Anthrax

Music of Mass Destruction: Live From Chicago

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Music of Mass Destruction captures a December 2003 Anthrax gig at Chicago's Metro. The band definitely hits on all cylinders during Mass Destruction's audio portion -- it runs through an athletic set of classics peppered with material from 2003's We've Come for You All, led by John Bush's powerful growl and the sold-out crowd, who the singer breaks into "Old Schoolers" and "New Schoolers" in a nod to Anthrax's newfound success at active rock radio. The single "Safe Home" is made more urgent by furious crowd participation, and "Nobody Knows Anything" -- another highlight from the new record -- features the double bass cannon fire of drummer Charlie Benante. The crowd rewards his song-ending drum solo with raucous chants of "Charlie! Charlie! Charlie!" With the audience acting as a sixth man throughout, as well as the inclusion of Bush's between-song rabble-rousing, Mass Destruction avoids the energy dissipation that often befalls live albums. Scott Ian and Rob Caggiano's guitars rip, and classics like "Caught in a Mosh," the infamous Joe Jackson cover "Got the Time," and "I Am the Law" more than make up for the few brief slips into utility metal dullness (most noticeably on "Inside Out"). Mass Destruction's audio portion wisely constricts the set that appears in full on the DVD; the minor editing makes Anthrax's gut-check warfare more visceral, tightening the grooves by excising filler. This isn't a self-congratulatory or bloated-by-fame live release -- this is a high-five to the fans, devil horns back to the throng of outstretched arms. Besides including the 16-song entirety of the Metro gig (viewable from different camera angles), Mass Destruction's DVD offers bonus tracks recorded a few days later at Flint, MI's venerable metal outpost the Machine Shop. There are also extensive and creative bandmember interviews, and an interview with comic book artist Alex Ross, who worked on the album's colorful liners.

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