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Anthrax - Chile On Hell

Label: Megaforce
Format: DVD
Released: 2014
Reviewed By: Mark Gromen
Rating: 8/ 10


Essentially the same show I've witnessed several times, around the globe, over the last couple of years. The band is in fine form, but this isn't just a concert video. Clocking in under 2 hrs. Chile On Hell is intercut with what typically appears as an interview segment, travelogue or personal, off-stage footage. However, apart from an optional running commentary from Scott Ian, Charlie Benante and Frank Bello, there are no extras, not even an accompanying booklet. Nothing. Onstage, this is most of what Anthrax performed in Santiago Chile, last year, but ‘Deathrider’ and ‘Got The Time’ (from Joe Jackson) were both nixed. Strange, particularly the later since AC/DC cover ‘TNT’ is included, as well as their closing number ‘Antisocial’ (Trust).

 

‘Among The Living’ starts this visual chaos, in a hail of strobes. Split screens show what's happening onstage and off, most notably, someone lights a flare and parades around the circle pit with the incendiary. Know it's something of a soccer ritual, but imagine that smell indoors and the next time you read about hundreds of South Americans trapped in a burning nightclub, re-live that image. Initially, Ian has a Go Pro camera mounted on the neck of his Jackson,guitar providing close-ups of him and the crowd. Although a variety of cameras are employed (none from the front row/photo pit), at first everything is not in focus, the cameramen unable to keep up with the band. ‘Caught In The Mosh’ is crazy! Stop action catches Ian in the midst of his jump split. Apart from ‘Skeletons In The Closet’, guitarist Jon Donais is almost an afterthought, typically only seen in the dominate reds (which wash out details) or in long shots of the entire stage. Even when he solos, we see crowd shots instead. Just two songs in and frontman Joey Belladonna is scrounging for pot, motioning to the crowd to throw joints onstage.

‘I Am The Law’ sees Ian skank around the stage, ending up opposite his usual left side. After three songs, there's a brief respite, an injection of travels scenes leading up to the concert. A huge pit for ‘NFL’, as the camera opts for three panels, one seemingly dedicated to Joey's mugging. The Go-Pro point of view is gone (to reappear some songs later on Bello's bass). Sure ‘In The End’ was written in the album recording cycle, shortly after Ronnie James Dio's death. Onstage, he and Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell Abbott are immortalized on scrims, flanking drummer Benante. Given the repeated use of "horns", the symbol synonymous with the diminutive singer, it's more about him, even though it was (at that time) more than three years after his death. This December, it will be a decade since the onstage tragedy that took Dime's life, but can we have a moratorium on shout-outs/salutes to the man (especially from local/cover bands that never knew him). Not that he doesn't deserve it, just that it now smacks of a cheap ploy for applause.

‘TNT’ sees Belladonna behind the camcorder, filming the crowd. There's a noticeable difference (almost static audience) when they air ‘I'm Alive’ or ‘In The End’ as opposed to the hits, or even the old school ‘Medusa’. For ‘Indians’, the Go-Pro is back, as are the flares, this time a pair of red ones circling the pit as Joey runs amok. A brief jump to NYC, where interview with Mike Portnoy and Dave Ellefson give the band props for longevity. Across the front of the stage, the entire band headbangs to the audience sung ‘In My World’.

White lit drum solo leads into ‘I Am The Man’, Ian and Bello trading vocal lines. It is punctuated by a bit of Slayer (occurring shortly after the death of their guitarist Jeff Hanneman), Tom Araya being of Chilean heritage. ‘Madhouse’ has a toque wearing Belladonna walking around with the Go-Pro. House lights and voices are raised for the concluding ‘Antisocial’. Following the credits, there's another interview montage and brief skit with Bello. Maybe not the definitive Anthrax document, but certainly lively and representative of how they sound right now. Can't wait for the next studio effort.

 
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