One of the most highly anticipated heavy metal tours of early 2017, The KillThrax Tour, featuring a co-headlining bill of thrash royalty Anthrax and metalcore titans Killswitch Engage
The ‘Killthrax’ tour, featuring Killswitch Engage and Anthrax, kicked off at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, N.J. On Thursday (April 20), they made their way to Tempe, AZ to take over Marquee Theatre.
Any lineup featuring the two aforementioned metal heroes would be more than enough to fill most music halls to capacity with rabid headbangers, however, the KillThrax tour also includes rising metalcore outfit The Devil Wears Prada & Code Orange. The night drew a packed house with an audience spread across generations, as one could plainly see the diverse crowd of old and new metal heads. All four bands delivered high energy sets.
Anthrax delivered the most compelling show of the night. The selection of songs was immaculate, for lack of better word, with hits from yesteryears “Among the Living”, and “Madhouse”. I consider “Evil Twin” and “Blood Eagle Wings” as two of the finest songs Anthrax have ever composed, and Joey Belladonna with his cohort delivered it to perfection. Frank Bello is a monstrous ball of energy, and Scott Ian was as expressive during his guitar play as ever, with the instrument as well as stage presence. Joey Belladonna, with the microphone in his hands was effervescent, stopping not only once to interact with the crowd in front, but as well as those in the upper balconies.
Ian, Bello, and Belladona were whirling dervishes, constantly darting from stage end to stage end and up, then back down, the elevated stage platforms regularly interacting with another. When not crashing and banging into each other the band members regularly created connections with individual crowd members via more than a handful of directed nods, finger points, and the flashing of the metal horns. Belladona at one point even directly interacted with a few of the photographers.
The last act of the night was Killswitch Engage, Opening the set with the moderately paced “Hate by Design”, a track from the latest album ‘Incarnate’. The strength of Jesse Leach lies in his delivery of harsh vocals, which is aplenty in the two releases with Leach back on the vocals, following the departure of Howard Jones. Howard Jones era songs “Rose of Sharyn”, “The End of Heartache, “My Curse” etc. was also featured in the set list, and I don’t think anyone, barring Howard Jones himself, could have done a better job.
Similar to Anthrax, the boys in Killswitch Engage Leach (vocals), D’Antonio (bass), Dutkiewicz (guitar), Josh Stroetzel (guitar), and Justin Foley (drums) have spent their entire career creating long standing bonds with their fan base. Thus when attending one of their surreal live shows most fans don’t just come away feeling as though they’ve spent a few hours at a concert. Instead upon existing the most fans probably feel as though they’ve spent some a couple of hours with their best friends, who also just so happen to be in a kick ass metal band.
As the final notes of “Holy Diver” echoed throughout The Marquee many headbangers, weary from hours of well, head banging, were doing something that isn’t necessarily associated with the world of heavy metal, they were smiling. Head banging, smiling, and beyond unreal live metal performances, that’s what our friends in Anthrax and Killswitch Engage are all about.
Killswitch Engage setlist: