It was less than two months ago that Anthrax and Testament were in Dallas opening for Slayer. The bands are still playing the second leg of that tour, but took advantage of a “day off” to return to Dallas for much needed longer sets. The Dallas crowd was certainly happy for the bands quick return to our great city. The Gas Monkey was packed.
Following an opening set from locals Shattered Sun, Napalm Death took the stage. On the first leg of the Slayer tour, Behemoth was part of the line-up. On the second leg, Napalm Death has taken their spot, equally determined to melt faces. Playing 12 songs across half a dozen albums, and closing with a timely cover of “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” by the Dead Kennedy’s, the band was in top form. Tracks like “Silence is Deafening,” “Scum,” and “When All is Said and Done” churned the mosh pit and frightened some of the Gas Monkey’s security. It was hilarious and completely awesome.
Testament played for about a half-hour when they were here with Slayer. Needless to say, their fan base was salivating for the longer set. The band always delivers and didn’t let anyone down. Their set was largely comprised of songs from The New Order and their most recent release Brotherhood of the Snake. But, the deep cuts from 1994’s Low and the title track from Practice What You Preach seemed to get the biggest reaction from the fans. Guitarists Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson were flawless, drummer Gene Hoglan (his first set of the night) was thunderous as always, and front man Chuck Billy led the band and the crowd through a truly blistering set.
A headlining set is always welcomed from Anthrax as they seem to constantly be a supporting act when they come through town. The bands set drew heavily from their classic album Among the Living. Fan favorites, like “Caught in a Mosh,” the title track, and “I Am the Law” seem to never grow old. It helps that the band is as great as ever when it comes to live performance. Vocalist Joey Belladonna still sounds amazing. Indeed, the best singer of the Big Four thrash bands, Belladonna hits all the right notes – all while interacting with the fans and constantly pulling picks off his guitar players mic stands and tossing them to the crowd. Of course, Scott Ian has as much fun performing live as anyone. It’s an energy that grows infectious and spreads to the crowd like wildfire. Bassist Frank Bello is equally compelling as he never holds still while holding down the low end. Testament drummer Gene Hoglan filled in for Charlie Benante on this night and admirably filled his shoes. It was also great to hear some deep cuts, like “Medusa” from the Spreading the Disease album. A song each from For All Kings and Worship Music were included, and of course “Antisocial” – a song that always galvanizes a crowd of sweaty metal heads.
If you get a chance to catch these guys between Slayer dates, don’t miss it. Of course, you won’t be disappointed seeing them open for Slayer, but the longer sets let them stretch out and dive deeper into their respective catalogs.
– J. Kevin Lynch (words); DeLisa McMurray (photos)
– click to enlarge photos –