Anthrax @ Pustervik (SE), Amager Bio (DK)

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ANTHRAX / THE RAVEN AGE

Date: 27th February, 2017 / 06th March, 2017
VenuePustervik, Gothenburg (SE) / Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK)
Tickets: 370SEK/275DKK (€37/$39)
Promoter: LiveNation / Nuclear Blast
Photos: Erika Wallberg


The alerts and teasers posted online prior to ANTHRAX hitting Scandinavian soil, sure made me eager to see what was to come. And as always, when I get the chance, I book more than one show in my agenda. It might seem like overdoing it a bit but I think it is a waste not to see bands double up. And as ANTHRAX is one hell of a live-machine, I knew before it was all good to watch them twice.

The surprise of the evenings though came from THE RAVEN AGE. When they were opening for IRON MAIDEN, it all felt so stiff, adjusted and to be very frank, completely dead. This could be blamed on the sound to a great extent though since the effect was the same on occasion in Copenhagen where the bass took over pushing away basically everything else. But in Gothenburg, where the sound was neatly balanced, the impression of the band was completely different. The great melodies shone through and created a great atmosphere. The surprise was the melancholic and melodic feel as compared to the brawling sound coming out of the massive speakers at Ullevi Stadium. This really sounded fantastic and it felt bad that I did not check them out again prior to this show. “Uprising” from the self-titled debut EP started the show and it was good to see THE RAVEN AGE having some support from the start. In both Gothenburg and Copenhagen, the venues were still filling up when they kicked off their set. But they also had some real fans in the front in both places.

Most of the songs in the set was from brand new “The Darkness Will Rise” which actually had not been released for either shows. That didn’t stop the crowd from knowing the songs though. Ok, “Promised Land” has been out on YouTube for a while and that goes for more recent “Salem’s Fate” also. Both songs sounded very good, catchy and heavy at the same time. I’m not really a huge fan of the modern-sounding Hard Rock / Groove Metal type that is being presented by most bands these days but I must say that THE RAVEN AGE sure had some mighty fine moments, so I might need to reconsider, or perhaps they are an exception from the mass?

Another great moment from THE RAVEN AGE was Angel In Disgrace” which closed the set. Also from the self-titled EP, this really shows that the band has potential. There’s no doubt they’ve benefited their career on their relations to IRON MAIDEN but with these shows they clearly showed they are a force on their own too, hard working and that sure has paid off. A very good opening on both nights even if the sound worked against them in Copenhagen, but they had me hooked in Gothenburg already, so it was easy to look past that.

THE RAVEN AGE (Gothenburg)

The Raven Age @ Pustervik, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) The Raven Age @ Pustervik, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) The Raven Age @ Pustervik, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) The Raven Age @ Pustervik, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) The Raven Age @ Pustervik, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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THE RAVEN AGE (Copenhagen)

The Raven Age @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) The Raven Age @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) The Raven Age @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) The Raven Age @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) The Raven Age @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
The Raven Age @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) The Raven Age @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) The Raven Age @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) The Raven Age @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) The Raven Age @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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ANTHRAX playing the entire “Among The Living” album... Fan can vote for songs to be played during the ‘Among The Kings’ tour... Normally, I’m always in favor of bands adding their new stuff to the set and ditch the things they’ve always been playing but this sure caught my interest. First, I haven’t seen ANTHRAX as many times as I have others, similar in size and age. And ANTHRAX have a back catalogue that is absolutely fantastic and there are songs I’ve been longing to hear, or hear again, live.

The fun with these two shows was that the sets were the total opposite. In Gothenburg, it was a mix of hits and new ones to start with, the new ones being fantastic too of course. And it sure started good with “A.I.R” and “Madhouse” after the intro. And then, it went upwards; “Evil Twin” is fantastic and “Medusa” is one of my all time favorites. So, it certainly was awesome to hear that one. Also “Blood Eagle Wings” is a favorite, the mellow groove works fantastic live and it really sent shivers down my spine, both these two songs. But best in the first section for the Gothenburg show was “Be All, End All”, such power and force and damn what a voice Joey Belladonna still possesses.

In Copenhagen, it was the “Among The Living” set opening the show. I love the entire “Among The Living” album, it sure brings back long forgotten memories and has aged very well, I still think “A.I.R” is a better set opener than the title track from “Among The Living”. But it’s not by far and how that set continued with “Caught In A Mosh” and “One World”, damn! That’s really hard to beat. As I said, ANTHRAX have always been very good live, very energetic but it seems like they’ve gotten another, even stronger energy injection nowadays. Both Frank Bello and Joey move around like crazy, creating a very good drive in the set and teasing the crowd to participate in the event. How Joey can run around like that and still sing with such force is beyond me - he is in better shape than ever.

Then it feels a little crazy to hear all these songs from the “Among The Living” album as it has been with me since my early teen-years and I have more than once been running or biking around on town blasting out the songs on a tape recorded that certainly couldn’t take the volume screaming along to the songs like crazy. Looking at the crowd, there were many alike me there though, men and women with one thing in common; looking ridiculously happy as these songs were played. Scott Ian introduced “A Skeleton In The Closet” as one of his absolute favorite songs and I can’t but agree, it is fantastic! The tongue-twister “N.F.L” is another favorite of mine that hasn’t been played live enough.

Then, the crowd was with the band, they sounded fantastic... And yes, it was great to see Jonathan Donais taking more space on stage, his energy was much better on this tour and the longer the show went the closer to the center of stage he came. And seeing him play the guitar-solo he did was very cool. He sure possesses a great talent and should show it off. John Dette also did a good job behind the drums, Charlie Benante is missed of course but it works fine with John as well.

In Copenhagen, the crowd really went berserk when the first notes of “Indians” hit them. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an as aggressive mosh-pit at Amager Bio. The atmosphere is normally mellower in Denmark when compared to Sweden. Not for this song though. For “Imitation Of Life”, the recently elected president got a mouthful as, as Scott stated, they didn’t think it would be worse than when the song was written back in the days and their country was run by an actor, but who knew…

I’m really happy that I got to experience two very different sets; both were fantastic but if I have to pick a favorite, it has to be Gothenburg. I think the arrangement worked better with having the “Among The Living” part as a second set, and even more because I got to hear both “Medusa” and “Be All, End All” there. These were not featured in the Copenhagen set. Also, the entire record, start to finish was a great build-up towards the end with “Antisocial” which of course ended both sets. But that a record can be played in its entirety, 30 years after its release shows that ANTHRAX is producing timeless music, it’s as actual today as then. Else, from a performance and sound perspective, both shows were perfect, great energy and good fun. What more do you need?

ANTHRAX setlist (Gothenburg):

01.  Intro – “Impaled”
02.  “A.I.R”
03.  “Madhouse”
04.  “Evil Twin”
05.  “Medusa”
06.  “Blood Eagle Wings”
07.  “Fight 'Em Til You Can't”
08.  “Breathing Lightning”
09.  “Be All, End All”
10.  “Intro”
11.  “Among The Living”
12.  “Caught In A Mosh”
13.  “One World”
14.  “I Am The Law”
15.  “A Skeleton In The Closet”
16.  “N.F.L”
17.  Guitar Solo
18.  “Adi / Horror Of It All”
19.  “Indians”
20.  “Imitation Of Life”
21.  “Antisocial”

ANTHRAX setlist (Copenhagen):

01.  “Intro”
02.  “Among The Living”
03.  “Caught In A Mosh”
04.  “One World”
05.  “I Am The Law”
06.  “A Skeleton In The Closet”
07.  “N.F.L”
08.  Guitar Solo
09.  “A.D.I / Horror If It All”
10.  “Indians”
11.  “Imitation Of Life”
12.  “Fight 'Em ‘Til You Can’t”
13.  “Madhouse”
14.  “Blood Eagle Wings”
15.  “Breathing Lightning”
16.  “Antisocial”

ANTHRAX (Gothenburg)

Anthrax @ Pustervik, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Anthrax @ Pustervik, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Anthrax @ Pustervik, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Anthrax @ Pustervik, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Anthrax @ Pustervik, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Anthrax @ Pustervik, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Anthrax @ Pustervik, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Anthrax @ Pustervik, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Anthrax @ Pustervik, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Anthrax @ Pustervik, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Anthrax @ Pustervik, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Anthrax @ Pustervik, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Anthrax @ Pustervik, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Anthrax @ Pustervik, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Anthrax @ Pustervik, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Anthrax @ Pustervik, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Anthrax @ Pustervik, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Anthrax @ Pustervik, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Anthrax @ Pustervik, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Anthrax @ Pustervik, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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ANTHRAX (Copenhagen)

Anthrax @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Anthrax @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Anthrax @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Anthrax @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Anthrax @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Anthrax @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Anthrax @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Anthrax @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Anthrax @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Anthrax @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Anthrax @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Anthrax @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Anthrax @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Anthrax @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Anthrax @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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