Tuesday 4 November 2014

Anthrax - Chile On Hell (Album Review)

Album Type: DVD
Date Released: 17/10/2014
Label: Nuclear Blast Records

Chile On Hell’ DD track listing:

01. Among The Living
02. Caught In A Mosh
03. I Am The Law
04. Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)
05. A Skeleton In The Closet
06. March Of The S.O.D. (STORMTROOPERS OF DEATH cover)
07. In The End
08. Deathrider
09. T.N.T. (AC/DC cover)
10. I'm Alive
11. Indians
12. Medusa
13. In My World
14. Got The Time (Joe Jackson cover)
15. Fight 'Em 'Til You Can't


16. I'm The Man / Raining Blood (SLAYER cover)
17. Madhouse
18. Antisocial (TRUST cover)

One of Metal’s most important acts, ANTHRAX, are celebrating three decades since their 1984 debut »Fistful Of Metal« , in what has been an unstoppable career. ANTHRAX not only continue to tour the globe relentlessly - including  being part of The Big 4, alongside MEGADETH, METALLICA and new labelmates SLAYER -  they even find themselves guest-starring in an episode of famous US TV show “Married…with Children”.

Now ANTHRAX are about to release »Chile On Hell«, a live-in-concert DVD featuring footage filmed at the Teatro Caupolican in Santiago, Chile on May 10, 2013. For the »Chile On Hell« show ANTHRAX performed an extended set that featured songs from the band's entire back-catalogue. So get ready to mosh in the privacy of your own home with multiple Grammy-nominated thrash masters ANTHRAX!

The band’s current incarnation includes vocalist Joey Belladonna, bassist Frank Bello, drummer Charlie Benante and last remaining founding member and guitarist Scott Ian. SHADOWS FALL guitarist Jon Donais, who has been touring with ANTHRAX since Rob Caggiano's departure in January 2013, handled the lead-guitar parts at the Santiago show.

Santiago was the perfect place to film the show for this," said ANTHRAX drummer Charlie Benante. "When we'd played there in the past, we'd finish our set, play our encore and go back to the dressing room. But every time, the fans would continue to scream and cheer and clap. I mean, they went on and on, they wouldn't stop. One time Scott [Ian, guitar] and I walked out to the side of the stage just to watch what was going on in the audience, it was intense. Why wouldn't we want to film a DVD in front of an audience like that?”

“Plus,” Benante continued, “the time was right to do this DVD… We wanted to finish on a high note. We didn't want to look back and regret that we didn't record the live show.”
»Chile On Hell« was produced by Jay Ruston and filmed by City Drive Entertainment Group and DC3 Global. The DVD's cover art was designed by Stephen Thompson, who partnered with Benante to "redesign" the artwork from last year's »Anthems« EP.

The Band:

Charlie Benante | drums
Frank Bello | bass
Scott Ian | Rhythm Guitar
Joey Belladonna  | Vocals


Away from the immediate glitz, glamour and notoriety of the Bay Area thrash scene, New Yorkers Anthrax have always been the outsider, the underdog of the supposed thrash four. The thrash movement emerged from the pubs and clubs of the Bay Area like a plague of rats from a dank, infested sewer in the early eighties, and still today it is deemed with the utmost respect - the industrial capital of all things thrash. Throughout, Anthrax were always there on the scene, always prominent, but never quite fully in the periphery of the mass metal populous, leaving them to, at times, dwell in the towering shadows of Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer. You could argue that they stood and watched while the rest of the thrash four climbed into the upper echelons of the metal and rock world while the undeservedly didn’t. But Anthrax has an ace up their sleeve, one which has seen them maintain a steady and respectably sized fan-base the world over: Anthrax are by far the most fun, light-hearted, party friendly thrash band on the planet.

Lead by the iconic Scott Ian, their punk-edged revelry has always slayed live. They are the antidote to the pompousness of the leviathan that is Metallica, their tongue has always been firmly in their cheek while Mustaine had repeatedly put his foot in his mouth; they are the ‘everything’s great, lets have a blast’ polar opposite to Slayer’s ‘God doesn’t exist, and if he does ‘he hates you because he’s not a nice man.’ ‘Chile On Hell’ captures everything that Anthrax have sustained themselves so healthily upon since their formation some 33 years ago.   

Not only does it prove that returning front man Joey Belladonna still has steely pipes capable of blasting out the likes of ‘Medusa’ and ‘Indians’ with the utmost dynamism, but it also gives fans their first chance to hear Shadows Fall guitarist Jon Donais in any recorded medium within the band; and what a player he is.

Since the release of their powerhouse of a comeback record, ‘Worship Music’ – that, in my opinion is one of the best thrash records of the last 10 years – they have been touring relentlessly. Anthrax are road hogs and ‘Chile On Hell’ sees them on truly staggering form. Many of their 80s recordings, for those craving the grittier end of thrash chaos never quite cut the mustard for some. Belladonna’s vocals were too high pitched, the guitars not quite in-yer-face enough. Anyone who has seen Anthrax since the release of ‘Worship Music’ however, will tell you just how much better those songs sound in the flesh. Live, they carry more weight, more prestige ‘Caught In A Mosh’ never fails to whip anything but a maniacal frenzy. ‘Chile On Hell’ is undeniable proof of that.

‘Indians’ is as seismically overwhelming as ever, the self-christened ‘war dance’ being just that. You can feel the joy of the crowd fizzing through your speakers as all hell breaks loose in its final throes. A cover of AC/DC’s ‘TNT’, simply one of the finest, leanest and meanest rock n’ roll songs ever committed to tape gets the Anthrax treatment here. The solo, a fine moment in the spotlight for Donais, is a perfect blend of the bluesy noodlings of Angus Young and Donais’ own thrashy pentatonic licks – glorious. 

Belladonna’s on-stage banter may leave a lot to be desired at times and is no doubt worsened by the language barrier. “My Spanish is terrible,” he jokingly admits. But the language they do understand – that of their no-holds-barred, good time heavy metal – comes across excellently. ‘Medusa’ has a real energetic magnitude to it, the chorus just enormous.

Bafflingly, this stage banter seems either too quiet or excruciatingly loud throughout, which has you diving for the volume controls in a mad panic. Whether that is down to where Belladonna puts his microphone when addressing the crowd or if it is a mixing issue, it’s a minor detail that’s easy to overlook when assessing the bigger picture.

‘In My World’ is performed with scintillating vigour, those discordant guitars so beautifully, er, discordant, while the closing trio of ‘I’m The Man,’ ‘Madhouse’, complete with ripping Donais fretwork and the anthemic, irresistible sing-a-long of ‘Antisocial’ affirms this bands status as one of the best live bands around.

Sure, ‘Madhouse’ may never be revered quite the same as ‘Peace Sells’, ‘Master of Puppets’ or ‘Reign In Blood’, but it is a bloody good song. Anthrax is fun, plain and simple. You leave an Anthrax gig sweaty and grinning from ear to ear. Listening to ‘Chile On Hell’, while it will never be the same as being there, living in the heat of the moment, is a looking glass into the madness that is an Anthrax live show.         

Words: Phil Weller

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