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LAMB OF GOD, ANTHRAX In Houston, TX With Photos!

By Cary Gordon, Metal Geek
Thursday, February 18, 2016 @ 6:07 AM

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Live Photos By George Tripsas

On Thursday February 4th, LAMB OF GOD stormed into Houston, bringing along with them Thrash Metal stalwarts ANTHRAX, as well as DEAFHEAVEN and POWER TRIP and let me preface this by saying it in the beginning that I am a huge and utter ANTHRAX fanboy. Hell, I even have a Notman tattoo on my arm. So, with that out of the way, let’s talk about the show.

I arrived right when Dallas, Texas Crossover Thrashers POWER TRIP were starting their last song due to trying to find a parking spot in Downtown Houston and then the process of getting our tickets and getting into the venue. What I did see, I really enjoyed! POWER TRIP are definitely in that new style of Thrash, but with way more crossover influences, and a little bit of Death Metal! Think SLAYER meets CRO-MAGS, with D.R.I. I definitely look forward to seeing more of these guys, and it is always amazing when an opening band on a huge tour like this can entertain so many people and win them over by sheer ferociousness and talent!

Next on the lineup was something that I wasn’t honestly looking forward to, and that is DEAFHEAVEN. I know this band made many top 10 lists last year, and I can appreciate that people have varying opinions on what they enjoy. So count me in the minority when I say that I do not like this band. There are certain aspects of the band that do appeal to me, especially the slow death/doom influence, old school Black Metal and yes, even the psychedelic soundscapes, but something as a whole just doesn't gel with me. On paper, this should be right up my alley, and in all honesty, it might have everything to do with the vocals. Vocalist George Clarke does his best raw Black Metal-Ish high pitched screams, which would be fine during certain parts of the songs, but not in its entirety. This is one of the reasons why I enjoy the Metal genre so much, is that there is something for everyone out there!

Next on the lineup was the real reason I was there, the legendary Thrash Metal band, ANTHRAX! In the past 26 years, I think I have only missed one concert by them and that was last year when they opened up for VOLBEAT, and played something like 5 songs. I couldn’t justify, but not this time. I was not going to miss ANTHRAX again, and they did not disappoint. The band was a ball of energy and firing on all cylinders. The band this night consisted of Scott Ian, Joey Belladonna, Frank Bello, Jon Donais and Jon Dette. Wait? What? If there was to be anyone to fill in for Charlie Benante, Jon Dette who has played with SLAYER, TESTAMENT and ICED EARTH before is a great choice. Charlie had surgery for carpal tunnel problems in his hands, and after the recording of the new album, he has to take time off now and again. Sure, I was a little disappointed, but that soon dissipated as soon as the band kicked in! Scott Ian stomped around the stage, and Belladonna ran around like a madman, and would often just leap in mid stride. Belladonna has a commanding stage presence and really knows how to get the crowd eating out of his hands.

Their set only consisted of eight songs which ranged from old school classics like “Caught In A Mosh”, “Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t” off the previous album, Worship Music, and “Evil Twin” and “Breathing Lightning” representing the most current release, For All Kings. They even threw in a couple of their covers in there for good measure which consisted of the classic live staple “Got The Time” and in truthfulness, one of my least favorite songs the band has done in their career, “Antisocial”. It’s not that I hate it per se, but there are so many songs I would want to hear instead, but I do understand that it is a popular choice for them, and it does have a good sing along chorus. It was an emotional moment when they broke into “In The End” from Worship Music, and the banners for fallen musicians Ronnie James Dio and Dimebag replaced their Pentathrax design on the stage. It was definitely a poignant moment, considering all the recent musicians we have lost in the past few months. The short set ended with another classic off Among The Living, the ever moshable “Indians”. Considering ANTHRAX only has 8 songs on this tour, they did manage to pull off a wide and varied set from their catalog. But this is ANTHRAX! One of the Big 4! I understand that this was a LAMB OF GOD show, but ANTHRAX should have gotten co-headline status and given more time to perform, even if they were playing before LAMB OF GOD. There was definitely room to remove one of the openers to give more stage time.

Now don’t get me wrong here, I like LAMB OF GOD, but I am not a die hard fan. I have listened to them before, but I definitely don’t consider myself knowledgeable about their music. I know a few songs here and there, and I hadn’t seen the band in many years. I see the appeal with the band, as everyone performing in the band is super talented, but I felt something during this performance that I can’t quite put my finger on. It felt very programmed, and just going through the motions, even though the motions were heavy as hell and screamed with perfection. It’s amazing to see how far this band has gotten in their career. Vocalist Randy Blythe made the comment during the show that they brought ANTHRAX with them because 12 years ago, ANTHRAX brought LAMB OF GOD on one of their very first tours, and they were returning the favor. How times have changed.

Their stage show was nothing short of technologically amazing. They had these huge screens and lights on stage that were choreographed to each song. There was definitely a lot of money spent on the stage show for this tour. Randy Blythe was in full energy mode and ran around the stage and was jumping off of risers during the performance. He seemed to be really into the performance that night, even through some of the other band members were a little more static in their performance. For some reason, drummer Chris Adler was wearing a Batman mask during the entire performance. I still knew it was you, Chris. His precision drumming was constant and methodical, and melded with the chugging guitar riffs. The audience was eating it up, and could not get enough. If you are a LAMB OF GOD fan, you owe it yourself to go see them live. If you're not much of a fan, well this guy still had a good time. I mean, hell, it’s always a good time when you are at a Metal show, especially one that ANTHRAX is playing!

Check out some more photos from the show!

Live Photos By George Tripsas

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