Thrash legends Anthrax are back in Europe in February to support their superb 11th album For All Kings– see below for a full list of dates.
To celebrate the New Yorkers returning to Europe and indeed being on the road now for 2 years we will take a look at the history of the band, their essential songs, albums and memorable times from a career that has spanned an incredible 35 years. There is a reason that Anthrax are known as one of the big 4 in the thrash/metal genre alongside Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth and if you didn’t know why, then you’re about to find out:
It’s fair to say that Ian is the lifeblood of Anthrax, instantly recognizable as the flaming guitarist and founder of the band with a goatee longer than the band have been around. Ian is a seriously great guitar player with an amazing work ethic. His love of music was sealed one night in 1977 when he caught KISS play at Madison Square Garden, and he hasn’t looked back. Ian also loves RUN DMC and Public Enemy and in 1991 Anthrax teamed up with the former for the classic song, ‘’Bring the Noise’’. Ian has played in various side projects including, Storm troopers of Death, The Damned Things and Pearl.
Anthrax once bought Metallica a fridge!
There’s no doubt that Metallica are one of the biggest bands in the world but back in 1983 this simply wasn’t the case. The Californians had arrived on the East Coast and needed a place to record their debut album Kill Em’ All They ended up sharing rehearsal space with Anthrax and whilst the foursome in Metallica could afford beers (just about) they had nowhere to keep them chilled. What did Anthrax do? They went and bought them a fridge. Since then the bands have got along famously well and Anthrax have gone on tour with them on four different occasions throughout the last thirty years.
Anthrax and Stephen King
Thrash metal music and horror have seemingly gone hand in hand like butter and bread or fish and chips. This has been a relationship that started way back when Black Sabbath took their name from Mario Bava’s classic horror film of the 60’s. Fast forward to the 80’s and Anthrax and legendary horror scribe Stephen King formed a great relationship. It all started with 1987’s Among the Living album where King’s works were referenced twice. The album’s title track is about Randall Flagg, a character that has appeared in many different King books. ‘’A Skeleton in the Closet’’ references King’s book Apt Pupil about a Nazi criminal. It was clear that Anthrax were huge fans of King, and the author returned the compliment. Only last year he said on Twitter after a show ‘Get me some Anthrax Saturday night, you guys rock’.
The Legendary Tours
Having toured for some 35 years, Anthrax have been involved in some of the very great tours in Thrash metal history. First up was the ‘Headbanger’s Ball’ Tour which lasted just one month in North America but the band still played 29 gruelling dates in that time. Support came from Exodus and Helloween. Two years later the band were in the line-up for the infamous ‘Clash of the Titans’ tour which kicked off in Europe in fall of 1990 and then headed to America in the summer of 1991. Anthrax were part of a bill that included headliners Slayer, Megadeth, Suicidal Tendencies, Testament and Alice in Chains. In 2010 the big 4 of thrash metal finally got together for the ‘American Carnage’ Tour that saw Anthrax join Slayer, Megadeth and Testament on stage in a memorable assault on the senses that lasted for 45 glorious shows over 2 legs.
Anthrax has released 11 albums to date selling over 10 million records. Their debut album was ‘Fistful of Metal’ in 1984 Kerrang magazine said that the songs were played at a hundred miles an hour. Two years later Anthrax followed up their debut with Spreading the Disease which also garnered rave reviews right across the board. The only single to be released from the album was ”Madhouse”, however the accompanying video was later banned by MTV because it feared the content was degrading to the mentally ill, the video was shot in an asylum.
In 1987 the band broke through with arguably their greatest album, Among the Living’ has been cited by fans as the bands greatest work. Featuring such classics as ”Caught in a Mosh”, ”I am the Law” and ”Indians” it was a record that really launched Anthrax from the club scene into your living room. As aforementioned there was a strong theme of Stephen King’s works here and also ”I am the Law” was a clear reference to the Judge Dredd comic character. A year later with no rest bite came State of Euphoria, the album was certified Gold a year later and featured classic tracks such as ”Be All, End All” and ”Antisocial”.
Into the 1990’s and the decade saw four new releases from the band starting with Persistence of Time It is perhaps a period in the bands history that will always be remembered for a fire that started in the bands rehearsal room, whilst thankfully everyone was safe their equipment wasn’t and they lost over $100,000 due to damages. The album’s release had to be pushed back to late summer 1990.
It could be argued that 1993’s Sound of White Noise was influenced by the alternative rock scene hailing from Seattle at the time and was a clear departure from the bands usual thrash genre. Dave Jerden was brought in to produce the record, he had just finished up with Alice in Chains on their own masterpiece Dirt. Though the album was a surprise to many fans it still received good reviews and includes the underrated classic ”Only”.
The band continued to release albums and tours at a rate of one per 3 years and in 2016 came back for their latest record For All Kings which has been a huge success. In terms of Billboard chart success the album entered into the top 10, the bands first achievement of this in 23 years and after a year of release the album is set to break the 100,000 barrier in the US alone. For All Kings is arguably the bands most consistent album, it’s incredibly hard to find any fillers here and ”Blood Eagle Wings” will be remembered as a classic years from now.
Members of the band
Interestingly there have been 24 different members throughout Anthrax’s history. Only Scott Ian has remained the one sole original member since 1981. However Charlie Benante on drums has been with the band since 1983. Frank Bello on bass has been plying his trade with the deepest of tunes for 33 years. Jonathan Donais is the newest member of the band after joining in 2013 on lead guitar. And then there is of course Joey Belladonna one of the great front men of the past 30 years. His association with the band has been legendary. He first started out in 1984 and lasted until 1992. But he returned in 2005 for a couple of years before really making it full time again since 2010.
Anthrax European Tour Dates: (Support band: The Raven Age)
Feb 09: Birmingham O2 Institute, UK
Feb 10: London O2 Forum Kentish Town, UK
Feb 11: Bristol O2 Academy, UK
Feb 13: Nottingham Rock City, UK
Feb 14: Manchester Academy, UK
Feb 15: Glasgow Barrowlands, UK
Feb 16: Newcastle Northumbria University, UK
Feb 17: Norwich UEA, UK
Feb 19: Utrecht Rhonda, Netherlands
Feb 20: Antwerp Trix Hall, Belgium
Feb 21: Oberhausen Turbinenhalle, Germany
Feb 22: Stuttgart LKA Longhorn, Germany
Feb 24: Nurnberg Lowensaal, Germany
Feb 25: Munich Backstage Werk, Germany
Feb 27: Gothenburg Pustervik, Sweden
Mar 01: Helsinki Ice Hall, Finland
Mar 03: Umea House Of Metal Fest, Sweden
Mar 04: Stockholm Berns, Sweden
Mar 06: Copenhagen AmaGermany Bio, Denmark
Mar 07: Hamburg Docks, Germany
Mar 08: Frankfurt Batschschkapp, Germany
Mar 09: Berlin Huxleys, Germany
Mar 10: Warsaw Stodola, Poland
Mar 13: Vienna Rena, Austria
Mar 15: Zurich Komplex, Switzerland
Mar 16: Paris Elysee Montmarte, France