Friday, August 29, 2014

Anthrax-Chile On Hell (Live DVD)

Megaforce Records

Set for release on September 16, 2014, "Chile On Hell", which will be made available on both Blu-ray and DVD, is a live-in-concert release from Anthrax that was filmed at the Teatro Caupolican in Santiago, Chile on May 10, 2013. Recorded at the tail end of the "Worship Music" tour and mere weeks after the band had issued the covers EP, "Anthems", "Chile On Hell" is arguably the best representation that one can get of this thrash metal act live outside of catching one of their performances for yourself! I can confidently say that as nine months prior to the band's performance in south America I had the pleasure of catching Anthrax's set at the 2012 Mayhem Festival with an old work friend and his teenage son! On that occasion Anthrax simply smoked through classic numbers while simultaneously showing off the utter strength of their new material in a live setting. With "Chile On Hell" the band effortlessly does the exact same thing only better! Thanks to a highly energetic and enthusiastic crowd and the stellar work of guest lead guitarist Jon Donais (Shadows Fall) the "Worship Music" number "Fight 'Em 'Til You Can't" ends up having the same amount of fiery magic as early Anthrax tracks such as "Among The Living", "Caught In A Mosh" and "I Am The Love"! As he is in fine form here (sounding for all the world as good as he did the summer before hand when Rob Caggiano was still in the line-up) no over-dubs were needed in the case of Anthrax front-man Joey Belladonna. For his age (and the wear and tear that his voice has likely suffered since first joining the band in 1984!) Joey still rocks the mic duties while doing it with the same class and style that he has always been known for! Meanwhile the rest of his band-mates prove that there is still plenty of spring left in their steps. Scott Ian, who continues to be one of metal's most underrated guitarists, plays like he never ages while the rhythm section of Frank Bello (bass, backing vocals, co-lead vocals on the always appreciated "I'm The Man"!) and Charlie Benante (drums) threaten to blow the Teatro Caupolican into a billion tiny pieces! Thanks to the excellent production skills of Jay Ruston "Chile On Hell" unfolds as if you are right there. And that would be right there in the middle of one of the most intense crowds imaginable! When Anthrax rolls out the fan-favorites "I Am The Law", "Madhouse", "Indians" and "Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)" the crowd leaps to it's feet and shares the love for this long-lasting New York metal band. Scott Ian (rhyme guitar, backing vocals) and Joey Belladonna (lead vocals) fill in the pauses with friendly chatter, but you can just tell that these hungry fans were there let loose and get down as "In The End", "I'm Alive", "A Skeleton In The Closet" and "Medusa" drives everyone crazy! "Fight 'Em 'Til You Can't" shows how Anthrax still has a stake in the game while "Indians", "Madhouse" and "Caught In A Mosh" show just how far you can come while still holding firm to your humble beginnings. Meanwhile cover versions of S.O.D.'s "March Of The S.O.D.", Trust's "Antisocial' and AC/DC's "T.N.T." offer portraits of the many faces this band wears while the medley "I'm The Man / Raining Blood" pays tribute to a fallen comrade. In-between all of the original numbers and cover tracks the viewer is treated to a variety of clips from the band members themselves as well as fellow musicians, critics and friends all of whom double as fans. All in all "Chile On Hell" proves itself worthy of the Anthrax name as it shows many different facets of this long-loved band from onstage (where Scott, Joey and the rest of Anthrax simply shred through new and classic songs and covers with fire still bubbling hot in their bellies!) to off (it's cool listening to Dave Ellefson of Megadeth wax nostalgic about his favorite Anthrax song!) and it does it in a very honest and sincere way. Not once does Anthrax ever come across as anything but humble as it painfully obvious how much they love their fans and the scene which they share with Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer. While it would be easy enough to be cynical about yet another live DVD (whether from Anthrax or in general) this one definitely has more than it's fair share of positives including the fact that it is A) well-produced so that it looks and sounds spectacular! B) it offers an expansive overview of Anthrax's career so far C) it features a choice cover of "T.N.T." by AC/DC (a fave band of mine as well as Ian!) who are, alongside the Ramones and Motörhead, one band that I always appreciate getting the royal treatment! D) the small tribute that is paid to Slayer's fallen guitarist Jeff Hanneman is a nice touch and finally E) it will retail for the very reasonable price of $16.98! Yes, fans will have to wait a little while longer to purchase a copy of this excellent live-in-concert release from Anthrax, but on the plus side it will be well-worth the wait. In the meantime be sure to check out the DVD's trailer here:

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