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Anthrax – The Ravens Age
@ UEA LCR, Norwich – 17.02.17
GIG REVIEW BY VICKY JACKSON-MILNE
Norwich, in the past, has paid host to many a legendary metal band, Iron Maiden, Machine Head, Biohazard, Motorhead, Diamond Head and many more. But never, in their 36 years, have Anthrax visited our fine city. Tonight was the night Anthrax popped their Norwich cherry and it was sooooo good.
The Raven Age were tasked with the support slot for this mammoth show. A surprising support choice, due to the style of music that was to come, it felt a bit mis-matched. However, this quintet from Harlow, burst out on to the stage with force and style. Self described ‘melodic metal’ I couldn’t really put my finger on who they reminded me of, but I would at a push, probably liken them to Bullet For My Valentine or All That Remains, but with clean vocals, no screaming at all, not even a little gruff.
They had a fantastic energy whilst performing, with every one of them, except the Jai Patel (drums) of course, using up every inch of the stage. The guitars, provided by George Harris (yes, son of Steve Harris) and Dan Wright (son of Mr Wright), were on the heavy side of the spectrum, backed up by Mott Cox (son of Mr Cox) with the big bass undertones. Patel (son of Mr Patel) created his own flare though, with lots of stick spinning and bouncing up and down. Vocals suffered a little as Michael Burrough (son of Mr Burrough) had continuous issues with his in ear monitors, which unfortunately led to a few off key moments, but also, there were points in the songs where you feel yourself urging him on for a scream or a roar or something, the tracks would build in energy but then there would be no climax. The sound hadn’t really been nailed either which didn’t help things, as the vocals were way too loud in comparison to the rest of the band.
Don’t get me wrong, these guys did manage to pack a punch or two with a few of the songs. There were some proper heavy breakdowns mixed in with all the melodic tunage, and as I mentioned above, they have an endless amount of energy and clearly enjoy being up on the stage. Burrough, kept interacting with the rapidly growing crowd and there was a lot of head bobbing going on in the darkness. These guys held their own and put on a great show. The music was heavy as, and full beefy riffs and pounding drums. Overall I think they went down a treat with most of the audience.
It was now cherry popping time. And boy oh boy did Anthrax give Norwich their virginity in style. Their ‘Among The Kings’ tour has been a force to be reckoned with, starting in February in the UK then heading over to Europe through March, and has been tickling the ear drums of Anthrax fans all over, creating scents of nostalgia and envoking memories of gigs past. It’s hard to put this show in to words, as you probably already guessed or know, it was pretty epic.
One by one Charlie Benante (drums), Scott Ian (guitar), Frankie Bello (Bass), Jonathan Donais (guitar) appeared through the darkness on to the stage, swiftly followed by Joey Belladonna (vox) in their usual energetic style. Breaking straight in to ‘A.I.R’ and ‘Madhouse’ they were met by loud roars and the entire room singing along with them. The atmosphere was electric as Anthrax carried on through into ‘Evil Twin’, ‘Medusa’, ‘Blood Eagle’ and ‘Fight ‘Em Till You Can’t’, with every song being performed as perfectly as the last. Joey’s vocals were superb and the rest of the band used every inch of the stage that they could, encouraging the crowd constantly, even Joey grabbing peoples phones and videoing himself or taking selfies for lucky fans at the front. Rounding up this immense first half full of their classics and new track showcasing, they smashed out ‘Be All End All’ finishing off with ‘Breathing Lightening’, perfectly leaving the audience hungry for more.
After a short interlude, it was time to hit the lights once more for the second half and the full ‘Among The Living’ play through to be delivered to the eagerly awaiting audience in front of them. Opening up with title track ‘Among The living’ and sailing through to ‘I am The Law’ and ‘Skeleton In The Closet’, I don’t know what those guys did during the interval but I think they had even more energy than the first half, which is no mean feat! We were then treated to a vocal solo from Joey, proving that after all this time, he still has an absolutely incredible vocal range and tone and can definitely hold a note for longer than me, that’s for sure.
Breaking in to ‘Efilnikufesin (N.F.L)’ the crowd upped their game, managing to multi-task by shouting out the words and creating a mosh pit and circle pit all at the same time. Having been treated to a guitar solo from Donais (thankfully not a BLS style 10 minute long solo), Anthrax slammed straight in to ‘A.D.I. / Horror Of It All’ with the addition of Joey offering out sweets to the crowd, well, throwing them out and hoping people would catch them, though I think a few heads and faces caught a few, quite comical really. Having had a few addressing’s from Scott Ian, the audience was captivated whenever he spoke, the room would go silent until he required a response. It was quite incredible. Sadly it was time to round up this epic show with the last songs ‘’Indians’, ‘Imitation of Life’ and an awesome cover of ‘Antisocial’ by Trust which rounded off the evening brilliantly. The band were also joined on stage by their newest, and youngest, member who pretty much stole the end of the show by coming on playing air guitar and singing along with Scott and Joey.
After more than 30 years together, these guys still know how to put on a show. I’ve seen them a few times live now and they never fail to impress. They are fantastic at what they do and it goes to show that no matter how long you’ve been going for as a band, if you love what you’re doing, it will come out every time you are on stage. Absolutely Superb, and we can’t wait to welcome Anthrax back to Norwich.
CHECK THEM OUT:
The Raven Age