When the combination of solid sound come together from Killswitch and Anthrax it brings forth the metal frayed edges of forged elements, that have been created in the hot furnace of metalcore. Any night, any venue in any town the true solidified art of what metalcore does comes bleeding and oozing from the primordial depths of these two stalwartly true tricksters of metaldom bands. Without any false pretenses, it is a delivery blessed by the gods of metal from ages past, present, and future. Their fans know it and let's face it... they known it as well.
This wicked combination has produced a tour-fest called, Killthrax, as it was announced back in December of 2016. Within the masterful mix The Devil Wears Prada stamped their notable union and upon this date for Phoenix, Arizona at the Marquee Theatre the Killthrax Tour (which could be dubbed the KillThrillThrax Tour easily) presented all the facets of metal by staging Anthrax's old school metal, which the fans went nuts over, to the New Wave of American Heavy Metal being represented by Killswitch Engage and The Devil Wears Prada along with Code Orange mixing in their own sanctified edge. KillThrax is a total of 27 dates in North America alone and it is all being welcomed with eager, metal banging heads of fans.
Although Code Orange and The Devil Wears Prada did open for the Killthrax Tour, unfortunately, I was unable to get into the venue for them, due to a mix-up at the box office. However, the staff at the Marquee Theatre are always quick and efficient in figuring things out and I was able to catch just the last bit of TDWP for a few shots. It was quite evident though by observing the tightly packed venue that these fans were well under way- from the packed standing room floor all the way up to the tightly bound balcony- that both opening bands were just the right bit of fire that lit this metal room to life.
As Anthrax bounded the stage the crowd and the band seemed to merge. What was band and what was the crowd... you almost could not tell. They joined forces and blurred the edge of metal worship.
Anthrax wasted no time as they bust open the gut and covered "The Number of the Beast" (Iron Maiden) and an incredible rendition of Otis Redding's tune "I Can't Turn You Loose." Right from the start lead vocalist Joey Belladonna worked the fans. The audience was as much a part of Anthrax as they were of themselves. Joey reached out, taunted fans with guitar picks, flashed his wicked smile, leaned out of over the crowds and shared the mic has he leaned the stand over the crowd and the fans sang along with him.
Not to be undersold in the showmanship department, guitarist Frank Bello, was just as much of a livewire, along with his excellent execution of his thrash metal guitar playing this combo of metal-rama was just what the right prescription delivery. What better way to end their set than with their version of "Long Live Rock n Roll" by Rainbow? You know what? There wasn't a better way and it was a perfect ending to a energized set.
It would be an almost thirty-minute stage change before Killswitch Engage would hit the stage and the crowd did grow a little restless as things got set up. They were not disappointed and the wait was well worth it as the lights dimmed and the venue grew dark... KsE walked on ready to give and the audience was just as eager to give back to them as well.
Killswitch Engage's latest album "Incarnate", was released in March 2016 via Roadrunner Records and followed up by an extensive tour. The fans certainly have a developed even a deeper connection with KsE as they had recently released their two-disc, Blu-ray and CD package called, "Beyond The Flames: Home Video Part II. This documentary really opens itself to KsE fans as it chronicles the return of singer Jesse Leach after nearly a decade of being apart.
You would have never known by the energy and connectivity that there had ever been any time apart, all was right here, as it always has been. KsE always delivers with keen precision. Opening their set on April 20th with "Hate By Design" they took the lead and the audience was rocked. The crowd was body surfing and KsE taunted them on to keep that energy of metal and rock at an all time high. The security guards were kept busy the whole set as they helped fans who were body surfing along toward the barricade- up and over- and through the aisle and back into the crowd to do it all over again. Something this particular venue is committed to, is you are guaranteed to be well taken care of by their staff and their security.
KsE motioned to only send their best and Jesse kept everything tight with the crowd. Justin Foley on drums is the solid foundation of KsE along with bassist Mike D'Antonio thumping the rhythm. Adam Dutkiewicz is one of the best lead guitarists in the realm of metal and if you listen to him play you can definitely learn something. All through their set and with each and every number played "The End of Heartache," "This Is Absolution," and "In Due Time" you felt the pulsating metal chompers biting down throughout their 16 song set. It felt almost natural for them to end by giving us "Holy Diver" by Dio.
This was the right mix of the perfect metals and it is a tour forged to hold any audience at any time wanting and needing more. A meal given to us by the metal-gods.