This year, the New York-based thrash metal band Anthrax turns 40.
Over the last two months on their YouTube channel they’ve been releasing a retrospective on their career with interviews with band members, producers, friends and metalheads across the globe. As I understand it they have 40 of these in the pipeline. So far we’ve reached episode 22 which has taken us to 2003 and probably my favourite Anthrax albums, We’ve Come For You All. I saw them live twice on that tour.
This evening (morning UK-time), they celebrated the event with a live stream event with a nearly 2 hours 15 minutes concert spanning most of their entire 40-year, 12-studio album career. (Typically, their John Bush era material was disappointingly missing.)
Today would have been the 59th birthday of legendary Metallica bass player, Clifford Lee Burton.
Cliff tragically lost his life on 27 September 1986, aged only 24 years, in a bus crash in Sweden while Metallica were promoting their Master of Puppets album. I once had a poor quality bootleg recording of his final concert at the Solnahallen Arena in Stockholm, Sweden on 26 September 1986.
I’ll be spending the day listening to the first three Metallica albums, Kill ‘Em All, Ride the Lightning, and Master of Puppets as well as various early live recordings.
New song from the forthcoming album VII: Sturm und Drang (which means storm and stress, apparently.)
It’s really different from anything they’ve done before. Randy is singing clean vocals for the first time, and Willy has cut his hair.
But do you know what? Unsurprisingly, I really like it. It has a kind of Slipknot/Stone Sour vibe to it. I know there will be those who say that they’ve sold out and gone soft, but I’m glad Lamb of God are mixing things up a little, it makes things interesting.
Yesterday was a particularly sad day for me. Not only did I attend a memorial event for our friend and former neighbour Ian McKie (I’ll write more about that at a later date, once I’ve processed the news a bit more), but I also learned of the death of Slayer guitarist and songwriter Jeff Hanneman.
The first time I heard Slayer was in a church basement in Whitley Bay. The album was Reign In Blood, which is still regarded by many as the definitive thrash metal album. The album was released in October 1986 and as I was on a Borders Scripture Union summer camp I guess it must have been 1987.
Slayer was the first metal band I saw in concert, at the Edinburgh Playhouse in 1988, promoting their South of Heaven album; Nuclear Assault were the support act.
Jeff Hanneman suffered a spider bite in 2011, which resulted in a condition called necrotizing fasciitis, a rare and horrible flesh-eating disease which almost immediately put his life at risk. As was reported on the Slayer website recently,
for a couple of days after he went to the ER, things were touch-and-go. There was talk that he might have to have his arm amputated, and we didn’t know if he was going to pull through at all. He was in a medically-induced coma for a few days and had several operations to remove the dead and dying tissue from his arm. So, understand, he was in really, really bad shape. It’s been about a year since he got out of the hospital, and since then, he had to learn to walk again, he’s had several painful skin grafts, he’s been in rehab doing exercises to regain the strength in his arm. (Source)
Despite his rehab reportedly going well, and making an appearance at The Big Four show at Coachella in 2011, Hanneman never rejoined Slayer in a full time capacity. His place in the band was filled on tour by Exodus guitarist Gary Holt.
Sadly, the news broke yesterday that he had died from liver failure, although it was made clear on some reports that as yet there is no clear indication whether this was directly related to the spider bite.
This is the news currently on the Slayer website:
Slayer is devastated to inform that their bandmate and brother, Jeff Hanneman, passed away at about 11AM this morning [Thursday, May 2] near his Southern California home. Hanneman was in an area hospital when he suffered liver failure. He is survived by his wife Kathy, his sister Kathy and his brothers Michael and Larry, and will be sorely missed. (Source)