Thursday, October 16, 2014

Anthrax - Chile On Hell - Would You Expect Any Less?

Holy hell - it's been a rough unveiling for Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian's new autobiography. I don't know, or even care to know the ins and outs of it at all, but it seems like the guy has been doing PR reparations every time I look up. Well, to be honest, I could not care less about who did who, and how many times - I'm in it for the music, for the show, and definitely not for the drama. I'll leave that for those sad folks who count their clicks. I write about rock, not about the bullshit.

That brings us to the latest from Anthrax - Chile On Hell, the band's latest DVD release, which I don't actually get to see, as the label, and by proxy the band thinks that journalists only need to hear and not see their product - I only have the audio tracks, but I'm supposed to somehow make a judgement on a DVD release. Well, it just so happens that I've just seen Anthrax in Northern California, so I can assume the DVD is a fair representation of their show, which I will describe as best I can as I hose the piss from the label off my disrespected shoes. The CDs rock.

Chile On Hell is the definitive Anthrax live document - filmed before an amazing audience (I watched bootleg vids on YouTube), the band is simple The Best In Show - the greatest thrash metal band that has ever been. For me, they define the genre, and they are one of the few bands on the planet that can follow Living Color onto a stage without fear.

The band opens with the title track from Among The Living, and the first thing you realize is that Frankie Bello, Charlie Benante, and Scott Ian are perhaps the tightest rhythm section in metal. Every drummer in metal owes Benante something, and his compadres are the lockstep champions of the world. Joey Belladonna brings it - at times he's almost competing with the band for space, but he never falters. New guy Jon Donais (Shadows Fall) is right where he should be with his shredding leads, and it's off to the races.

Anthrax grooves. Caught In A Mosh is a first rate mover that marries melody to the raging beat, and you can absorb how the band combined many genres when they put together their particular brand. Metal is always front and center, but this thing swings. Benante is one of the world's best drummers, he's not just a metal maven, he's a master of his art.

1987's Among The Living gets the first five tracks, six in all, and it's great call - the songs are as perfect today as they were then, and the world could use a Judge Dredd reference about now. I Am The Law, Belushi's demise is as duly noted as ever in Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.) at a time in which kids are dropping dead faster than ever, and it's always been one of Scott Ian's best riffs. A Skeleton In The Closet, and Indians complete the band's homage to their Eddie Kramer produced classic, and they do them right, as you'd expect, and as we've come to know.

In The End is as melodic and slow as the band gets, and this rendition is heavy and gorgeous. Belladonna has never really gotten his due is a world of Dios, Dickinsons, and Halfords, but he's been a stalwart his entire career, and though there are spots where his voice may slightly falter, it is a two hour show of full on bombast, and i don't know that anyone does it much better.

T.N.T. is the band's classic cover, and if you're going to take on the brutally accurate beats of AC/DC you'd best have Benante, Bello, and Ian pounding out he rhythms. Is this one necessary? Questionable. I'm guessing not, but hey, who am I to say?

Worship Music, the band's latest studio effort from 2011 is represented by In The End, and Fight 'Em Til You Can't, and these songs sit proudly beside the band's classic tracks. There are fifteen tack total, and I hear there are even some bonus tracks on the DVD (not that I'd get privy to them). As I said, I recently saw the band, and I watched the bootleg videos on YouTube, so I'm more than confident in recommending that you purchase this a.s.a.p.

Anthrax delivers - dramas be damned, they are one of America's finest metal acts, and Chile On Hell is the ideal product to make the case.

1. Among the Living 5:55
2. Caught in a Mosh 6:10
3. I Am the Law 7:04
4. Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.) 6:04
5. A Skeleton in the Closet 6:49 6. In the End 8:51
7. T. N.T 3:39
8. I'm Alive 6:27
9. Indians 8:46
10. Medusa 5:48
11. In My World 7:24
12. Fight 'Em 'Til You Can't 6:34 13. I'm the Man 3:07
14. Madhouse 4:31
15. Antisocial 7:18

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