Anthrax are one of the bands that always seem to pass me by. Obviously, I am familiar with them and have seen them live a few times, but something has never fully clicked with me before. With that said I think their last two albums ‘Worship Music’ and ‘For All Kings’ are some of their best work to date. So when I found out that they would be releasing a live album featuring cuts from both those albums alongside their classic ‘Among the Living’ played in full, I knew it would be worth investigating.
Recorded in February of last year at the Barrowlands in Glasgow, what you get here for your money is essentially two sets. The first being an eight track set largely made up of tracks from ‘Spreading the Disease’ and ‘For All Kings’ respectively. With the second set being the set made up of ‘Among the Living’. the first set offers the unique experience as you get to hear the old and new clashing together. Hearing tracks like Madhouse, A.I.R and Medusa rubbing shoulders with the newer tracks like Blood Eagle Wings, Evil Twin and even down to the lone cut from ‘Worship Music’ in Fight ’em till You Can’t is a real treat for the fans. It also shows just how impressive the newer material is when put to the test.
We all know the real draw here, however, is the ‘Among the Living’ set which does not disappoint. I know for some the trope of bands playing albums in full is a little bit done to death now. However, it is hard to argue with an on form Anthrax ripping through their finest hour before a rabid crowd. I missed out on seeing them do it at Sonisphere in 2014 and when they returned to do it on tour as well. You simply cannot argue with songs like Indians, Imitation of life, A Skeleton in the Closet, I am the Law and Caught in a mosh. All stone cold classics, and hearing them played with this intensity and passion all these years later is really something and is worth buying this set just for those alone.
The production is crisp and it sounds like a live album. Sometimes with live albums, there is the temptation to clean everything up, but in this case, while the sound is clear and of a high quality, but it still sounds live and it really pulls the listener in and gives them the live experience in their living room or wherever you choose to listen to it. In terms of live releases, this is one of the best ones I have heard recently, giving its audience two brilliant live sets including a classic album from a band that is still on the top of its game. It has also renewed my interest in Anthrax and has left me with a smile on my face and will make a welcome entry in any self-respecting metalheads collection.
Kings Among Scotland Live is out now on Nuclear Blast Records.