There’s nothing more inspiring to a metalhead than seeing a no holds barred performance. Watching a musician get up on stage and then perform with the attitude of a viking rushing into battle is what metal is all about, and no one wears this type of old school bad-assery like Anthrax’s Joey Belladonna.
Belladonna is this small, skinny dude with dark hair and tanned complexion. He’s half Italian-American and half Iroquois, which is probably why this guy looks as dark as he does. But when he sings and moves around onstage, his charisma is equal to the late and great Ronnie James Dio (who was also a short guy, I’ll admit). He even sang Holy Diver with Killswitch Engage at the end of their set (an awesome cover, by the way).
I admit I got to the show too late to catch the openers Code Orange and The Devil Wears Prada, so I can’t comment on their performances (they were probably great). I caught most of Killswitch’s performance, and while I am probably a bigger fan of Howard James than I am of Jesse Leach in terms of vocal style, I was pretty excited to see Leach rejoin the band after a long absence.
The band played a number of songs I am not entirely familiar with off of the new album, Incarnate. Still have to check that one out. But they did play a few classics, most notably My Curse of Guitar Hero 3 fame (c’mon, you know you remember it most from there too). Truly brought back memory’s of how much I sucked at that game. It did introduce me to some great music though.
Killswitch rounded off their set with a cover of Dio’s Holy Diver with Belladonna on vocals. This was probably my favorite part of the night. While Killswitch’s style is not even close to that of Dio or any classic metal band, they did a fantastic job paying tribute and still retaining some of their nuances. Covers can make for a hard balance of the song’s original sound versus the band’s style, but Killswitch avoided that pitfall with
Having Belladonna on vocals definitely helped. While no one could ever truly measure up to Dio’s onstage presence, Belladonna sure came close. His voice has a high range and strength which allowed him to hit the same notes that Dio could with ease and his high on-stage energy definitely rubbed off on the crowd. He leaped around the stage as if he was no older than 17 years old. Complemented by his bravado, you get the feeling that this guy was truly invincible (and for all I know, he is). This is probably the closest I’m going to get to seeing Dio live, and it was awesome.
Anthrax’s set convinced me that they are a killer live band, more so than I had thought before. I had heard a few albums, and although I definitely liked them, they were not one of my favorites.
That all changed with this show.
The opening was slow and dramatic, with the intro for You Gotta Believe (followed by You Gotta Believe). Not entirely unexpected. Most of the songs Anthrax played were off of the newest album, For All Kings, which will be getting more spins from me from now on.
Anthrax has never been your typical thrash band, mixing unusual elements into their sound (is that grunge I hear?). They’ve also had their fair share of vocalists, preventing the band from cementing a specific vocal sound until the recruitment of Belladonna.
Seeing the iconic thrash figure of Scott Ian on guitar was also cool, the dude is the absolute epitome of thrash. He proves it with each destructive riff he plays. He also owns the power stance, just to make that clear.
Great show, what I saw of it. Really made me appreciate Killswitch Engage even more and now I plan on picking up and listening to more of Anthrax too. Classic bands you need to see live if you haven’t already.
Check out Killswitch Engage at their website.
Kick it with Anthrax at their website.