January 29, 2018
RICHMOND, Va — The second leg of the Killthrax Tour steamrolled through The National in Richmond last Sunday, leaving many necks sore and ears ringing on Monday morning. The Killthrax namesake comes from an amalgamation of the names of the co-headlining bands Anthrax and Killswitch Engage. The two popular metal bands first toured together under the Killthrax tour moniker during the spring of 2017 with The Devil Wears Prada as the opening act. For the second leg of the tour however, thrash fans were delighted to see Colorado-based thrash band Havok had been tapped as the opener.
Havok kicked things off with a bang and played a blistering set of a old and new songs. Songs from Havok’s latest offering, 2017’s Conformicide, were particularly well received with the crowd. Bassist Nick Schendzielos(Job For A Cowboy, Cephalic Carnage) showcased his extraordinary ability to switch between break-neck thrash riffs and funk driven slap-bass lines with equal precision and style. When talking to Havok vocalist/guitarist David Sanchez about where thrash metal is going, he sees a thriving future. As older-bands like Slayer start to throw in the towel, it leaves the door open for new-school thrash bands like Havok to carry the torch on for the next generation. If Havok continues to make uncompromising records like Conformicide, I see a bright future for thrash as well.
Killswitch Engage, while not necessarily a thrash band, had no problem moving a room full of headbangers of all ages. Since their first demo in 1999, Killswitch Engage has been churning out their Massachusetts blend of hardcore, thrash, and melodic death metal to fans across the globe. Killswitch has that unique ability to turn the crowd into a mosh frenzy one minute and the next have the entire room singing along in unison to their classic anthems. Killswitch never lets the energy down on stage, every member gave 110% throughout their blitzkrieg set. After seeing the band three different times now, I can honestly say I would go see them again in a heartbeat.
Anthrax had some tough acts to follow, but the veteran thrashers showed why they’ve lasted the test of time. Anthrax came out and laid waste to the crowd of hungry headbangers. The New York thrashers played a classic set with only a couple new songs sprinkled in. Classics like “Caught in a Mosh,” “Indians” and “Madhouse” sounded just a fresh and heavy as ever. Though the band has been around since ‘82, they proved that they’ve not only stood the test of time, but they also aren’t going anywhere. While other bands from their era are slowing down or calling it quits, Anthrax shows no signs of stopping. The inventors of the New York stomp will continue to deliver great shows to their metal thrashing mad fans across the globe. Seeing these three great bands on a Sunday night was the perfect end to the weekend and start to the week. It beats staying home and watching the predictable and meaningless TV programs on that night, like the Pro-Bowl and the Grammy Awards.