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Anthrax - 'Kings Among Scotland' Live Album Review

Set 1

1. A.I.R.

2. Madhouse

3. Evil Twin

4. Medusa

5. Blood Eagle Wings

6. Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t

7. Be All, End All

8. Breathing Lightning

Set 2

1. Among The Living

2. Caught In A Mosh

3. One World

4. I Am The Law

5. A Skeleton In The Closet

6. Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)

7. A.D.I./Horror Of It All

8. Indians

9. Imitation Of Life

10. Antisocial

Has there ever been a truly great live album? Maybe a handful; ‘Live At Leeds’ The Who, ‘Live And Dangerous’ Thin Lizzy, ‘Live At The Apollo’ – James Brown, ‘Weld’ Neil Young and maybe a couple more, but live albums are often just greatest hits with clapping and cheering. Anthrax have another live album out, their seventh if you count the one shared with Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth. It is called ‘Kings Among Scotland’ because it was recorded at the iconic Barrowlands venue in Scotland in February 2017. The New York Thrash metallers were celebrating the 30th anniversary of the release of their third studio album ‘Among The Living’, a UK top twenty hit in 1987. The band played that album in its entirety in Glasgow.

This release has effectively two sets the first consists of some of the finest Anthrax songs from the bands almost 40 year career whilst set 2 is the aforementioned ‘Among The Living’. The playing throughout is immaculate as you would expect from one of the big four of Thrash, but sometimes you probably can’t beat actually being at the show. There are some incredible highlights here though, notably “A.I.R”, “Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t” and “Medusa” which capture Anthrax at their absolute peak; Joey Belladonna’s towering vocal attack and the twin guitar invasion force of Scott Ian and Jonathan Donais. My favourite tracks from the ‘Among The Living’ set are “Caught In A Mosh” and “I Am The Law” although I am left with the overwhelming feeling that you would get just as much enjoyment, if not more, by listening to the original studio album.

Whilst Anthrax clearly deserve their place in the Big 4 of Thrash Metal I think that they have always been outgunned and overshadowed by Metallica. Is that down to Metallica’s wealth or talent? I don’t know, maybe both. But Anthrax are indeed a great band, I just do not believe that this live perfunctory gig memento adds much to their legacy. This show also gets a DVD release which includes band interviews and behind the scenes footage. It may be that the film will be a better investment than just the audio. It is no shame, throughout his illustrious and star studded career even David Bowie never managed to record a classic live album. I am sure diehard Anthrax fans will disagree with me, but this is simply my opinion after all!

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Review - Bill Adamson

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