Joey Belladonna of Anthrax
This week’s Napalm Flesh metal blog includes a full review of the Slayer/Megadeth/Anthrax concert that happened on Tuesday, Oct. 19, along with a veritable feast of upcoming shows listed in the calendar as well as blog exclusive CD reviews from Children of Technology, Dawn of Ashes, Hail of Bullets and Unsun.
On Friday Oct. 22 The Fifth Bar & Grill in Bountiful hosts Meat, Reveeler and Ravings of a Madman. My Internet searching and other methods of keeping me in-the-know don’t give a cover price, but it’s a bar, and covers usually range from $3 to $5—mere pocket change.
Also Friday if you happen to be near or in Payson, UT the Wee Blu Inn will host “Payson Metal” featuring Beyond Society, Unthinkable Thoughts and Ruined by A Greater Art. 21+, show underway at 8:30 p.m. Tickets $5.
Nevada’s thrash/groove metal crew Hemlock headlines at Club Vegas (21+) with Ravings of a Madman, Poonhammer and Darkblood on Monday Oct. 25. Tickets are $5 tunes underway at 8:30 p.m.
Also on Monday night at Burt’s Tiki Lounge notable local act Subrosa plays with Wolvserpent from Boise, ID. 21+, tickets, $5
Suicide Silence plays The Complex on Tuesday, Oct. 26 with openers My Children My Bride and The Tony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza. Tickets, $17, show underway at 6:30 p.m.
Last but not least next Thursday, Oct. 28, death metal legends Suffocation return to Salt Lake at The Complex, headlining the Decibel Defiance Tour with The Faceless, Through the Eyes of the Dead, Decrepit Birth and Fleshgod Apocalypse. Tickets, $20, tunes underway at 6:30 p.m..
Long before Showtime at the Maverik Center in West Valley on Tuesday, Oct. 19, nostalgia was brewing. About 14 years ago I would have done whatever I could have to see a concert featuring Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax and definitely would have made sure to stake my claim in the pit. As far as big package tours go, even with the nostalgia and my constantly changing musical tastes this package of the Jagermeister Music Tour was one to behold and was quite possibly the last chance to see these bands perform with each other ever. Each band has songs that are forever imprinted in my memory. I wasn’t a thrasher in the 80s but somehow even in my 90s teenage years it feels as if all that is thrash metal remained slightly untainted and more potent a musical genre. Some of the incarnations of thrash metal bands today just seem like haphazard bland sideshows or just flat out copycats. The three bands performing on this tour have all had their downs—actually some huge downs during the 90s as far as albums and record sales successes go: Megadeth had Risk, Slayer had Diabolus in Musica and Anthrax had just about every 90s album they released. The decade found the bands trying to keep themselves relevant in a massively changing musical climate where metal just wasn’t cool. Well folks, metal may still not be the most popular musical genre these days but I’ll debate that metal is far beyond the realm of merely being cool, especially thrash metal. I mean, what do you say? It’s friggin’ fast fist pumping, violently fun, blood rushing to your head, howling guitar solo noisy gloriousness.
I hadn’t been to a concert at the E-Center, I mean Maverik Center, in years and I arrived picking up my press tickets and photo pass only to discover I had some special VIP Jagermeister pass that got me into a suite with food, Jager, and beer. It’s a rare occasion that I get any sort of VIP treatment and I really don’t mean to rub it in to anyone who attended the show, but hell it’s nice to be pampered. I made my way to the suite just as Anthrax was hitting the stage and with my photo pass I had full intentions on getting some photos but had absolutely no idea where to go, thankfully a nice person working for Jagermeister steered my in the right direction and in some strange instance I went from being in the relatively quiet halls of the Maverik Center to the awesome distortions of Anthrax. I completely missed the first song they played but was up in the front and thick of it for easily two of my favorite Anthrax songs “Caught in a Mosh,” and “Antisocial.” Unfortunately it’s pretty hard to rock out and headbang while snapping pictures, but I managed to do my best.
I went to the concert with my wife and my father, a long-time writer for the Salt Lake Tribune who was writing his review for the paper and who I am also proud to say was seeing Slayer for the third time. We first saw the band together when Pantera, Slayer, Static X and Morbid Angel toured together. I got my fair share of crap as a teen about the music I listened to but I have these great memories of seeing some concerts with my dad who came to experience the musical showcases with me from what I know is an attempt on my Dad’s part to understand what I like and why I like it, he also took me to see The Rolling Stones to show me what was big in his youth so it’s a shared experience. In any regard, after shooting my limited portion of Anthrax’s set I wound up running about the venue like a chicken with my head cut off trying to regroup with my wife who was seeing Slayer for the first time and my dad I couldn’t remember where they were seated which unfortunately led to me missing a song and half of Anthrax’s set, I did see them roll through most of another awesome song of theirs “Indians.” After seeing both versions of Anthrax with John Bush and Joey Belladonna seeing them with Joey is the better of the two, nothing against Armored Saint’s John Bush who has an awesome voice as well, but I’m quite glad Belladonna is back permanently and soon to be recording a new album with the band. His voice is a huge part of what makes that classic Anthrax sound stay relevant and awesome. Sadly Anthrax suffered a bit of the usual first band syndrome with not so stellar sound for the songs I heard. I finally did manage to find my wife and my dad catching Anthrax close out their set with “Metal Thrashing Mad,” and “I am the Law.”
My photo pass did not allow me to shoot Megadeth, which is okay by me, considering the fact the last time I saw Megadeth was the Gigantour a few years ago and I have photographic proof of Megadeth main man Dave Mustaine flipping me off. I know it was nothing personal—it’s actually something to laugh about. Despite the controversy throughout the years I do have respect for the man for not only creating some massively enjoyable tunes but at the Gigantour which Megadeth was the featured headliner someone tossed a beer on some of the bands sound equipment and instead of having a rockstar temper tantrum the and storming off stage they fixed the problem and Megadeth went on. For this Jagermeister Music tour Megadeth was all smiles and thrashing, they started their set playing their 1990 Rust in Peace album, one which is near and dear to my heart, easily one of my favorite Megadeth albums. I knew this was going to happen prior to the show and I purposely avoided listening to the album prior to the show which I hadn’t listened to in years, for the sole purpose of being reminded of it’s awesomeness. The album had the band hammering each track after the other seeing Mustaine doing some mad guitar soloing along with fellow guitarist Chris Broderick (of Nevermore and Jag Panzer previously) who joined the band in 2008, sharing some of the crazed soloing not only a highlight of the Rust in Peace album but just plain fun to see done live. After the band finished playing Rust in Peace in it’s entirety, out of all the Megadeth song choices played “Trust,” a popular tune from 1997 album Cryptic Writings, and a favorite of my wife’s, I’m sure they played it just for her or at least I’d like to think so. The band then rolled through two songs “Head Crusher,” and “How the Story Ends,” from their latest album, released last year Endgame. That led to a definite fan favorite tune “Symphony of Destruction,” which had me and my wife singing along with each other. Megadeth closed out set with their still lyrically relevant “Peace Sells…”
And then there is Slayer, a band whose albums still manage to make it into my musical rotations despite all of the music I review. I still don’t know if it’s a bad or a good thing to say that once you’ve seen Slayer play live you know what to expect, not exactly in regards to the set list but as to what the band does live. Tom Araya is limited into what he can really do because he plays bass while singing, guitarist Jeff Hanneman (who is one serious master of the thrash metal riff) pretty much plays statue with his hair in his face, and Kerry King is probably one of the more animated of the three members that can roam the stage. After taking pictures of Slayer, I had a birds eye view and my eyes wound up focusing most of the time on drummer Dave Lombardo and his always impressive skills. Unlike Megadeth, Slayer got their new tunage from last year’s World Painted Blood album off right out of the gates playing “World Painted Blood,” and “Hate Worldwide,” before the oh so ass-kicking “War Ensemble,” which I got to remain in the photo pit and had a hard time focusing on photographing instead of just full on headbaning to the song, which also marked the beginning of the band playing their entire 1990 Season in the Abyss album. It was just plain badass, with some definite favorite tunes which includes the highly popular “Dead Skin Mask,” but also some lesser known but sweet Slayer cuts like “Skeletons of Society,” and “Expendable Youth,” and the awesomely trademark Slayer speed on “Spirit in Black,” and “Hallowed Point.” The pit was huge and teeming with Slayer fans that came to get their mosh on, the more foreboding and bit slower album closer and title track “Season in the Abyss,” was appropriately followed by the similar but just all together awesome in it’s own way “South of Heaven.” As fully expected not only the venue’s floor but seated fans exploded as Slayer played those oh so familiar opening notes of “Raining Blood,” followed by the much older but still damned awesome “Aggressive Perfector” with “Angel of Death” ending the evening of metal.
Where there was definitely the ability to have a large scale crazy stage show the three bands opted to let the music do the talking. It was much like it would have been seeing these artists perform in the 80s or 90s, with plenty of lighting flashes and changes with the obligatory stage fog. Each band had their own backdrop, Anthrax and Megadeth had political and war themed artistic backdrops. Slayer’s backdrop was about as simple as it gets with two Slayer sword type logos on either side of the stage which left room for some light play in the blank black of the rest of the back, which did see some crosses go from normal to inverted during “South of Heaven,” The concert was exactly as I expected it to be, a showcase of the songs and less about the bands themselves, which for a larger type concert is a nice change of pace from bands trying to outdo others with pyrotechnics, video screens or whatever else they can think of. The whole night was really just like jumping into a time capsule back to 1990, a good majority of the fans were still long haired thrasher looking and a good portion probably had seen both bands in the 90s if not earlier, but there was also the younger generations about, the music may be slightly negative but the concert atmosphere was full on positive. Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax may seem a bit washed up or riding on the heels of past glories, but really I can’t think of any newer thrash bands that have topped what any of the bands have done in the past, that’s really nothing that can be taken away from them and easily manages to take me to some of my metal happy places.
Blog exclusive CD reviews
Children of Technology
It's Time To Face The Doomsday
Children of Technology = Motorhead + DRI + The Exploited + Nuclear Assault
Ready for some down and dirty sweetly violent and potent thrash/crossover from Italy? Look no further than Children of Technology’s debut full-length It’s Time to Face The Doomsday. This short and sweet album clocking in at just under 26 minutes comes out swinging and doesn’t let up – this is no frills, no bullshit punk and hardcore fueled thrashing mayhem implying images of sweaty circle pits, giant Mohawks, steel studded denim vests and a devastated earth. The four-piece of vocals, drums, guitar, bass know how to keep their metal retro without sounding like pretenders the production is cleanly raw and lends itself extremely well to capturing that live bursting energy that so many bands of the raw n’ sweaty nature try to purvey. The vocal performances especially on “Nuclear Armed Dogs,” exudes the so necessary memorable tracks, thematically everything fits, post-apocalyptic fun doesn’t seem like an apt term but COT pull it off, they should re-cut Mad Max – Beyond Thunderdome and have this album as it’s soundtrack it would be perfectly awesome. –Bryer Wharton
Dawn of Ashes
Dawn of Ashes = Cradle of Filth + Dimmu Borgir + Winds of Plague
If you like the bands in the band equation you’ll probably dig Dawn of Ashes Genocide Chapters. The LA band started out as an EBM/industrial act with two prior albums under there belt done in that style but they’ve moved on to bland mishmash of symphonic death/black metal. Genocide Chapters fits a great description of what one could consider modern extreme metal. The production on the album is cleanly done to the point of winning fans over just by the sheer recording production and “brutality.” While the album may sound pristine it lacks any real character. As the Mythbuster’s confirmed you can polish shit, that’s exactly what Dawn of Ashes did. Just because you have heavy crunching metallic moments coupled with scary band imagery and fairly standard keyboard work setting the backdrop and atmosphere decent to really bad song writing doesn’t make up for masterful songwriting and any real emotional power. Genocide Chapters ultimately sounds like one glob of tunes not leaving much room for any memorable tracks or much desire to return to the album once you’ve listened to it. Then again, music fans of all genre have been soaking up style over substance for years, so who am I to judge. –Bryer Wharton
Hail of Bullets
On Divine Winds
Hail of Bullets = Bolt Thrower + Vader + Autopsy
War themed death metal wrecking crew from the Netherlands Hail of Bullets have returned with their sophomore effort On Divine Winds with the headway the band got going with them with their debut …Of Frost and War and it’s follow-up EP Warsaw Rising the death metal war machine metal that the band churns out is only continuing in momentum with the massive scope that On Divine Winds offers. The line-up could be considered a bit of a super-group, all members have the laundry list of bands they’ve been associated with, vocalist Martin van Drunen did a stint in the mid to late 90s handing vocal duties for the legendary Bolt Thrower, and the bands well rounded drummer Ed Warby has done time in other death metal, notably Gorefest bands as well as some prog metal outfits. So with a solid line-up comes solid success with a war themed death metal album, mainly themed around World War II, the record plants itself strongly in old school death metal but with powerful modern production sounds which lends the album to having a thick bass filled bottom end sound with gnarly brutalizing guitar riffing, slow and fast couple that with a nice angry yet decipherable vocal performance and a virtually pristine drum performance and you have a strong death metal record for old schoolers and newcomers alike. Things are going to just keep getting better for Hail of Bullets if they keep up their pace. –Bryer Wharton
Clinic for Dolls
Unsun = Lacuna Coil + In This Moment + Within Temptation
Dig female fronted gothic metal all cleanly done vocal wise? Unsun’s Clinic for Dolls is a sure fire bet, definitely better than the alt-metal mess that Lacuna Coil has turned into, catchier and more potent songwriting than In This Moment and a hell of a lot less fluffy than what Within Temptation have to offer. The record is straightforward in its sensibilities, which is both a strength and a weakness. The band is definitely a solid two-piece though, live if they perform at all I’m not sure who does what. The guitars are handled by Maurycy Stefanowicz formerly of Vader definitely has taken a drastic change from the chaotic death metal churning of Vader to what is the melodic and heavy, I do however find myself wishing for some better guitar soloing and melodies which are more controlled by some rather stagnant and redundant keyboard work. The guitars flow well and crunch when needed too, complimenting singer Anna Stefanowicz, (she’s the guitarists wife). The passion is noticeable on the album, as one would expect a complimentary and emotional cohesion between husband and wife. This is definitely a genre album for female fronted gothic metal, that has it’s catchy moments, not overly complex, easily better than most of the garbage populating the genre. –Bryer Wharton