with Beyond Fear (feat. Tim “Ripper” Owens)
The 21th of April 2006
Review by Arto Lehtinen
Pics by Tero Honkasalo
Anthrax’s return to the classic line-up has been received with mixed reactions amongst the metal fans since the beginning when the annoucement of the return of Dan Spitz and Joey Belladonna was published. Anthrax with this classic line-up has been touring effectively across the planet and has reached the status of one of the tightest playing live bands on the stage. Of course gig places and venues have been packed and sold out and tremendous huge pits have been whrilling on floors. Anthrax visited this same Nosturi club back in 2003 and caused a real ballistic caught in a mosh atmosphere in the crowd. At that time the line-up was entirely different being fronted by John Bush and Rob Caggiano was on the guitar. Since both Bush and Rob were removed because of the reunion, of course the reunited five piece visited Finland last summer by doing a festival gig at an outdoor festival far away nearby the border of Russia. The timing had been arranged in the worst possible date as the Tuska Festival was held in Helsinki on the same weekend. Due to the long distance and Tuska it was impossible for several metaheads to travel to the other side of Finland to witness the N.Y thrashers. Therefore booking two gigs was a long waited event to come amongst the old school thrash metal maniacs.
But before the Nosturi club turned to a real metal thrashing madhouse, the mandatory support act, Beyond Fear, opened the night by giving a lesson of a hybrid mix of the traditional metal and tight played speed/power metal elements tied up to the concept. What makes Beyond Fear rather an interesting name is the band’s leader on the vocals is namely Tim Ripper Owens. The same man who gained the fame and glory as the replacement for Rob Halford in Judas Priest and now handles the frontman role in Iced Earth. Anyway it could be fairly said Beyond Fear is technically Owens’ very own solo project which could be easily instincted in the band’s performance on the stage. Ripper controlled the band as well as the audience with his typical manners. To be honest the other four musicians along side with Ripper were more or less in static roles on the stage whose stage charisma can’t reach the same level as the frontman’s even though a couple of guys have been involved in rather known bands. As for Ripper himself, the man still seems to enjoy wearing a baseball cap and shaking his neck and head as he used to do in his previous wellknown band.
The voice of the former Judas Priest vocalist definitely sounded tremendously great in every aspect and has not lost any of the kind of Halford inspired upper register style. As a matter of fact comparing Ripper to Halford may be a little bit unfair cos Ripper has a reconizable voice of his own.
Even though Beyond Fear’s debut album is a strong package of good songs rangingfrom aggressive speed/power to the more melodic approach, but unfortunately the album hasn’t reached the biggest audience yet. That could be noticed when Ripper and the band did a great deal of songs from the album as there were only handful of people recognizing songs and even singing by heart. Instead a couple of songs of Judas Priest from Ripper’s era such as “Burn In Hell” and “Red Baron” from Iced Earth were recognized immediately. “Burn In Hell” is definitely a great song and logically belongs to Ripper’s setlist, whereas another Priest cover “One By One” was more or less moderninzed version from Ripper’s era of Priest. As for the Beyond Fear material, it fit well in the soundworld of Beyond Fear together with those cover ones.
Despite this Beyond Fear was nothing, but a support band for the night’s headliner, but however Ripper with Beyond Fear woke up some interest and people’s eager to check out the band’s debut album for sure.
Beyond Fear :
1. And You Will Die
2. Save Me
3. Words Of Wisdom
4. My Last Words
5. Your Time Has Come
6. The Human Race
7. Medley (Burn In Hell / Red Baron/Blue Max / One On One)
8. Coming At You
9. Telling Lies
10. Scream Machine
The atmosphere started getting more electric with tension and feeling as more and more people started gathering closer to the stage. The floor area was extremely packed and a full of maniacs waiting for Anthrax. The well known tune of the BluesBrothers welcomed the whole Anthrax squad to the stage until the first riffs of “Among The Living” roared out of the speakers. The roof flew a couple of meters higher as all hell broke on loose in the club. The whole floor became a battlefield. Bodies smashed each other, sweaty people kept raging and terrorizing in the pit thru the whole time, the temperature in the club rose to an inhuman sweaty level. Even one writer from the Finnish Metal-Rules staff team could be witnessed, running in the pit and getting tackled by younger metalheads several times. However all kinds of pits have been witnessed in Nosturi, but this one on Anthrax’s gig was absolutely the most insane and wildest for sure.
If the audience was definitely on fire on the floor so was the band on the stage. Both Bello and Ian are without any doubts the most hyperactive members of Anthrax on the stage. Actually Scott Not Ian is known for being one hell of a bloody relentless and aggressive performancer doing the wardance figures of his own and jumping all around on the stage just like 20 years ago. He never seems to lose his wild stage showman credibility. Bello was another restless and wildman on the stage. His way to entertain the audience like by throwing small things to the audience and encouraged the audience to go crazier.
Dan Spitz isn’t that active a guy compared to both Ian and Bello, but however Dan has his own style on the stage. Spitz has never been the wildest person on the stage, his cool passion to play the guitar was admirable indeed. Belladonna was definitely in good shape, both physically and especially his voice still rules the thrash world. He was definitely pleased with how the band was received by the Finnish maniacs and definitely surprised to see the new generation.
The whole set of the night was like a real flashback to the the early 90’s and maybe rather to 80’s when all the essential hit songs used to dominate Anthrax’s sets. Especially the set of the night was mostly based to focus on the material off from AMONG THE LIVING as 6 of the 14 songs had been selected from the third album. Whereas the last album with Belladonna was in a minority role as “Got The Time” was the one only from PERSISTENCE OF TIME. It was a sort of weird selection to choose one song from that album, even though songs such as “Belly Of The Beast” and “Keep It In Family” would deserve to be chosen as well. And of course a couple of songs from STATE OF EUPHORIA and Metal Thrashing Mad off from the ARMED AND DANGEROUS m-lp (well originally on FISTFUL OF METAL). This was what the audience wanted and they got it.
Ian wanted the audience to arrange one hell of a circle pit during “Indians”, but obviously the kids in the pit misunderstood the meaning of the circle pit and went a little bit wrong by taking the each other’s hand as if the circle pit was some kind of chainpolkadance. It definitely looked quite amusing. But where was the legendary Indian head-dress ?! As Belladonna picked up an old cap instead of the Indian head-dress.. C’mon !!!
Anthrax kicked ass and hard. It is obvious the younger generation of the thrash metal fans got a great lesson in how to thrash. Yes the whole night was an utter phenomenal thrash metal extravaganza what comes to the band on the stage and the audience. It isn’t any wonder that the gig was sold completely out. The most interesting things was to see the entire new generation of young metalheads at the age of 10-13 who kept banging their heads in the frontline and raging in the pit. After the tour Anthrax will finally enter the studio to work on the first album with this reunited lineup and it is going to be interesting to hear what they will come up with.
1. Among The Living
2. Metal Thrashing Mad
3. Got The Time
4. Caught In A Mosh
6. A Skeleton In The Closet
8. Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)
11. Be All, End All
12. I’m The Man
14. I Am The Law