Anthrax/Testament/Death Angel - September 29, 2012 - Danforth Music Hall, Toronto, Canada
By: Kenneth Gallant
Toronto has always been a thrash-friendly environment, especially given how many major acts stop here. After all, we are considered to be the biggest city in Canada, so by right of that virtue alone we should be getting concerts of this magnitude. Of course the concert in question here is the triple bill of Anthrax/Testament/Death Angel, which is steamrolling across North America throughout the fall.
Death Angel started the proceedings around 7:30 pm, but unfortunately my wife and I arrived a bit late to no fault of our own. The show was listed as starting at 8 pm, so we were surprised to learn that Death Angel were already well into playing their set when we arrived at the hall. I managed to catch the last three songs, so I enjoyed “Relentless Revolution” and then a rousing performance for “Thrashers” which ended the set. From what I saw of this part of the show, the crowd was still filling in, but they seemed to be into it. Singer Mark Osegueda sounded stunning and he did his best to stir the audience up. I just wished I could have seen the entire set, given how good they sounded from what little I saw of it.
Testament took to the stage at 8:30 and they exploded right from the get-go. They opened the set to a clip from the haunting score of the movie Hellraiser, before Chuck Billy sauntered onto the stage and let rip his Godzilla-like roar to set things in motion. He quickly whipped up the crowd into a fist pumping frenzy, as they tore into “Rise Up” and then hammered into a well balanced set of old and new numbers. They managed to touch upon a portion of the new album with pounding renditions of “Native Blood,” “True American Hate, and “Dark Roots of the Earth” but the highlight came around the middle of the set when “Practice What You Preach” livened up the audience. Certainly this old favorite is crowd pleaser, for older fans like me and it definitely got the audience singing along. This then paved the way for the mosh heavy “Into the Pit."
The only low point of the set came when they decided to play “Demon Blood” from Demonic. The song is basically a death metal tune, and I thought it brought the audience down a bit. Luckily this didn’t last too long, because Billy decided to announce it was Alex Skolnick’s birthday, so he got the audience to sing happy birthday to him. Good thinking on Billy's part, and once the well-wishing finished, they completed the set with “The Formation of Damnation” and it set everything right again with the crowd.
Anthrax stormed the stage around 10:00 pm, and to get the crowd going they broke into the ever-popular “Fight ‘Em Till You Can’t” off Worship Music. I thought it was a smart selection to start the set, and it helped to build the momentum for a series of crowd pleasing numbers that followed. What sold the show for me was of course the ever-dutiful Joey Belladonna, whose vocals were spot on for the entire night. He broke into an inspiring performance on “In My World” and never missed a beat throughout it and then proved his value as the only true voice of Anthrax on songs “Anti-Social” and “Be All, End All” from State of Euphoria. The man was on fire for most of the night, and there was never really a dull moment throughout the 90-minute set.
Song highlights were “In the End” and also when the band decided to dip into the past for a series of rousing performances for “Among the Living,” “Caught in a Mosh” and “Got the Time.” The mosh-induced crowd never let up and they were brought to a full crescendo when the band revved up the engine for “I Am the Law.” This song off Among the Living always brought out the best fist-pumping in an audience, and at one point, all you could see was a sea of fists all pumping hard into the air in unison. When the song ended, and the band bowed together to thank the audience for their loving support, Scott Ian then thanked the crowd one final time and proclaimed that everyone should continue worshipping music. My heart just melted at that point and I knew as a life-long metalhead, that sentiment would carry me home completely satisfied
It was a great night all around and this show should certainly help to push the ever growing ranks of classic thrash bands such as Anthrax and Testament. The Toronto crowd was very appreciative of the show, and as I said at the top of this review, this city certainly loves its thrash metal.
Testament official site
Death Angel official site
Matt Coe also caught this tour in Portland, Maine. To read his review, click here.