METAL ALLIANCE TOUR 2013 with Holy Grail, Municipal Waste, High On Fire, Exodus, and ANTHRAX, Saturday, April 6, 2013 @ The Fillmore Detroit in Detroit, MI
I haven't seen Anthrax live since 2002, and it was 1991 the last time that I saw them with Joey Belladonna on vocals. I've always kept up with what the band was doing, buying the albums, etc., I just haven't seen them because I will not go to Harpo's for any band. Only a Led Zeppelin reunion could get me to go there. The neighborhood that Harpo's was in was a post-apocalyptic war zone 20 years ago when the economy in Detroit was good. I can't imagine it undergoing a renaissance of any kind since then. None of which has anything to do with this concert, so let's move forward.
My friend strongly urged me to catch Holy Grail, and I tried but didn't make it on time. Oh well, life goes on. I walked into the venue to Municipal Waste, listened for about 30 seconds, and walked back out into the lobby to get a drink and look at shirts. Not my cup of tea.
High On Fire was decent, by the book Metal, but that is also their biggest fault. I grew up a Rock/Metal kid in the '80s, and every time there was a new wave, it made the old bands seem painfully outdated. Judas Priest and Iron Maiden mopped up Black Sabbath, Metallica and Slayer mopped them up, Morbid Angel and Deicide mopped them up, so on and so forth. Each wave was noticeably heavier than their predecessors, and each sub-genre seemed to have stylistic cues (tunings, tempos, vocal styles) that set it clearly apart from what had come before it. High On Fire didn't sound like they were doing anything that Pantera or Slayer hadn't done 20 years ago. That's not as much a knock as it is commentary on the genre of Heavy Metal as a whole. I've always kept up with the old bands that I like but haven't bothered checking out any new Metal bands in ages. Metal seems like jazz or Latin, a dead language that hasn't progressed at all.
If you went to any number of Metal shows in the '80s or '90s, you saw Exodus even if you didn't intend to. They toured with everybody. Black Sabbath with Dio on vocals, Megadeth...I'm sure I've seen them other times, too, but am too lazy to check. I actually keep a spiralbound notebook that has a list of every band on every bill for every concert that I've seen, 300 plus since 1984. I was never a huge Exodus fan but they always put on a good show. Tonight was so exception. I'd even go as far as to say they killed it. The crowd was berserk and I'm sure there are many, many bruises on the folks on the main floor.
Finally, the moment I've been waiting for. It was announced prior to the show that the band would be playing Among The Living in its entirety. That album was one of Thrash Metal's finest moments. I jammed it all of the time, wearing out my cassette in the '80s. I was puzzled to hear Worship (recorded intro), but was pleased as 80% of the classic 1985-1991 lineup launched into Among The Living. I had mezzanine seats above the rabble on the floor while not suffering from a nosebleed in the cavernous balcony. They cost a bit more but are worth it, as you have a wholly unobstructed view and the acoustics are great there. Caught In A Mosh was incredible, and the band was going balls out tonight. No wimping out and slowing the tempos down. During I Am The Law I noticed a few things. People sing along at these shows now, and girls come to these shows. Thrash concerts were dick farms back in the day. I've always wondered if N.F.L. (Efilnikufesin) was about John Belushi. I had heard the band play all four of those songs before, but A Skeleton In The Closet was one that I had not. It was awesome. It is also the first blast beat. Listen closely and you'll hear it on the album, Charlie does six super fast snare hits with one stick years before any Death Metal band would do it.
Hymn 1 (recorded interlude) preceded In The End off of the excellent Worship Music album. I like how the band did Side A of the album and then a few other songs before finishing it. Usually a band will do an entire album and plow straight through it. It can get boring. It was apparent how much the band has progressed between these two songs. It also gave the fans (and the band) a chance to catch their breath after the breakneck pace of Among The Living. AC/DC's T.N.T., off of the freshly minted Anthems EP and a cover of S.O.D.'s March Of The S.O.D. were another change of pace. I'm Alive showed how great Joey Belladonna's vocals still are. I'm thrilled to death that he is back in the band. The band all looked fit and healthy and played great. I was surprised by the number of young'uns at this show. A whole generation of kids has gotten into this stuff since I stopped going to these shows. That's cool. I remember dodging tumbleweeds at some of these Metal shows in the '90s.
Indians was the only moment that I could say that I was disappointed in the show. Joey didn't wear his Native American headdress. Come on! That's like when Gene Simmons stopped spitting blood in the '80s. I want my money back! Okay, kidding, but I was hoping to see it. One World and A.D.I./ Horror Of It All were killer. Got The Time closed out the set proper.
|Yes, all of these pics were taken within the first few songs. My battery was low and my phone died.|
For the encore we got Imitation of Life, which has always had one of their most crushing riffs. That slower opening riff is just godlike with those cymbals everywhere. Charlie didn't puss out on the tempo on the fast parts. I'm The Man was done in a different manner than “back in the day”. Joey used to play the drums on this, but this time it was done with the band staying put and Joey being offstage. I was never a fan of their Rap/Rock hybrid. We won't even go into the bastard children of this sonic experiment, Limp Bizkit and Korn. This song segued into Antisocial. That was all, folks. The band was great, the crowd loved it, I loved it...I don't think anyone left without a smile on their face. I look forward to seeing Anthrax again...as long as it ain't at Harpo's. I won't go to Harpo's ever again unless I can ride in a bulletproof Popemobile and be dropped off right at the door, and ushered back to safety immediately after the show in the same manner.