Killthrax Tour – Skyway Theater – Minneapolis MN – February 24th 2018

You like your metal old school?  You like your metal new school?   Want to see a newer band doing metal old school?  You got all three at the Skyway Theater on Saturday Night if you braved the snow!
 Killswitch Engage I’ll admit I wasn’t too familiar with going in.  Anthrax was the draw for me, but I’d heard good things about Killswitch Engage.   Man they were fun to watch.  Who knew that I would see TWO Pizza guitars in the last six months, with guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz and Andrew W.K.’s at his First Avenue show a few months ago.
They came out on fire, with a very positive almost sing along vibe on Rose of Sharyn and Strength of Mind.  Reuniting with original lead singer Jesse Leach (much like Anthrax) lifts their energy level. The stage itself had very little production, very simple, but a ton of room for the guys to roam from one side to another.   The crowd was into it, especially judging by the action in the circle pit in the middle of Skyway.  Two big surprises for me.   I checked out their last album Incarnate before the show, but they only played two tracks from that album (“Strength” above and “Embrace the Journey… Upraised”).    Also, Joey Belladonna coming back out to honor Ronnie James Dio with “Holy Diver” at the end of the show was worth the wait!
Old school Anthrax also saw a resurgence a few years ago when they reunited with Belladonna, and have released two albums since, “Worship Music” and “For All Kings”.  Anthrax also felt the crowd was there to see the classics, playing over half their set from the first two albums with Belladonna, including four from Among the Living.  Just one each from the most recent albums. “Breathing Lightning” from For All Kings was a different mood from the rest of the set, but epic in the end.
The pit in the middle was certainly something to see on the last song “Indians”.   Belladonna and bassist Frank Bello churned it up before it hit it’s peak, when guitarist and band mascot Scott Ian screamed “WAR DANCE” at the solo in the song.   Before they left the stage, there were plenty thank you’s to the crowd, an attempted Skol Vikings from admitted Vikings fan Belladonna, and maybe the largest pop of the night when Ian announced they would see everyone when they opened for Slayer May 24th at the Armory.  They had previously been announced for the tour, but not that date in Minneapolis.
Havok was also new to me, but have been around for almost 15 years.  I was impressed.  There was a lot of love for Havok in Skyway Theater on Saturday.  Unlike the headliners, they played quite a bit of their new album “Conformicide”, released a little less than a year ago.   I got a big Exodus vibe from them, and intend to check out some of their stuff in the future.
Review by Brian Curski. Photos by Brian Curski and Richard Fisher.