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Anthrax/ Testament/ Death Angel

Date: 11/12/11
Venue: Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, New Jersey
Reviewed By: Kevin Alba
Photos By: Rich Catino


Walking into the Starland Ballroom on this crisp cool November evening there was a feeling in the air that a truly memorable night was about to begin. A very old school vibe was present at Starland with lots of denim and leather, heavy metal patches sewn on vests and long hair flowing about. Three of thrash metals greatest bands of all time were coming together and set to destroy everything in their path, and they did just that.

I was very much looking forward to Death Angel. Prior to tonight I had only seen them at the Brave Words and Bloody Knuckles 6 Pack Weekend in Cleveland Ohio back in the summer of 2005, and to this day that performance still sticks out as one of the best sets I have ever seen (I'm sure fellow scribe Mark Gromen sure remembers that one as I remember him headbanging like a lunatic in the photo pit). Death Angel had no time to waste as the opener so they hit the stage with an impact furthering the buzz and excitement getting the crowd super amped up like a Monster Energy Drink. I am in love with the band’s latest album “Relentless Retribution” and feel it is the best of three releases since their come back so I did not at all mind 3 new tunes among their seven song setlist. They kicked things off with ‘I Chose The Sky’ which instantly hooked the crowd like fishing bait, as did ‘Claws In So Deep’ and ‘Relentless Revolution’. ‘Evil Priest’ was played second in the set and sparked a great reaction from the old school heads as some moshing started breaking out in different parts of the floor in the sold out venue. ‘Seemingly Endless Time’ was the only track from "Act III" played and also a crowd pleaser. The set was ended with a teasing intro for ‘The Ultra Violence’ which led into ‘Thrown To The Wolves’ from the bands comeback album “The Art Of Dying”. All in all a very very solid way to kick off the night, I definitely want to see these guys headline again and soon!

Testament was up next, who are hands down one of my favorite bands to see live. I have always described seeing this wall of sound live like getting hit by a truck. We'll tonight was no exception and more like getting hit by a freight train. Former Dark Angel drummer Gene Hoglan was behind the kit tonight and man what a great addition to this band! Kicking things off with ‘The Preacher’ and the title track to "The New Order" back to back is one hell of a 1, 2 punch. Wish they would do more from that album, especially since they played it in its entirety on the 70000 Tons of Metal cruise earlier this year. The rarely play ‘Envy Life’ from “Practice What You Preach” so that was a nice change from the usual title track for this tour. ‘The Persecuted Won't Forget’, ‘Henchmen Ride’ and ‘More Than Meets The Eye’ kept the set current and it’s just so great to see these guys jamming to newer music as well as their classics. ‘DNR’ as always was a monster but I could have done without ‘3 Days In Darkness’, would have rather hear ‘Riding The Snake’, ‘Down For Life’ or the title track to "Low" instead from their mid-late 90's material. ‘Into The Pit’ and ‘Over The Wall’ set the audience into a frenzy while one of my favorites ‘Electric Crown’ brought on some great head banging/fists in the air. ‘Souls Of Black’ is good but I’m tired of it, how bout ‘Face The Sky’ or the classic ‘Seven Days of May’ instead? Great to see ‘Disciples of the Watch’ back as the closer as it had seemed ‘The Formation Of Damnation’ was the replacement (for a bit). Nothing against that song but as a closer it didn't work for me, ‘Disciples’ is where its at.

Anthrax were hot off the heels of their album release show for "Worship Music" at the Best Buy Theater in NYC, followed by the Big 4 show at Yankee Stadium several days later in September. Having crossed over the river into the Garden State, New Jersey surely had the time and was ready to be caught in a fucking mosh. The New York natives kicked things off with ‘Earth on Hell’ and ‘Fight Em Till You Can't’ and crowd reaction was proof positive the new album was received well. ‘I'm Alive’, ‘The Devil You Know’, and ‘In The End’ were also in the set and I myself could not believe how quickly these great new songs went over. Belladonna mentioned Ronnie James Dio as ‘Hymn 1’ was playing leading into ‘In The End’ sending chills down my spine.

From the classic 80s albums was of course ‘Caught In A Mosh’, covers ‘Antisocial’, ‘Got The Time’, and ‘Madhouse’. ‘Indians’ caused the sickest most insane WAR DANCE I have ever seen, the venue was complete and utter chaos. Not always in the set, ‘N.F.L.’ was a nice treat and I think it should make an appearance more often than not. The biggest shockers of the night were ‘Medusa’ (off "Spreading The Disease") and the title track to "Among The Living" which kicked off the encore as neither were posted on the printed set list. Both songs just blew my head off. Other encores included ‘Metal Thrashing Mad’ and ‘I Am The Law’ with snippets of ‘I Am The Man’ and Seputura’s ‘Refuse/Resist’. This was without a doubt the best setlist on the tour.

It’s already announced this tour is coming around again for part 2 hitting the Best Buy Theater in NYC this February. Would love to see Anthrax add in ‘AIR’ as well as some more obscure tunes like ‘Raise Hell’, ‘Horror Of It All’, ‘Skeletons In The Closet’ and ‘Keep It In The Family’ from "Persistence Of Time" to keep things fresh.


Death Angel:
I Chose the Sky
Evil Priest
Claws in So Deep
Relentless Revolution
Seemingly Endless Time
Thrown To the Wolves

The Preacher
The New Order
The Persecuted Won't Forget
Envy Life
Over the Wall
Souls of Black
Into the Pit
Electric Crown
Henchmen Ride
More Than Meets the Eye
3 Days in Darkness
Disciples of the Watch

Earth on Hell
Fight 'Em Till You Can't
Caught in a Mosh
I'm Alive
The Devil You Know
In the End
Got the Time
Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)
Among the Living
Metal Thrashing Mad
I'm the Man/Refuse Resist (part)
I Am The Law

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