Hard Rock Corner: Anthrax with Killswitch Engage

Live at Sherman Theater, Stroudsburg, PA, 1/27/18

Feb 08, 2018 By Frank Valish Photography by Jimmy Hubbard Bookmark and Share

Anthrax and Killswitch Engage represent two different sides of the heavy metal coin. On their Killthrax II tour, the bands have come together again to reprise their successful 2017 jaunt, this time spreading their wings to cities not previously rocked the last time around. On Saturday night in the out-of-the-way town of Stroudsburg, PA, Anthrax and Killswitch, supported by Colorado screamers Havok, brought the noise to a capacity crowd.

On this night, the normally subdued town was awash in metalheads of all kind. With Antrax's fanbase skewing older, the band's best known albums coming in the '80s, and Killswitch bringing the younger metal fanatics, with seven albums since 2000, the Sherman Theater was filled to the rafters with all type of beautiful lunatic.

Both bands' most recent releases rank with their best. Anthrax's For All Kings is a blistering set of fire, finding the band sounding as youthful as ever, its rhythms as furious as always and singer Joey Belladonna's vocals showing a vitality and youthfulness belying his age. Killswitch's Incarnate has the band tempering its screaming with the best melodies of its career thus far. Yet for those who missed the Killthrax tour the first time around, the two bands would seem strange bedfellows, Anthrax destroying with a thrash fervor and Killswitch representing a newer scream-centric metal.

Anthrax's 75-minute set hewed toward the band's classic tracks. Opening with the terrific twosome "Among the Living" and "Caught in a Mosh," both from the band's breakthrough 1987 record Among the Living, the band put the pedal to the metal the entire set. It unearthed "Fight 'Em 'Til You Can't" from 2011's Worship Music and "Breathing Lightning" from For All Kings, but other than those two, played consecutively, the band did not deviate from its heyday. Not that the crowd cared, with patrons singing along to every word for the majority of the set. What was clear was that, 30 years on, Anthrax hasn't lost a step. Rhythm guitarist Scott Ian's thrash, drummer Charlie Benante's stomp, and bassist Frank Bello's low end set the furious template without tire. Lead guitarist Jon Donais shredded like few others. And the ageless Belladonna sounded as strong as ever.

One wondered whether the crowd would thin after Anthrax's set, the older heads leaving after their heroes departed. But this was not the case. By the time Killswitch Engage took the stage at 10:15 PM, the house was as packed as it was two hours prior. Perhaps it was the youth, but Killswitch's metal elicited a more fervent response than its counterpart's. While Anthrax saw a mosh pit in the venue's center, as well as its fair share of crowd surfers, Killswitch boasted this times ten. One could barely escape the pits forming at all ends of the venue, metal misters and misses flailing themselves this way and that without regard to themselves or others. It was energetic, joyful, and exuberant release. Observing from wedged into a corner, stage left, it became clear that Killswitch's particular brand of screaming followed by melodic singing, followed by screaming, rinse and repeat, was the perfect vehicle for its fans' escape, presenting opportunity for genuine tension-and-release. Mosh, sing-along, mosh, one might call it. At one point, a bearded concertgoer, who had been raging particularly hard for nearly an hour straight paused to comment, "I need a nap." One wouldn't hear a more apropos comment the entire night.

By the time the evening concluded with Belladonna joining Killswitch in a cover of Dio's "Holy Diver", which Killswitch covers on its 2006 album As Daylight Dies, the crowd, or at least this particular (old) concert reviewer, was exhausted. And rightfully so. Nevertheless, what was made clear by this night of three odd hours of metal mayhem and mosh, was that despite its different approaches to a cathartic noise, Anthrax and Killswitch Engage hit a similar note with the masses. Young and old were joined on this evening, all for one and one for all until the final chord rang. And as dissimilar as the two bands might seem on the surface, one thing was clear: sometimes strange bedfellows aren't really that strange after all.



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Logansver Iline
February 14th 2018


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Euroa Leschen
March 6th 2018

Anthrax I follow this band from the beginning. I am the fan of Hard Rock music. Whenever I feel sad I just start listening to my playlist. Which has all of the hard rock, metal rock music.

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