Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thrash of the Titans : 2001-2011 Ten Years After

Wow, 10 years have gone since the totally epic ‘Thrash of the Titans’ show was held in San Francisco on August 11, 2001.  I remember the event as well as the events that lead up to this monumental happening quite well, in fact I look back at that time rather fondly.

In July of 2001 I had taken a self-imposed hiatus from life.  At the time I was working for a big coatings company and managing Usurper.  When I left my job, all I did all day was take care of Max.  He was two years old and leaving him every morning was fucking killing me.  So all day we’d do whatever the hell we wanted to do all day and at night I’d write and take care of Usurper stuff if needed. 

Earlier in 2001 the band decided to part ways with their label at the time, Necropolis Records and it was my job to find a new one.  By Summer I was in talks with two labels, one of them daily, trying to figure out a way to get a deal done ASAP. 10 years later at least I can say I did it, but I don’t miss that bullshit one bit.  I still have the Earache contract the band eventually signed, it’s like 60 pages long, filled with so much bullshit it’d make you sick.

The news of Chuck’s Cancer didn’t do too much to me.  Yeah, of course it was a shame, but I was in a different head space then.  At the time it felt like if I couldn’t see you or if I didn’t truly care about you, I couldn’t give a fuck about you.  No middle ground, that’s just the way it was.  But it was strange that another Metal musician named Chuck had been stricken by this illness in a relatively short amount of time.   Not long after Chuck Billy announced his illness his friends put together a benefit show. It was decided that all monies would be split between the Billy and Schuldiner families.   It was a good thing and you know what?  The show went down in history…

I was honored to cover the show for two magazines. Terrorizer from the UK and Unrestrained! from Canada ran my reviews and I was chuffed as fuck to have my writing in Terrorizer for the first time.  Looking back I’m not entirely impressed with the writing.  Bad punctuation and other shit that makes me cringe a bit, as it should!  I hope we’re all a little better at something a decade later, eh?  Having more work in print via Unrestrained! was also nothing short of a thrill.  I respected the hell out of the original U!Crew and shared many a drink with them.  Adrian left us a few years ago, the Metal world lost a good one there.

So I’m not going to re-review the show, no way.  But I will give a run down as if I were reviewing the show today.

Sadus: Still remember them being “on,” Steve D of course nailed it. Drummer Jon Allen I think was jamming with Testament at the time so he was loose. He was a fucking monster on the kit all day and night long.  TOTT was a good day for drummer watching, off to a great start.

Forbidden: I was never the biggest Forbidden fan.  Didn’t like it at the time and not crazy about them today either.  I think their brand new album, ‘Omega Wave’ is the best thing they’ve ever done.  Their songwriting finally caught up with their abilities, good shit.  Ten years ago though?  Yeah, they were good.  I make mention of Tim Calvert joining the band on stage and then Paul Bostaph takes over on drums?  Still good memories.  The band had been out of commission for several years before reuniting and recording the aforementioned ‘Omega Wave’.

Exodus: I could have been a bit more honest in regards to Exodus.  But seeing as it wasn’t my magazine I didn’t want to start calling people out, you know?  But looking back, fuck they were sloppy and yeah, a bit of a mess but they still had that balls-out/chaotic Exodus vibe.  Set-list was cool, nothing more to really say. This was one of Paul Baloff’s last gigs and six months later he’d be gone.

Death Angel: For the same reasons I mention in the reviews, this was a real release of emotion and aggression.  This was the first time the band had performed as Death Angel in 11 years.  Their set was electrifying; it remains one of my favorite live sets from any band any where.  They played a great selection of songs covering all their releases to date. They were well rehearsed and really made an impact.  Their “reunion” continues to this day.

S.O.D.: Killed It.

Anthrax: Same thoughts now as then. “Gung-Ho” with John Bush.  Other than that the usual set-list they still play to this day.  They were going strong and totally fucked up by playing “Bring Tha Noize” at a Thrash Metal Revival.  Seriously, I’ll never forget how disappointed I was.

Vio-Lence: Amazingly good.  Still after all this time, they destroyed like no other band that day or night.  Vio-Lence were 90% of the reason I attended this show to begin with and they made it more than worth it.  They crushed and conquered, it was fucking awesome. Remember the rumours of Jason Newsted playing Bass for Vio-Lence for this show if Deen Dell couldn't? Check out the ‘Eternal Nightmare’ reissue with the live record from December 2001. 

Legacy/Testament: This was a fun set, a lot of inter band changes from John Tempesta to Derrick Ramirez to Zetro to Steve D from Sadus. All jammed early Testament songs including “Reign Of Terror!” Chuck Billy guests at the very end on "Into the Pit", great end to a great show.  Testament has returned and are currently writing a new record.