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Album Review: Kings Among Scotland – Anthrax

 

Album Review: Kings Among Scotland – Anthrax

There are venues across the globe that are legendary. Every town has a place that the locals can let loose and get amongst it. This album (and DVD) was recorded at the almost-mythological Barrowland Ballroom in Glasgow, which has become the city’s premier location to go mental since the demise of the Glasgow Apollo.

Whatever genre you like there is a story about the band that you saw there and the floor show, which is the interaction of the band and the audience. Although the TARDIS like venue only holds a little over two thousand its tunnel like setup makes it feel like you are in a seas of bodies at a festival. The plaster roof isn’t too high above you and has the feature of perspiring back onto the audience. Whether it’s the Metallica gig of 1996 where they kicked off with So What? or Satriani wandering onstage in 1990 to start that stellar career or the annual pilgrimage to SLF, the Barrowland is the venue. But let’s leave the last word to Charlie Benante who says, “Don’t be surprised if the package is vibrating and dripping with sweat when you open it……that’s how live and exciting it really is!”. That’s fair enough, because an enthusiastic night at the Barrowland is a riot in any other city.

This Spotify, DVD, vinyl (including coloured triple album) release by Anthrax has the setlist that we all dream of. It’s an upbeat two hours of hard thrash, pounding beats and the no holds barred setup that we expect from this band.

If you are a surface skimmer and want Madhouse, Caught in a Mosh, I am the law and Indians well they are all there. We would take those any day of the week but Skeleton in the Closet and Breathing Lightning are the tracks that bring this recording to life. What really stands out is that every second of this sold out gig is included. Every curse and profanity – which in Scotland we call ‘dialect’ – is included. If you catch the DVD you can see the band watch on as the crowd goes mental, and that is between songs.

The sound quality is excellent and there are no touch ups here. What you saw on the night is etched into the album. I’d go for this on vinyl because the sound quality deserves it. If you do go for the DVD it’s a super-tight edit and unlike many other recent releases there are no sound and vision synching issues – how hard can that be people? Somehow they managed to fit a shit ton of cameras into the venue and it has paid off. Also gave a few of the revellers an opportunity to go that little bit extra crazy and that comes out on the vinyl too.

Anthrax have hit their stride again since Joey came back into the fold. The two albums that followed his return and then the Chile on Hell release set the band back on a course that they have deserved since I first caught them in 1987. There is an energy here, where the band and Joey seem to be taking that second chance, probably both realising not only what they had lost, but also what they had given away. Thrashers worship the Chile release but with the 87 Donington tapes and the Kings Among Scotland you have got three of the best live albums that you’ll hear in this neck of the metal woods.

Immense album. Get the blue vinyl triple album, the neighbours will thank you for it.

Review: Craig Grant