The other night at The Rave, I had the experience of being up close and personal with 4 of the biggest metal bands in the last 30 years. It brought me back to a day where I was a skater listening to these bands and hitting the ramps and think, “God I need to play that type of music”.
Needless to say, I’m writing the story. Not to worry, it was still an eye opening experience.
On a beautiful day in Milwaukee, we saw the crowd build quickly, like a storm of sorts. A great night out for fans of extreme metal began with the opening band Napalm Death.
Napalm Death cracked open that sky at The Rave. For an opening set, their slabs of vicious sounding metal were welcomed by those who had gathered in attendance early to see all of the bands. The fact that Napalm Death remain such a crushing live force is a true testament to them as one of the most underappreciated but at the same time legendary bands to ever come of the UK.
Testament was next. In a moment, the sky fell. It was time for American Thrash Metal behemoths Testament to create a sonic downpour. Everyone had realized who the gods are in speed metal at this point. It's amazing to see the vast age group in the crowd as I looked on from the rail. From ages 10 to 60 it was apparent that Testament brought generations together. Playing “Brotherhood of the Snake”, “The Preacher, “The New Order” and more, the fans became electric.
Then, my all time favorite set the stage. It's not like they didn't miss a beat since the days of “Madhouse”, “Among the Living”, “Indians” and “Persistence of Time”. They open to an instrumental tribute to the Abbot's; Dimebag and Vinnie Paul. Then the opening chords of “Among The Living” rang out. It became clear that they weren’t here to joke around. Sandwiched in the middle slot on the bill, the co-headlining set up only gave them about 85 minutes to attempt to win the night. It turns out that was plenty of time. Anthrax puts out more energy on stage than bands that are half of their age and the setlist was a murderer’s row of legendary classics with two newer songs thrown in to remind people that this is not a nostalgia act. “Caught In A Mosh”, “Got The Time”, and “Madhouse” kept the crowd’s energy at a peak. “Fight ’em Till You Can’t” and “Breathing Lightning” showed off two of band’s more recent compositions and they fit seamlessly in the set full of otherwise vintage material. “Medusa” was up next and it gave Joey Belladonna an opportunity to show that he can still hit the notes that he did in his 20’s. In my opinion, Joey’s vocals have always been the key ingredient that separates Anthrax from the rest of The Big Four.
Now for the main course, Lamb of God. It was my first time seeing them, but the experience was everlasting. The lead singer, Randy Blythe, had the audience trapped in his grips. As they performed their set, the energy they put into their stage show is outstanding. Randy moves around that stage like a deranged animal high on the last kill. He has such intensity on stage, that he almost becomes possessed by metal demons . After the albums, tours all over the world these rockers know what they’re doing and how to bring it to us. And they did just that with a set that consisted with the thrilling openers, with everyone in the group flying around the stage like lunatics it was epic to watch.
As a fan of metal, and as long as I’ve lived in this deranged family, I felt it was another reunion of sorts. Melting my face off as usual, thank you gentlemen.