They Came For Us All
Anthrax and Kill 2 This at the London Astoria, 4 July 2003
by: Jackie Smit
Having played in a band myself many moons ago, I am left wondering after Kill 2 This' lacklustre set whether I would have preferred incessant booing and jeering (not that I ever got any), as opposed to the completely oblivious deadpan stare that the audience give the Manchester metallers tonight. Underlined by the fact that Dimmu Borgir booming from the PA rouses a greater response than they manage to do for the duration of their entire set, Kill 2 This could very probably have stayed in for the evening and saved themselves the trouble.

To be fair, their set starts off well -- satisfyingly heavy, tightly played hardcore. However it is when tracks off K2T's atrocious new record, _mass.[down]-sin(drone)_ are aired that things go horribly awry. Seemingly desperate to win over the mainstream herd, their cleanly sung, overlong doldrums are a far cry from the promising potential of their earlier aggro-core. Tracks like "Circles" and "Frame by Frame" literally have punters yawning and ultimately the only truly great idea they implement this evening is to end their stint shortly after the first projectiles start hitting the stage.

Anthrax, on the other hand, can virtually do no wrong. Touring on the back of arguably their strongest recording since _Sound of White Noise_ -- and certainly one of the better "comebacks" of 2003 -- they immediately fill the venue with a sense of triumph as they kick into the gear with a face-rippingly heavy rendition of "What Doesn't Die". They may be twenty-year veterans of the metal scene, but they perform with the exuberance and unbridled enthusiasm of a young act who've been given their first big break -- bassist Frank Bello being a particularly impressive sight as he relentlessly hurls himself across the stage, never remaining static for even a second. Drawing a highly fan-friendly setlist from their vast back catalogue, older songs like "Caught in a Mosh" and "NFL" appear to have aged very gracefully, even if they prove how juvenile the Anthrax lyrical prowess was in their formative years. Newer tunes like the forthcoming Keanu Reeves-endorsed "Safe Home" and "Black Dahlia" also go down a storm, but it is (somewhat surprisingly) the dual pairing of "Bring the Noise" and "I'm the Man" that most definitely causes the decidedly old-school crowd to wreak havoc on the Astoria floor.

Unfortunately not all is perfect tonight, however: a cringingly out-of-tune guitar causes the intensely atmospheric "Black Lodge" to sound very confused, and of course there's always the matter of favourites left unaired. But, as I'm sure the sweat-drenched mass that makes their exit at 22:30 to make way for (in Scott Ian's words) "the gay camp attack" will attest, tonight's show provides ample proof that Anthrax are miles away from running out of steam anytime soon.

(article submitted 18/7/2003)


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