Michael Arms is the guitarist for the band Tatarus and is a guest writer for Rock My Monkey. CLICK HERE for info on his band.
Easter Sunday for most is a nice evening spent with the family, enjoying each others company and a warm home cooked meal. For us at RMM it was pretty far from the normal family tradition... In fact, I think this may work out to be a new tradition! For us Sunday (or Sinday as we'll call it) was an evening (all day spectacle rather) full of Metal Alliance! Take thrashers Holy Grail and Municipal Waste while throwing in the sludgy, yet faster than fuck fury that is High on Fire, and getting back to the thrash-tastic roots of Exodus and Anthrax, and you have what was possibly the best Metal Alliance line-up yet! They rolled through Seattle (9th stop of the tour) and delivered what seemed to be a well regimented night of... Well, THRASH!
Holy Grail opened the show. Their set was quick and to the point. They made sure that the audience knew who was there to deliver the 80's Priest-influenced metal of the night. The double guitar driven band were spot on with each other. Each guitarist traded off solos that sounded like one cohesive unit! All whilst vocalist James Paul Luna soared through his intense vocal range, hitting notes that paralleled the guitar squeals. Next up was Municipal Waste... One word, PARTY-THRASH!! Okay, technically two words, but anywho, they were the kind of band I could picture playing a friend's rager full of a bunch of pissed off kids that would end up burning the house down. They were great!
Now those two bands alone could have easily played a show on their own in Seattle on a weeknight and delivered a memorable set (which I hope happens soon), but this concert was just getting warmed up.
Now what you may or may not know about seeing a live band is they typically have a wall of full stack amps. Here's the catch.... They're not all on! Usually one or two cabs per guitarist is turned on. That being said, High on Fire was the next on the roster, smack dab in the middle of a five band bill. Matt Pike frontman of HoF does however turn on every amp he's plugged into. He had three cabs and two heads that were visual, and I've got to say they were one of the loudest bands I've ever seen. They also rocked The Showbox and put us heavy metal heathens in a trance of sorts while still having us maintain the urge to slam into one another in the pit!
After High on Fire's set came the one, the only... Bay Area Thrash Veterans EXODUS!!! I had never seen them live, and holy shit they brought it like only they do! Heavy, fierce, fast and in your face just about sums it up. Bassist Jack Gibson seemed to have a laid back southern swagger to him. Kind of like he could jump down in the pit any second and drag you through the dirt, but he was more a gentlemen it seemed. Gary Holt had the intensity that you could tell had been added to his already ferocious stage performance from playing in Slayer this past year. Tom Hunting was almost invisible behind his monster sized drum kit but believe me, you knew who was playing those drums once the set started. As for Altus and Dukes.. Let's just say they fucking killed it! Great performance by a great band.
Only one band was left to play... That's right, ANTHRAX!! 1/4 of the big 4. They played the entire Among The Living album plus some more special diddys I won't mention in case you're reading this before going to the show! They were a spectacle! Scott Ian with his co-frontman approach to the band was on fire as usual. Joey Belladonna ripped through the set, the strongest I've ever heard these tunes! Frank Bello delivered his always consistent bass line and Steve Harris inspired "singing along" by mouthing every lyric to each tune. Jon Donais filled the guitar spot left empty earlier this year and blazed through the solos, adding a little of his own flavor. They had a fill-in drummer whoses name I did not catch, but he sounded like he had written those drum parts himself!! They were excellent!! If you're considering going to this year's Metal Alliance, think no further. Just GO!!!
For more on the Metal Alliance tour go to
For more on Tatarus go to