Anthrax @ Starland Ballroom (6/3/2005)

Logo - Anthrax

Artist: Anthrax
Venue: Starland Ballroom – NJ
Opener: unsigned band
Label: Sanctuary Records
Date: 6/3/2005
Genre: Heavy Metal

Reunion Shows. The premise almost seems to lose its special sense when find yourself hearing about reunion after reunion of bands that had little or no impact on music or get faced with an astronomical fee to see such a performance. In any event none of these scenarios would be the case tonight. For this evening, on a rainy June night the 1985 lineup of Anthrax, quite possibly the most influential Thrash Metal bands in Heavy Metal history would take to the stage once more. Yes, you are reading this correctly as once again would Scott Ian, Charlie Benante, Frankie Bello, Dan Spitz and Joey Belladonna be joined as one unit to pull out all of the stops for their ardent fans. Starland Ballroom would be the place for the show, and I have continually enjoyed attending gigs at this venue. There are so many places to potentially stand and get a great visual of the bands and the sound system always seems good to me. I feel this would not have worked in Roseland Ballroom for it’s difficult to see if you are not immediate front. This event was sold out almost immediately and honestly that is a nice show of support of these guys from New York. I got myself a good position which was tough due to the capacity crowd and from this vantage point I got to safely review the activity from the ever swelling mosh pit. I briefly was able to catch up with Jack Frost of Seven Witches and D.D. Verni of Overkill. These guys were milling about and checking in with their friends and fans as everyone got set to witness a killer set by Anthrax. This show would be the first official performance of the tour and they would also be filming it for a soon to be released DVD. As a result everyone in the club was now taking part in something twice as historic. In front of the stage the screen had an image saying “welcome to the idiot convention”. Clearly Anthrax had not lost an ounce of their sense of humor in the twelve years that this lineup had been together.
Continue reading Anthrax @ Starland Ballroom (6/3/2005)

“Transformation” by Alex Skolnick Trio

Artist: Alex Skolnick Trio
Title: “Transformation”
Label: Magnatude Records
Release Date: 9/14/2004
Genre: Jazz
Rating: 8/10

Guitarist Alex Skolnick has returned with another unique CD that takes well-known Heavy Metal standards and converts them into jazz compositions. Many will immediately recognize Mr. Skolnick from his stellar guitar work in Testament years ago as well as his work with Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s East Cost touring company. At first listen you might not recognize some of the tunes until a signature riff or key chord comes into play. I admit that even I took additional listens to it making sure I was in the mode of what the group was trying to deliver. This is really a well-done piece and the level of musicianship from Alex alone makes it worth picking up. While I am not a scholar of the jazz guitar, it certainly shows the skill Alex has and he really placed some effort into making this an interesting CD.
Continue reading “Transformation” by Alex Skolnick Trio

“The Imbuing” by Gizmachi

Artist: Gizmachi
Title: “The Imbuing”
Label: Sanctuary Records/Big Orange Clown
Release Date: 5/3/2005
Genre: Nu-Metal
Rating: 6.5/10

Gizmachi have the distinct honor of being the first act signed to new label Big Orange Clown. This label is not only a subdivision of Sanctuary Records, but it is also under the watchful eye of M. Shawn Crahan who is most noted for his role as Clown #6 of Slipknot. Crahan had a heavy hand in the production of the group so you can count on it being heavy and well produced. The kick off to the CD is interesting as it blends Alice In Chains like harmonies amidst the pounding brand of metal they do. Musically there is a lot of great hooks and some interesting changes. I did not like a lot of the vocals for it falls into the growling screamer most of the time and this is done far too much these days. When singer Sean Kane uses more melody in his style it works a lot more for me. The drumwork laid down by Jimmie Hatcher is above par, lots of interesting time signatures and rolls throughout the piece.
Continue reading “The Imbuing” by Gizmachi

“Days Of Rising Doom: The Metal Opera” by Aina

Artist: Aina
Title: “Days Of Rising Doom” – Limited Edition
Label: Transmission Records
Release Date: 4/13/2004
Genre: Symphonic Metal
Rating: 8/10

I wanted to start off by saying how much I enjoyed this piece. The production is outstanding and the cast of players literally reads like a who’s who in power metal music. Luminaries (names listed below) such Michael Kiske and Tobias Sammett and many more join the core musicians who make up this CD. “Aina, Days Of Rising Doom” tells a lavish story of far away mythical lands and the obvious good versus evil with the eventual hopeful victory of good (I will not ruin the surprise here and will leave it up to you to find out more).
Continue reading “Days Of Rising Doom: The Metal Opera” by Aina

Apocalyptica @ Knitting Factory (3/15/2005)

Logo - Apocalyptica

Artist: Apocalyptica
Venue: Knitting Factory (New York, NY)
Opener: unknown
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Date: 3/15/2005
Genre: Progressive Metal

It was cold March night and I remember this fact since my Friend and I decided to come to the venue an hour earlier and freeze our asses off while someone we knew tried to find an extra ticket for the show. Inside was interesting to behold for while there was clearly an amount of Metal Heads inside there was also a large group of older folks who looked more as if they were visiting from lunch at the New York Stock Exchange. It was my guess that they people had heard that Apocalyptica performs their music with cellos that they felt it would be some sort of Classical concert instead of a new form of Progressive Metal. I did not know for sure, and was not planning on asking.
Continue reading Apocalyptica @ Knitting Factory (3/15/2005)

%d bloggers like this: