Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Concert Review: Anthrax, Testament & Death Angel at the Marquee Theatre on 1/24/12

Anthrax's Scott Ian performing at last year's Big 4 Festival in Indio, Calif.
If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you probably already know that I'm a huge mark for classic '80s thrash metal, so it will probably come as no surprise that, in this writer's opinion, last night's show at the Marquee Theatre was a resounding success. Anthrax, Testament and Death Angel -- three of thrash metal's longest-tenured acts, with more than 80 combined years of experience amongst them -- put on a helluva show in front of a capacity crowd that seemed to have no qualms with moshing the night away at a midweek show.

San Francisco's Death Angel took the stage first and ripped through a brief-but-furious set that spanned their 25-year career. From "Mistress of Pain" off of their 1987 debut, The Ultra-Violence, to the set-closing "Thrown to the Wolves" from their 2004 comeback album The Art of Dying, the band whipped the crowd into a frenzy that would last throughout the night.

Co-headliners Testament took the stage next, and they almost made me wonder if they read my review of their 2010 show in Phoenix, considering that they honored my requests for "Practice What You Preach" and "Over the Wall" within the first five songs of their set. The band's setlist was decidedly more old-school than their last visit to the Valley, thanks presumably in part to their longer time slot. Testament catered to longtime fans with such classics as "Into the Pit" and the even more unlikely "Electric Crown" from 1992's The Ritual.

Thrash legends Anthrax closed out the night with a rousing 90-minute set that served to further solidify their status as one of thrash metal's founding fathers. While they might play "fourth fiddle" in popularity to their Big Four brethren in Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth, Anthrax more than held their own as a headlining act. The band reached into the vault for rarities like "Medusa" and "Metal Thrashing Mad," as well as a heaping helping of songs from their 1987 classic Among the Living. Considering Arizona's sizable Native American population and their consistent support of the local and national metal scenes, it probably goes without saying that "Indians" went over extremely well with last night's crowd. The band even teased the audience with the first minute or so of their rap-rock goof "I'm the Man" before breaking into the set-closing "I am the Law."

All in all, it was another great moment in the ongoing thrash metal revival. I think I've seen enough of these shows now to say with some authority that this resurgence of classic thrash is more than just an exercise in nostalgia. There's a bona fide New Wave of American Thrash Metal taking place, and ironically, the guys leading the charge are the same guys who should've been selling out these same venues 25 years ago.

Better late than never, I guess. We should probably enjoy it while it lasts, before the New Wave of American Grunge comes along and sends us all back underground again...

Testament setlist
The Preacher
The New Order
The Persecuted Won't Forget
Practice What You Preach
Over the Wall
Souls of Black
Into the Pit
Electric Crown
Henchmen Ride
More Than Meets the Eye
D.N.R. (Do Not Resuscitate)
3 Days in Darkness
Disciples of the Watch

Anthrax setlist
Earth on Hell
Fight 'em 'til You Can't
Caught in a Mosh
I'm Alive
The Devil You Know
In the End
Got the Time
Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)
Among the Living
Metal Thrashing Mad
I'm the Man (one-verse teaser)
I am the Law

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