Copenhell - 2012

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

The first time I saw Anthrax was back in 2004 with John Bush on vocals, and that show kicked so much it can’t be described in a simple review (hence, there isn’t one at our site). I saw them once more that year, at a show which was equally good.
The next time I saw them was the year after, 2005, and at this point the hype was swelling over on all sides as everyone was speaking about how cool it was that original vocalist Joey Belladonna (a.k.a. Joseph Bellardini) was back in the band. Well, to make a long story short, that show blew. It just about blew as much as the other ones had rocked.
It wasn’t until 2011 that the band would see a full length release though, in Worship Music, the first full length with Belladonna since the 1990 release Persistence Of Time, and it met with mixed reviews.

Where am I going with all of this?
Well, I’m merely trying to outline why, even with the initial pleasure of seeing Anthrax on the line-up for Copenhell, I didn’t exactly get my hopes up for an undisputed success of this quarter of the Big Four.
Still, with two highly successful shows in my back by Killswitch Engage and Brutal Truth, and plenty of beer in my belly, I felt like partying, and on paper there aren’t many bands around to rival Anthrax in this enterprise.
And can you believe what happened?!
Anthrax came on, started out with the classic Caught In A Mosh off of their -87 album Among The Living, and the connection with the festival audience was immediate! As the song dictated, there was a big mosh in front of the stage, and for those not partaking in this, there was the ever effective headbanging to spend ones energy on; and energy was spent let me tell you! The sparks were literally flying back and forth between band and crowd, and both parties seemed equally ecstatic about being here. To my amazement, there was a concert unfolding in front of my eyes which even put the fond memories of the excellent Bush shows to shame!
Anthrax kept on delivering their personal brand of party thrash, and it was just what the festival needed at this early time in the program (Anthrax was the second band on the main stage the first day); not only did we get our morning exercise on in a big way, but we also got our throats tested during songs like the Trust cover Antisocial and in Anthrax’s own Madhouse (among several others of course), and in the song Indians we got a literal war-dance going all over the place.
Towards the end of the show, Anthrax wanted (just like Killswitch Engage before them) to honour the memory of Ronnie James Dio, and they did so by playing Neon Knights. Or, at least they tried, but all of a sudden all of the front sound disappeared for a while; the power of the party that was Anthrax was not to be stopped by such minor details though, as we saw both band and crowd rocking on just as hard as ever even during this period!

Honestly, I cannot say what Copenhell was putting in the backstage water this day, but with Anthrax this made for three bands in a row which had completely caught me off guard and made me fall in love with them, for the first time for some and again for others.
Sadly, the festival couldn’t keep the steam up later on, but I didn’t know that at the time as I was busy basking in the greatness that is known as the present.
If you’ve read my festival report of Copenhell, you will know that I have rated the Killswitch Engage / Brutal Truth / Anthrax triplet as the musical high-light of Copenhell, and I stand by my words. Anthrax was everything they were supposed to be, and they have completely restored my faith in them as a live act.

Setlist (incomplete):

Caught In A Mosh
Got The Time (Joe Jackson cover)
Fight ‘Em Till You Can’t
Antisocial (Trust cover)
Neon Knights (Black Sabbath cover)

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