Casting a beady eye over the albums that shaped the soundtrack to our Ghost Cult Albums Of The Year List for 2016, one thing becomes obvious… there are no dominant stylistic trends, no bandwagon sub-genres, other than a plethora of bands looking to push boundaries, whether that is to create new sounds or to refine and redesign. Intelligence, integrity and progression is king, and challenging and interesting approaches to designing and creating music are prevalent, with the deconstruction and cerebral reconstruction of heavy music an ongoing and fascinating development.Continue reading →
Anthrax has dropped a new single at rock radio for their acoustic rendition of their recent album track ‘Breathing Lightning’. In support of Black Friday’s Record Store Day (November 25), Anthrax will release a limited-edition 7-inch single Monster At The End pressed onto lilac and gold spatter vinyl (Megaforce) for the tracks ‘Monster At The End” and ‘Vice of the People’. Continue reading →
New York thrash legends Anthrax have booked a headline tour of the UK for next winter. They have announced they will play all of their classic Among The Living (Island Records) album in its entirety on the dates to celebrate 30 years since its release. Continue reading →
Anthrax, along with Death Angel, have spent the better part of the last 2 months on the road-supporting and pumping up their new album For All King’s (Megaforce) and as well as supporting their brothers in metal crime the almighty Slayer. But what is a thrash metal band suppose to do once a Big 3 metal assault across the USA comes to an end? Grab Death Angel and do it some more… And that’s what Anthrax set out to do. Continue on and melt the faces of more metal heads!Continue reading →
Anthrax have released a new video for their new single, ‘Monster At The End’. The innovative clip was helmed by director Jack Bennett and can be seen at this link at Fangoria.com or below:
Jack Bennet discusses his concept for the video: shot with four still photographers placed strategically on a Florida set while the five members of Anthrax performed the track live while he shot with the entire video with Super Sharp HD video still cameras. Each photographer would hold down his camera’s shutter button continuously for the near-four minute-long song, capturing a steady stream of hundreds of still images.
“Hey, it might have been a great idea, but holding down the shutter button on a still camera for that long a time? All we would have ended up with were four jammed cameras!”
“Video shutter speeds are faster and more reliable than anything we could have done manually, and we wanted as big a pool of still images to choose from as we could get.”
In post-production, Bennett went through the footage frame by frame and hand-picked the still images he wanted to animate – hundreds of them. Rather than print the video at 24 frames per second, he animated movement of the band members using the still images, creating a jagged, crude motion. “We didn’t want fluidity, we wanted the video to have more of a comic book feel to it, like flipbook animation.”
Bennett and his crew went one step further, taking a cue from the legendary Walt Disney animators of the 1920s and 1930s, who used the technique of rotoscoping, the art of painstakingly hand-painting individual cels to embellish a primary image.
Employing the fundamentals of rotoscope, Bennett has peppered the video with monsters, tattoos that come alive, explosions, popping eyeballs, speech bubbles, morphed images, and nods to the influence of ‘Creepshow.’ There’s even a frame or two of The Skull King, the evil character from Anthrax’s ‘Blood Eagle Wings’ music video that Bennett also directed. Actor Justin Michael Terry, who played The Skull King, is The Runner in ‘Monster At The End.’
“We used a lot of stop-motion effects as well as other special and visual effects in the same way as was done in the original Exorcist film. “We even added a little bit of grain, some dust and some scratches just to give it that analog feel.”
Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante commented:
‘The Monster at the End’ video takes us back to our love of comics and horror. We’ve always loved the ‘Creepshow’ movies and wanted something like that for this video. Jack is easy to work with, all we did was perform the song, he did the real work with the editing and achieving the look that we wanted.
Anthrax is touring behind their recent release For All Kings (Megaforce/Nuclear Blast). After headlining in Europe and playing festivals the band will return to the USA this fall with Slayer and Death Angel.
After a wobbly Saturday morning start, Akercocke carried on from where they left off a few years ago, improving and gaining/regaining fans as they went along. Rotting Christ sounded fantastic, The King is Blind completely owned the second stage for forty brutal minutes, and Fear Factory treated the crowd to all of 1995’s Demanufacture album while singer Burton C Bell tried his best to keep his voice from cracking. Paradise Lost played a set filled with heavier material, and Gojira stunned the majority of the audience with a set that not even headliners Mastodon could come close to touching. A typically eclectic set, the Atlantan four-piece struggled to get any momentum going, and even with the aid of some fancy video screens, only occasionally showed signs of being genuine headliners. A new version of old UK thrashers Acid Reign also managed to steal Mastodon’s thunder all the way from the second stage, playing one of the fastest and most enjoyable thrash sets of the festival while singer, ‘H’, looked resplendent in his shocking pink suit and top hat.
Gojira, photo credit Bloodstock Open Air on Facebook
And so to Sunday, and to the wonders of Ghost Bath. Only possessing the vaguest of knowledge about this band, I was simply unprepared for the next forty highly confusing (and occasionally eye-wateringly funny) minutes. Imagine a Black Metal band fronted by the shrieking goat from YouTube and you’d have a good idea of what I witnessed that morning.
Although the pedigree of the members of Metal Allegiance is not in question, I’m afraid the same cannot be said of their collective efforts. Cover version after horrible cover version was mauled and discarded, as people turned to each other in disbelief and disappointment. Playing all of 1996 album Nemesis Divina in full, Black Metallers Satyricon put in one of the performances of the weekend, even in the blazing sunshine. Finland’s Whispered took to the stage in their Japanese costumes and make-up and proceeded to win over an entire tent of confused onlookers. Technical Thrashers Vektor followed and even more people left with smiling faces. Symphony X gave everyone on the main stage plenty to sing along to, but Anthrax obliterated their memory in seconds. The last time the New York outfit played here in 2013, it was all fairly average, maybe even disappointing. But not this time. They were on fire from the second they launched into ‘You Gotta Believe’ until they left the stage to ‘Indians’. Nobody even cared that they dropped a couple of favourites in order to showcase newer material.
Anthrax, photo credit Gary Alcock
Even headliners Slayer struggled to keep up. Again, like Anthrax, it was a much improved performance from 2013, but things seemed to go a little awry in the latter stages of their set. For some reason, ‘Hell Awaits’ became an instrumental after the first chorus, and Tom’s demeanour changed from happy and smiling to fairly disinterested around the same time. Still, when they came back out for the encore of ‘South of Heaven’, ‘Raining Blood’, and ‘Angel of Death’ everything was quickly forgiven and forgotten. It was left up to New Orleans bandGoatwhore to close the weekend on the second stage, and they did so imperiously with one of the loudest, heaviest hours of the festival.
Slayer, photo credit Gary Alcock
From the almost comical amount of crowd surfers (Acid Reign alone clocked 263 in one hour – an average of over four per minute) to the spontaneous chant of “MAN IN YELLOW”, directed to one of the security staff stood on the scaffolding before Slayer, to the glorious weather and generally contagious good feeling of everyone in attendance (even a lot of the campsite toilets were still usable by the Monday morning!), there was only one place to be last week.
There were a few odd little problems, of course. Since the festival ended, a story has emerged that a girl was sexually assaulted in her tent, and the amount of moshpit idiocy seems to be on the increase again. Not, this time, from the shirtless circle-pitters and kung-fu merchants, but this time from the people who stand on the barrier all day, doing their best to punch and deliberately tear clumps of hair from any crowd surfer (male and female) unlucky enough to invade their personal space as they get dragged over the front. Making sure at all times, of course, that security have a firm hold of their target first so that they can’t retaliate.
The worst thing this year though was the repeated loop of the same bloody music videos on the big screen all weekend. When I arrived in the main arena on the Friday, I said “hey, this new Wormrot song’s great. I’ll definitely be getting the album”. By the time Saturday evening came around, I never wanted to hear fucking thing again. And as for the constant exposure to the videos of Wakrat and Blackberry Smoke, let’s just say that if I ever meet either of those bands in person, then it won’t end pleasantly for either of them.
Overall though, and yet again, Bloodstock Open Air was a roaring success.
Most bands don’t survive 35 years on luck, and if you know the history of Anthrax, you know that good fortune hasn’t always been on their side. But what they have always displayed is a ton of heart and soul, and of course the great anthems that made them one of the standard bearers of Thrash Metal. Having just celebrated the a fore mentioned anniversary date and being one of the oldest operating bands of the “The Big Four” of Thrash still making impactful new music, Anthrax has proved their staying power in their recent release For All Kings (Nuclear Blast/Megaforce). With their second new album since the return of front man Joey Belladonna’s golden voice and dynamic performance style, the band has ridden high this summer over a wave of European festivals and rare headlining shows across the continent. On this night in Madrid, Spain at the Sala Arena venue, the band stretched out in a longer show, more fitting of their own legendary high-energy gigs. Unconstrained by the shorter set time of a festival slot, the band played new songs off of For All Kings such as ‘You Gotta Believe’, ‘Monster In The End’, and ‘Evil Twin’ right along side fan favorites like ‘Caught In A Mosh’, Madhouse’, and modern classic ‘In The End’. The band showed why they are still in demand with their wild stage show, as seen in the photo set here captured by Lisa Schuchmann for Ghost Cult.
Anthrax has partnered with Best Buy to offer an exclusive physical single for the track ‘Breathing Lightening’, from the bands forthcoming new album For All Kings (Megaforce/Nuclear Blast), releasing on February 26th. You can order the track here at the Best Buy site, or find you local retailer that carries it.