At Northumbria University, Newcastle, U.K., February 16, 2017

ANTHRAX (Live at Northumbria University, Newcastle, U.K., February 16, 2017)
Photo: Mick Burgess

The music business is a dog eat dog world and bands need any help that they can get to climb that slippery ladder of success. It certainly does no harm for The Raven Age guitarist George Harris to have none other than Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris as a Dad to offer guidance and advice and maybe helping to open a door or two along the way. That would all be to no avail however if his son’s band was rubbish.

Fortunately for The Raven Age their set, the bulk from their forthcoming debut including Angel In Disguise and Salem’s Fate was crammed full of gut punching riffs, cutting vocals and plenty of Metal melody to boot. Daddy Harris may indeed help to smooth the path here and there, but their soon to come success will be entirely down to their own talent and hard graft.

Anthrax, one of the fabled Big Four of Thrash, have been around for well over three decades and have had their ups and downs over the course of their career but with four fifths of the classic line up together and their latest album For All Kings their best release in years, Anthrax are very much on the crest of a wave at the moment.

It’s been 10 years since their last headline tour in the UK although they did appear as special guests with Motörhead a few years back. With a new album to promote and a significant anniversary to celebrate, Anthrax had a double reason to mark their return to these shores.

With their two hour show split into two parts, part one featured a fair few from their last two studio albums that marked the return of their much missed singer Joey Belladona, mixed in with a sprinkling of classics from earlier in their career.

Knowing just how to hit the ground running, A.I.R ignited a thrashing fury before the insane Madhouse swung in for the counter punch setting the pace that never let up throughout the evening. The hypnotic beat of Medusa thundered along while Evil Twin, Breathing Lightning and the monstrous epic Blood Eagle Wings from For All Kings showed a band that have lost none of their hunger and live they literally took the roof off.

Has it really been 30 years since Among The Living helped to propel Anthrax into the super league and in doing so helped to define Thrash as a genre in its own right? To celebrate this momentous birthday, the entire album was played in its entirety but in a slightly different order to suit the pacing of their live show.

It’s no surprise that big hitters Caught In A Mosh, fuelled by Charlie Benante’s death defying double bass drumming, Indians and the Judge Dredd inspired I Am The Law have featured heavily in their set for years and this evening they sounded fantastic as Scott Ian riffed as if his life depended on it.

The real treat for the fans was the opportunity to hear those rarely played nuggets that just scream to be played live like Imitation of Life and One World which were welcomed like long lost friends.

The only down side of an album celebration like this, is that other songs get nudged aside to make space but there was time for their ferocious cover of Trust’s Antisocial to wrap things up.

Metallica may have the stadium success, Slayer the speed and Megadeth the political posturing but none of Thrash’s Big Four have the personality and sheer energy of Anthrax. After a furious two hours of pure Thrashing entertainment, Anthrax made sure Newcastle had been more than compensated for the 10 year absence. Let’s hope they don’t wait quite so long to return next time.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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