Remember the end of 8 Mile where Eminem (as B-Rabbit) says to his friend Future “I think I just kinda need to do my own thing, man.” That credo has stood Anthrax the test of time as well. 30 years in, the classic goofball thrashband have as nearly as much fire as at any point in their stellar career. They were recently the first metal band to have their music played on Mars, for chrissakes. Did you ever expect that from the band who once tried (unwisely) to allegedly trademark the nyhc logo? Sure, there have been some bumps or bad calls along the way, but many bands have trials and tribulations. Anthrax in any era coupled their brand of macho humor with irresitable neck damaging riffs and headwalk parts, plus a general acceptance of urban culture. Watching the new DVD Chile On Hell, featuring classic ‘thrax songs dished up for a rabid, and I mean rabid, crowd in Santiago, you will believe again… if your faith ever wavered.
Worship Music was the band’s highest charter in 20 years, and you can tell there is a lot of enthusiasm in the band. Scott Ian’s guitar unleashes beastly thrash rhythms one after the next with relentless fun and fury, his bald dome lookin’ like it is gonna bobble right off his head. The guitar tone on this baby is so gloriously loud and present I felt like I was at the venue, while Charlie Benante’s double kick and Frank Bello’s bellowing back ups on “Caught In A Mosh” whip the circle pits to oceanic whirlpool levels.Caggiano is missed, as the new guy Jon Donais comes off as kind of a place holder (whereas he owned it in Shadows Fall), but the performances are nonetheless rock solid. At the end of the day, this DVD is Joey Belladonna’s show, and that is coming from someone who always liked John Bush’s voice better.
It’s hard to argue with this release, however. Belladonna’s enthusiasm and stage manner show a guy thankful to be back at the forefront of the band that brought him fame. Not only that, the band look like they are really fucking enjoying themselves. The energy and adrenaline that cemented Anthrax a place in the big 4 is here, for sure!
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While a song like “I Am the Law” is a bit hard to listen to right now because of Ferguson and over-militarizarion of the police at the forefront of the news (regardless of how much I love old Judge Dredd comics and the Karl Urban movie), the majority of choices on this DVD hit the spot. Belladonna has some wear and tear on his voice but still can shriek out some good highs when called upon.
We get cuts mainly from Among The Living (about half the classic record), a cool 30 year anniversary montage, plus some Worship Music cuts and even as far back as “Madhouse” from Spreading The Disease or “In My World” from the more serious 90’s record Persistence of Time– era. “March Of The S.O.D.” makes a brief appearance, which is kind of funny. It is just such a good riff and obviously fun for Scott to never be able to stop playing (and who can blame him?). Still, I’d rather have another actual Anthrax song, but it’s a small gripe. You pretty much just want the band to keep playing, which is the best compliment you can give.
This DVD is going to make you less anti-social and want to get out and conquer the world or at least jump in the pit. While the DVD menu is a bit bland, the concert itself is all you really need, a great performance package. There’s a sweet Ronnie Dio and Dimebag tribute during “In The End”, an Eddie Trunk cameo and much more. I love in one montage where Scott says “why play a medley when you could play the whole song” (something I remember thinking when I saw Black Sabbath only do a small portion of “Sweet Leaf” at Ozzfest once, to my dismay).
All in all, this is a real winner. Chile On Hell will be released on Tuesday, September 16 (Megaforce) and was recorded in 5.1 Surround Sound.