Anthrax, Testament, Death Angel
MacEwan Hall, Calgary, Alberta
Review by JP and Monika
On September 21, 2012 a great triple bill of thrash veterans had fans’ anticipation high and tickets selling so well, that the gig was moved to a larger venue. On a hot Friday night in Calgary, Alta., Anthrax, Testament and Death Angel took over MacEwan Hall. The venue usually hosts all-ages shows but this time the show remained an 18+ event and the milling crowd appreciated still being able to have their beers and enjoy the concert.
Death Angel hit the stage with a condensed set for their thirty minute slot, running through a nice mix of new and old tunes. It was Death Angel’s third time in Calgary in just over two years and it’s good to see them playing progressively bigger stages each time. Although they started off early, a good portion of the crowd was already in the venue. There was no shortage of energy from the band as founding members, frontman Mark Osegueda and guitarist Rob Cavestany tore up the stage, alongside guitarist Ted Aguilar and newest additions, bassist Damien Sisson and drummer Will Carroll. Death Angel gave fans classics like “Mistress of Pain” and “Thrashers” with newer hard punching additions like “I Chose the Sky”.
Testament has a loyal following in Calgary after playing here many times over the years in a variety of venues, from small bars to stadiums like during Ozzy’s Monsters of Rock. Having released their newest album in July, Dark Roots of the Earth [Nuclear Blast, 2012], Testament included songs like “Native Blood” and “Rise Up” alongside the title track. You could tell the fans were into the new material by the volume of the sing-alongs. Along with the new tunes Testament had an excellent sampling from their catalogue and some favorites were “Practice What You Preach”, Into the Pit” and “The New Order”. Frontman Chuck Billy had LEDs added to his patented mic stand that he is always playing air guitar on when he’s not towering out over the crowd delivering his vocal lines. Gene Hoglan was a flawless powerhouse behind the drums and bassist Greg Christian laid down precise bass lines. Guitarists Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson traded off ripping solos and shredded through riffs.
When Anthrax took the stage the hall was packed. They started things off with “Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t”, the first single off Worship Music [Nuclear Blast, 2011]. “Caught in a Mosh” followed up immediately and the crowd was of course whipped up into a frenzy. Anthrax kept the momentum going with another favorite, “Cry for the Indians” during which guitarist Scott Ian stopped the song to rile up the crowd some more. Throughout the set Ian played with a fierce energy that fans couldn’t help but respond to. The very animated bassist Frank Bello thrashed all over the stage, running around to engage all corners of the audience. While guitarist Rob Caggiano moved around the least, he dominated his side of the stage. Vocalist Joey Belladonna sang with intensity, hitting the high notes and keeping the momentum going. Filling in quite well for Charlie Benante was Shadows Fall drummer Jason Bittner.
Anthrax also tossed in a few covers like “Anti-Social” and the closer “I Am The Law”. “Mad Thrashing Mad” kept the mayhem going in the pit and some other highlights were “Madhouse” and “N.F.L”. Anthrax proved they are still a powerful thrash band with their 90 minute onslaught of new and old material.