This year has been particularly interesting since the very first month SLAYER revealed the shocking news that the upcoming tours in North America, Europe, etc. would be their last ever. This announcement in particular got other bands’ schedules full of commitments to form one of the best touring packages that I’ve seen in years. Along with that, some of these groups planned off dates in nearby cities to get a longer set time and more intimate shows.
Luckily for the fans in Dallas, one of these stops was courtesy of ANTHRAX, TESTAMENT and NAPALM DEATH, along with San Antonio’s SHATTERED SUN. This gig took place after they showed up for the last time in this city; so almost everybody was ready for a second round of destruction.
Our musical date took place at Gas Monkey Live!, and SHATTERED SUN took matters into their own hands to start the night with their solid talent and enjoyable music. Unfortunately, there was not a very big crowd by the time this band started, but all of the members played with the same passion as they’ve done for the last few years. It’s great to see how bands keep making their way up by landing these lineup spots with much bigger metal bands to get their names out there. I listened to SHATTERED SUN for the first time right when they were part of the defunct MAYHEM FEST and it looks like that hard work is starting to pay off now.
Next act, the British band NAPALM DEATH made a solid comeback to the state of Texas with an extended repertory of songs for all the fans to headbang to.
This is one band that I really enjoy watching live because they offer a hell of a spectacle without investing in fireworks or silly stage objects. Their short songs were pretty well combined and got some of the crowd moving. Barney Greenway’s voice always sounds brutal and his authenticity is one thing to admire, given his position as frontman in the band. With songs like “Smash a Single Digit”, “Suffer the Children”, “Silence is Deafening”, and “Scum” we were all in for a party.
Next up was Bay Area Thrash Metal band TESTAMENT, coming back to Dallas to give us a much longer setlist and make all the old school thrash metal fans get engaged with their sound. The first half of their set was very solid, although it took a bit of an effort to get the crowd into the moment.
Still promoting their latest album Brotherhood of the Snake, the band included songs like “Brotherhood of the Snake”, “The Pale King” and “Stronghold” before pushing the button on the older stuff that sounds much better today than 30 years ago. Surprisingly, the first half of TESTAMENT’S set did not look very promising. It would almost feel like these old school thrash metal fans already had the years on them, but I noticed I was completely wrong after they started jamming harder tunes like “Practice What You Preach”, “The New Order”, “Into the Pit”, “Over the Wall” (one of my favorites!) and “Disciples of the Watch”. Almost all this reminded me of seeing them at 2011’s MAYHEM FEST, and I’ve followed them ever since. Great show by all band members Chuck Billy (vocals), Eric Peterson (guitar), Alex Skolnick (guitar), Steve Di Giorgio (bass) and Gene Hoglan (drums).
And now, time for the main act and one of my favorites in the metal scene today. This would mark the third out of four times that I have ANTHRAX in my concert schedule, but the first and only time as a HEADLINER this year! This New York band had prepared about 12 songs for us to jam our asses to, and the classic opener before they hit the stage was IRON MAIDEN’S “The Number of the Beast”.
Opener “Among the Living” moved the crowd from side to side, followed by my favorite ANTHRAX song “Caught in a Mosh”, which involves a lot of chaos and a huge load of goosebumps while they play it. The setlist contained many other classics like “Got the Time” and “Madhouse”, which they almost played back to back without forgetting Worship Music’s “Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t”, also an incredible song.
After a few seconds, guitarist Scott Ian delivered a few words for the fans. He talked about how the band would always, as soon as they got to Dallas, grab their phones to text the late Vinnie Paul, and how great of a person he was. Although I was never a fan of his music or bands, it was definitely a highlight of this show to hear a few words in his honor.
Moving on, “Breathing Lightning” continued, followed by “Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)”. Up next, a song that I hadn’t heard live in years, “Medusa” made the cut, along with “I Am The Law”, which sounded extremely good, courtesy of vocalist Joey Belladonna. At this point, just like the previous band, it looked like ANTHRAX was doing a hell of a job during the second half of the show.
We could notice guitar player Jonathan Donais and drummer Gene Hoglan rocking their heads out accompanied by bassist Frank Bello. Everybody was having a blast during “Be All, End All” and “Antisocial”. After all these songs, it was about time to wrap things up with the WAAAAR DAAAANCE!!! “Indians”, which is an amazing song, split the crowd in two and took things to the next level, putting a checkmark on this whole show as a kickass one.
Overall, it was amazing to have this off-date show and see ANTHRAX and TESTAMENT together one more time. Their shows are not a disappointment, and you’ll get to see some of the pioneers of the genre that we’ve been so attached to from maybe one day to a few decades. Stay metal, and shred those riffs!
LIVE IMAGES: RYAN JAVIER
LIVE WORDS: THE ALCALDE