Sonisphere 2014: Anthrax

The thrashers come to Knebworth

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In the first of Anthrax's performances this weekend they play Among The Living in full. This is what went down...

Next to hit the Bohemia stage are thrash giants Anthrax, playing their seminal album Among The Living in full ahead of their set on the main stage tomorrow afternoon. The anticipation of their return is evident from the sheer volume of people piling into the tent - swarms of metalheads are positively spilling out onto the grass, excitement bubbling over. With one of the biggest thrash bands in the world playing the record that’s undoubtedly a favourite among their fans, it was always going to be something special. And from the moment they break into the title track they invoke chaos. The charisma and energy of frontman Joey Belladonna, as he climbs all over the place and urges the fans on, is instantly infectious, and he never stops engaging with the crowd throughout the set.

Live classics Caught In A Mosh and A Skeleton In The Closet cause havoc, while the belligerent Scott Ian stops the music during Indians in order to berate the crowd into banging their heads. “That’s not a war dance!” he roars, and they get everyone moving. As they move into Side B they take a trip down memory lane and wonder aloud if the Knebworth crowd will join them: “This is a test,” jokes Scott, “to see how many of you actually know the fucking record.”

After a healthy dose of nostalgia in the form of One World (“when we actually thought our lyrics would make a difference”), they rip through album closer Imitation of Life before finishing with a manic version of I Am The Law that makes everyone lose their shit completely. Few bands have that one record that could bear being played in full in a live, let alone a festival setting, but Anthrax have a true classic in Among The Living, and it shows.