Live Reviews

Anthrax – Live

London Astoria

“Twenty years, man!”

As his band mates stand triumphantly beside him, it’s these simple words from a beaming Joey Belladonna that allow everyone in attendance to fully appreciate the magnitude of what stands before them. Fronted by former Armoured Saint vocalist John Bush for the better part of the last two decades, tonight signals the return of a line-up that many always considered to be Anthrax’s true form (that’s front man Joey Belladonna, Guitarists Scott Ian and Dan Spitz, Bassist Frank Bello and Drummer Charlie Benante respectively).

It’s an occasion not lost on the some 2000 sardine-packed loyalists that have crammed into the Astoria tonight, because for 80 long minutes this is no more an audience than it is an army. Songs like curtain-raiser ‘Among The Living’, ‘Spreading The Disease’ and the mammoth ‘Indians’ positively explode; the floor and balconies alike a tide of banging heads and pumping fists, each line roared stageward with unrivalled admiration. Onstage the energy is just as electric, the band slamming their way across the boards whilst churning out the groundbreaking hardcore-meets-thrash mayhem that everybody here this evening owes so much to; each flawless groove and pitch perfect scream positively dripping with the type of hair-raising nostalgia that even the younger punters here tonight can’t fail to acknowledge.

The real tragedy isn’t that this particular incarnate ever vanished, but rather the realisation that one day it will once and forever more. If you have an ounce of decency inside of you then this is one disease you simply must help spread, because the world needs a band like Anthrax more than ever in 2006.

Open wide.

Ryan Bird