With support from The Raven Age.
Rock City Nottingham 13th February 2017.
You’d be forgiven for thinking we were living back in 1987, as it’s almost exactly 30 years since Anthrax joined the ‘Thrash’ party, alongside their already well-established counterparts, Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth who are all still regarded as the ‘Big 4’ today. In 2017 we have new albums by all four bands in the last 12 months. All four have, or are currently touring the world, as we speak. Both Slayer and Megadeth played here last summer and do so again this year. Megadeth were here two years ago and are back again this year so all that leaves is for Metallica to announce they’ll be touring the UK and that’d be a full house. It’s not too far off a possibility either as they’ve already announced they’ll begin touring the US with Volbeat later this year! I would absolutely love it if they played Bloodstock, who knows, but let’s get back on track shall we, as Anthrax are currently touring, as we speak and we were kindly given the opportunity to review the show!
Supporting the ‘Thrax’ tonight and for the duration of the ’Among the Kings Tour’ which takes them across the UK and Europe, we have The Raven Age – unless you count Anthrax, but more on that in a bit.
The band hail from Harlow, situated west of Essex and consists of five well groomed young men, who produce nice, modern day melodic metal, which is as far removed from Anthrax as it gets really. I’m a little confused as to why they’ve been considered as a good match to support the thrash kings on this tour as they ain’t signed to the same record label, as these guys are currently unsigned nor are they of the same generation or genre? Anyway, from what I can see, the band has managed to release 2 EP’s, consisting of five songs and their debut album ‘Darkness Will Rise’ which got released this year. For their efforts, this has awarded them with nearly 30,000 followers on their social media page and probably loads of airplay, with the likes of Radio 1’s Daniel P Carter, because he loves this kind of metal.
Tonight’s performance was a sterling effort, which saw the whole band ‘well up for it’ whilst throwing shapes and smiles a plenty. If I’m honest, I’ve gotten really bored of this type of metal as it’s been done to death lately. The bands style doesn’t really hold much weight, musically, it’s almost like elevator music so I can see these guys being forgotten, as quickly as they arrived. Two-a-penny, Sorry!
Also supporting Anthrax tonight, were in fact, Anthrax! I can only assume they couldn’t get another support band to tour with them, which suits me fine, because it meant we got two completely different sets tonight. I’m sure there were plenty more bands, better suited to support Anthrax but the timing probably didn’t work, you know how busy these Thrash bands are these days! The first set was a mixture of both old and new material and consisted of the following tracks.
1. A.I.R. 2. Madhouse, 3. Evil Twin, 4. Medusa, 5. Blood Eagle Wings, 6. Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t, 7. Be All, End All, 8. Breathing Lightning.
Having seen these ‘New Yorkers’ back in August, at Bloodstock, I kinda knew what to expect but getting to shoot them in a more intimate venue, such as Rock City was a real treat. Out of the ‘Big four’ and their respective new releases, Anthrax’s latest offering “For All Kings” is by far my favourite, yes, even better than Metallica’s new album! On this album, Anthrax have managed to stay true to their roots, maintaining their unique take on thrash metal, yet brought it kicking and screaming, bang up to date!
Although this album is slightly more melodic than their earlier albums, you still get plenty of those tasty riffs we’ve grown to love! It’s hard to believe ‘Breathing Lightning’, which was the first single to be released off this album via Nuclear Blast, was done so over a year ago now, where did that time go? I remember the first time I heard that track and thinking, this is amazing! It’s certainly served them well and really captures the nature of this new album!
Tonight’s second set was dedicated to the bands 1987 album release “Among the Living’ as it was released exactly thirty years ago, this year. Although this is a fantastic album and features the title track and ‘Indians’, this isn’t my favourite album by Anthrax. Personally, I love “Spreading the Disease” but that album got released in 1985, so wouldn’t have worked as well this year, but it just goes to show, these guys have been leaders in the thrash scene for, like, forever, yet they’ve still got more in um’ as this new album proves. Long live the Thrax’!
Second set consisted of the album ‘Among The Living’ yet not track by track order, as listed on the album sleeve.
Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)