Live Gig Review and Photos: DJ
Is not every day you get to cover a Metal show at a venue that traditionally is known for having guest world famous Country artists. The Ryman used to be The Grand Ole Opry from 1943 to 1974. On March 15, 1974, the Opry made its last broadcast from Ryman before moving to a new place, The Grand Ole Opry House at Opryland, needless to say the legacy built here is immaculate. But as one of many Iconic music venues in the Music City, it’s always great to cover a show there. Yes I know the place has had Metal bands there before, in fact Opeth and Mastodon played there late last year, but I don’t know if the place itself was fully ready for what was coming this night.
Anthrax the legendary Thrash Metal outfit has been around a long time. Long enough to get to celebrate 40 years in the business. They celebrated that during 2021, but due to the pandemic most bands found they had more than enough time on their hands, and touring was shut down permanently. Due to the crazy backlog of tours we have going on now, we finally get to witness this potent lineup, coupled with Metal Guitar hero Zakk Wylde and his Doom Inc crew from Black Label Society, we also have special guest Hatebreed. Anthrax and BLS have played together many times over the years at many festivals and Jamey Jasta and Hatebreed crew are all friends with Anthrax, so it makes perfect sense to see this tour put together. What could the Big Four Members have in store tonight? At a venue that does not have any room for moshing? Let’s find out!!!
First up was Hatebreed and the guys are celebrating their own 25 years of their patented Hardcore/Metal grooving pounding riffage. Jamey Jasta and company waste no time as they start crushing things early at 7 pm with “Empty Promises”, “Proven” and “Destroy Anything”. The sound can be heard through the back end of the second balcony. Holy moly I don’t know if standing room headbanging looked more appealing, even without a proper circle. Chris Beattie the god of bass is a monster, and Jasta sounds extremely grateful to be playing at the legendary venue. The guitar abuses heavily on “Last Breath” and “Looking Down the Barrel of Today”. The guys pull no punches, the vibrant energy sets the mood perfectly for Black Label Society.
Zakk Wylde and Doom Crew Inc keep things rolling as the wild bearded man comes out with his staple kilt, and his larger-than-life guitar hero grooves, the guys are here to kick ass and perform a setlist that goes straight to the gut. The last time we saw Zakk and crew, was at the Metal Festival Exit 111 and after a long day of headbanging, their late-night show fed more energy into our epic long day of coverage that day. Fans continue to have their eardrums crushed by “Heart of Darkness”, always proving guitar mastery is Wylde, as he shreds in his instinctive style. His Epic thunderous image just makes for a damn good show. The tribute to Vinnie Paul and Dimebag Darrel is always a highlight of the show for me as Zakk sings “In This River” and it’s always done brilliantly. “Suicide Messiah” and “Stillborn” promise more sludge of metal goodness as they wrap things off and the night awaits the Thrash Metal icons that are Anthrax. Big props to guitar player Dario Lorina former Lizzy Borden, as he often times gets overshadowed by Wylde’s incredible axework, his guitar work is terrific also, as we really enjoyed their over the head dueling solo action on the setlist.
The start of the Anthrax set is interesting as the monitor plays video footage intros from many famous people from Keanu Reeves to Chuck D, to other genre-defining acts praising the band’s longevity and energy of their live shows. And rightfully so, when you have been around this long, and still manage to kick ass live; time and time again you deserve a godamm celebration and tour!!! Singer Joey Belladonna is 61 years old, and let me tell you he sure as hell doesn’t act like his age on stage. You would never notice with his constant array of energy and interaction with the crowd, truly admirable. Scott Ian is the same way as soon as he pops on stage, curtains come down, and is a full assault on all ends. The drumming by Charlie Benante is immaculate, loud, and crushing, the bass and energy by Frank Bello are always captivating, and the guitars always shred with Ian and Jonathan Donais precising every monster riff. The crowd this night gets their money’s worth as Anthrax plays all their classics from “Among The Living” to “Caught In A Mosh” or caught standing headbanging recklessly because no circle pit, to “Antisocial” to “Bring The Noise”. It all makes what would normally be a dull and slow Tuesday night, a vibrant and thrilling spectacle.
The boys from NYC don’t play around, as one of the leaders of the Thrash Metal genre, it’s always a guarantee to have a fun night as they belter out great song after great song. While the band has had multiple lineup changes through the years, the two remaining original members of Ian and Benante still hold the band’s structure firm, and Joey’s singing has been rock solid for years now. The band’s legacy is undeniable now as it has ever been. Again will say this over and over, if you are a fan of guys like these and grew up in the 80s, take your kids out to these shows before it’s too late. The Thrash Metal genre has plenty to celebrate and a lot of it has to do because of bands like Anthrax. Congratulations guys hell of a show, many more to come!!! Rock on.