BeatRoute Magazine is a monthly arts and entertainment paper with a predominant focus on music – local, independent or otherwise. The paper started in June 2004 and continues to provide a healthy dose of perversity while exercising rock ‘n’ roll ethics.
ANTHRAX Charlie Benante talks his band, sociopolitical volatility, and ‘Jaws’ “I worry. Every day. I have anxiety because of this. And I’m not alone.” PHOTO: TRAVIS SHINN still have the thrill to play live again and see people,” “I says Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante. “I have that kind of excitement, but I don’t know if I have a thrill for ‘the road,’ as such... That’s the crappy part! These days on tour, I don’t have as much time to myself as I once did. We all have lots to do during our day: media interviews, meet-and-greets. It takes time. I mean, read a book? Yeah, right. The days of reading a book have now dwindled down to checking e-mail, or looking online and seeing who said what about who...” he says, then laughs. “But I joke a lot.” Regardless of the rigors and the grind, Anthrax rides again, hitting the highways with metalcore stalwarts Killswitch Engage (and Havok!) on a repeat cycle of the highly successful ‘Killthrax’ tour, which smashes into Alberta via Edmonton, Calgary, and Grande Prairie. As one of Anthrax’s earliest members, Benante joined in the band in 1983, shortly before recording sessions began for their debut album ‘Fistful of Metal’. He’s been there ever since, originally establishing himself as a brilliant drummer in the burgeoning thrash-metal scene. Hailing from New York City, Anthrax were one of the few American East Coast thrash bands in a community largely centered on the San Francisco Bay Area. Hailed as one of the ‘Big Four’ of the genre alongside Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer, they’ve released a whopping 11 albums, selling over 10 million copies worldwide. Benante’s adept multi-instrumental talents (he plays electric guitar as well as he plays drums) quickly made himself invaluable as a co-writer on most of the band’s music. Now, Anthrax’s current lineup is mostly a re-solidification of the band’s ‘80s salad days that includes vocalist Joey Belladonna, rhythm guitarist Scott BY FERDY BELLAND Ian, and bassist Frank Bello alongside relative newcomer Jonathan Donais. Given that two years have now passed since ‘For All Kings’, the subject of a new Anthrax album is brought up. “There’s no real news,” regrets Benante. “The only new release we have is the live DVD, which comes out this spring. That’s where we’re at. I’ve been compiling new riffs and new pieces, but nothing complete or cohesive. I haven’t been collaborating with Scott or anyone else: just recording my own private demos.I’ve sent some rough pieces to the other guys, and they’ve liked them. It’d be wise to focus on a new Anthrax album, once the dust settles from this coming tour, but I don’t want to jump ahead and say: ‘Yeah, we have this on the go!’” Benante elaborates on his current songwriting state of mind. “I commented a while back about how the new material sounded very angry and pissed-off,” he says. “And that’s the truth. It’s my reflection of the world right now. The world is now a very volatile place. Back in the ‘80s, when we were making those other, earlier albums, there was anger in certain things, in politics and whatnot... But there was always a sense of peace, too. These days, I worry. Every day. I have anxiety because of this. And I’m not alone. The tones of the new music are a bit darker and angrier than normal. That’s what I’m feeling.” As a coping tool for the volatility of the world, Benante indulges in film memorabilia. While bandmate Scott Ian is known to fans as an avid comics collector, few know Charlie is a rabid fan of Steven Spielberg’s 1975 blockbuster ‘Jaws’; his personal collection of the movie’s memorabilia was impressive enough to land him a spot in the 2012 documentary ‘The Shark is Still Working’. His collection was featured alongside those of director Steven Spielberg and other celebrity ‘Jaws’ geeks like Kevin Smith, M. Night Shyamalan, and Eli Roth. “A few months ago I went to a horror convention and picked up a ‘Jaws’ patch,” Benante admits. “But I haven’t been adding a lot to the collection lately. What I did get... Someone MADE me a life-size Han Solo frozen in carbonite! So I’m very, very happy about that! My collection focuses just on ‘Jaws’ itself: I don’t care too much for the sequels. Maybe ‘Jaws II,’ in a pinch, but the rest of them...? Um, not so much. They just got worse and worse, sequel after sequel... But there’s nothing like that first movie.” Despite whatever nuisance of the grind of life, touring, or disintegrating film franchises, Benante yearns for the road and its wonders. “I always remember Alberta as one of the prettiest places in Canada I’ve ever seen. I love the big, open plains, the rolling hills, the mountains in the distance. It’s just beautiful, such a nice place. Looking so forward to coming back!” Metal legends Anthrax perform with Killswitch Engage and Havoc on the “Killthrax II” tour. They will perform on Monday, Feb. 19 at the Ranch (Edmonton), Tuesday, Feb. 20 at Revolution Place Casino (Grand Prairie) and on Wednesday, Feb. 21 at MacEwan Hall Ballroom (Calgary). This Month In METAL February and early March have a lot to offer – so much so that we could barely fit in half of what we wanted into this section. So let’s go! As covered in our January edition, doom lords Conan will perform at Palomino with the Weir. The band will also perform in Edmonton on Saturday, February 10 alongside The Weir, Culled, and more. That same evening in Calgary, Round 3 of the Wacken Metal Battle goes down on February 10 at Distortion with Accostal, Heyoka’s Mirror, Red Cain, To The Mountains, and World Class White Trash battling for the last slot in the Calgary final. On Saturday, February 17, head to Rendezvous Pub in Edmonton for Winnipeg’s own Ossific and Cell. The two bands will be playing alongside Erebos and new act Everythingyoueverloved, the latter is making their live debut. Calgary’s own WAKE are releasing their fourth studio album ‘Misery Rites’ on February 23 via Translation Loss Records. Although we are huge fans of the project, we’ll be waiting for their upcoming March tour with Withered to discuss the new record. In the meantime, we encourage everyone to go order the splatter colour variant and get familiarized with the crusty grindcore album so you can shout the lyrics back at the band when they play Calgary and Edmonton. Iced Earth will perform on Friday, March 3 at the Starlite Room in Edmonton and on Saturday, March 3 at the Marquee Beer Market & Stage in Calgary. Two days later on March 5, Max Cavalera of Sepultura, Soulfly, and Cavalera Conspiracy fame will be fulfilling his early 2017 promise to play a set as his shockingly strong industrial metal sideproject Nailbomb. They’ll be performing all of the disarmingly sociopolitical statement ‘Pointblank’ an album that merges industrial metal with hardcore to shockingly strong results. The band will be performing at Dickens in Calgary alongside Today is the Day, Lody Kong, and Uncured. • Sarah Kitteringham WAKE release ‘Misery Rites’ on February 23 via Translation Loss! 38 | FEBRUARY 2018 • BEATROUTE SHRAPNEL
ENSLAVED myth, music, and the ties that bind us BY GREG GROSE Enslaved discuss Jung, myth and their relation to metal. Over their nearly three-decade career, Enslaved has expelled thunderously heavy anthems injected with thought provoking lyrical content, mythic imagery and conceptual undertones. “Before we got involved in Enslaved, me and Grutle, the singer and my cowriter for the lyrics, we both came from homes were there was a lot of interest in culture,” begins Ivar Bjørnson, rhythm guitarist and co-lyricist for the band. He is referring to bassist, vocalist, and lyricist counterpart Grutle Kjellson. They formed the band in 1991. “We both had parents who were teachers, so there would be a lot of books on Native Americans, aborigines, and Eskimo culture, but also Vikings. We both had the same experience of being drawn to this, and spending the time reading these books as a hobby. When the time came and we formed Enslaved, we agreed we needed some kind of concept behind it, and Norse mythology felt natural.” What makes Enslaved special is not the utilization of Nordic myth (a topic oft exploited by metal bands to varying success), but rather the metaphorical and psychological lens that they apply to said myths. Thor and Odin are not only powerful figures in the lyrics, but metaphors for aspects of human nature. “The scientific link between psychology and Norse mythology came from the Austrian Carl Jung, one of Freud’s students, who started doing field work and found compelling evidence that a lot of this mythological language and symbolism, and the different figures that appear in mythology, seem to be pre-installed software in the human mind. Where people come from places with no abilities to obtain these images of dragons or other figurines, or geometric symbols, but they seem to be with SHRAPNEL us from the time we are born.” This metaphorical thinking was integrated throughout the band’s 14th studio album ‘E’, released in October via Nuclear Blast. ‘E’ delivers the same masterful and progressive black metal that Enslaved have perfected over their colossal discography. The epic choruses and triumphant progressions weave to terrific heights, but the lyrical subject matter differentiates itself with an acute focus on relationships and empathy, specifically the transformative aspects of those connections. “It sort of opened up with the song that was first written for the album [called] “Sacred Horse,”” explains Bjørnson. The song ultimately became the third on the eight-track album. “That just had something about it that didn’t feel like was explored enough on it. The theme of that was the rune Ehwaz, which [literally] translates to ‘horse.’” The rune is associated with harmony and trust, symbolizing interconnectivity. “In this, [we] specifically focused on the relationship between man and other living beings. The thought that we are exploring is the relationship between other living creatures, [which] spawned an idea about things bigger than just the mundane, and is extremely formative on how we function. And we thought that was such a big thought, and such an explosive expansion on topics and concepts that we decided to just take on different angles of the concept for the album. They’re all about relationships and interdependencies.” Enslaved perform with Wolves in the Throne Room, Myrkur, and Khemmis at the Decibel Magazine Tour. The tour takes on Friday, March 2 at MacEwan Hall (Calgary) and on Saturday, March 3 at The Starlite Ballroom (Edmonton). BEATROUTE • FEBRUARY 2018 | 39