band a nice blend of backing vocals and blistering solos, complete with Bjorn at the helm rounding out Soilwork’s quest to kick your ass as a live touring band. Seem so long since this band touched down on American soil yet since a short hiatus Soilwork makes a serious comeback in 2010 with Panic Broadcast. A new blend of speed and flawless vocals that we have come to expect only from Soilwork.
Soilwork Set list:
Late For The Kill, Early For The Slaughter
The Chainheart Machine
Night Comes Clean
Natural Born Chaos
Deliverance Is Mine
Follow the Hollow
Stabbing the Drama
20 More Miles
As We Speak
Two Lives Worth of Reckoning
Let This River Flow