Anthrax: Palatrussardi, Milan

DROKK ‘TIL YOU DROP

MAYBE IT’S the beer, maybe it’s the lack of local talent, or perhaps it’s in defiance of the armed militia standing guard outside, but this has to be the wildest audience Anthrax have drawn all year.

The fifty square feet in front of the stage are nothing but a blur, a rolling ocean of leather, hair and waving, punching arms, shifting away from the stage and then crashing back almost immediately. Wonders will never cease — Italy knows how to mosh!

But if anyone can get an audience fired up, Anthrax can. They move, they dance, they laugh, they openly, genuinely enjoy. The sound may be heavy but the Anthrax vibe is a fresh breeze of friendliness, and people are beginning to realise that Anthrax means party means good time.

“In Moshing We Trust” reads a hand-painted banner that guitarist Scott ‘Not’ Ian picks up from the stage and hangs over his amps, before launching into his loopy wardance for the intro of ‘Indians’.

With their third LP Among The Living, Anthrax mined an undiscovered seam of the th**sh genre, a rich recipe of galloping drums, harmonising guitars and relevant lyrics, an integral part of the structure rather than an excuse to be moronically sexist and violent.

Singer Joe Belladonna shouts a message in Italian and the crowd show their gratitude by pushing themselves to the limit during a rollercoasting ‘Madhouse’. Bassist Frank Bello and Scott Ian race across the stage towards each other, passing in the middle before turning and dashing back again in a move worthy of the Red Arrows. In fact Anthrax are all over the place most of the time, their legs charged with every beat of the shiny new speed metal hybrid that careers from the speakers.

The UK chart hit ‘I Am The Law’ (with its chorus of “Drokk it!”) was perfect, Anthrax not only shaking the foundations and thrilling 4,000-odd people, but doing it with a memorable, hummable tune.

This is a five-headed beast with a very rosy future in front of it. Metal has never been so hard, fast and frantic and so accessible and inviting as it is in the hands of Anthrax, an incurable disease if ever I heard one.

© Neil PerrySounds, 7 November 1987

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