With a white curtain baring the Pentathrax logo lowered that doubled as a projector screen, the show opened with tributes from the likes of Keanu Reeves, onetime Anthrax front man contender Cory Taylor, and former member and Volbeat guitarist Rob Caggiano, all singing the praises of the New Yorkers. It set the scene perfectly for what was to follow; a masterclass in metal.
Kicking off with the 'Among the Living' pairing of the towering title track and, according to setlist.fm, the most-played song in their catalogue, 'Caught in the Mosh', the celebration proper began with a burst of energy, not to mention arguably the finest 1-2 of any Big Four release.
Greeting the crowd, the ever affable Belladonna said; "We've got a full house of maniacs of metal here tonight Bristol! how you doing?"
Following with the highpoints of Belladonna-debut 'Spreading the Disease' in and incendiary 'Madhouse' and ferocious 'Metal Thrashing Mad', it was clear that this was going to be a night steeped in sweaty, sticky nostalgia.
No stranger to the city, having first played in it back in 1987, Scott Ian reminisced about that debut before telling the capacity crowd; "This was the first show on this tour to sell out. Thank you for having us back".
Breaking out the first relative deep track of the night, a storming mid-paced 'Keep it in the Family' brought the first breather of the night, ahead of fan favourites 'Antisocial' and 'I Am the Law'.
Taken aback by the reception they were receiving, upon the crowd bursting into an impromptu chorus of 'Happy Birthday', Ian declared; "You guys are the first ones to do this for us, thank you! That's really an honour!"
Going on to play epic 'Worship Music' staple 'In The End', and a surprise inclusion of the John Bush-era single 'Only', the band ended with a trio of their best-known tracks in a fiery 'Indians', breathless 'Got the Time', and John Belushi-ode 'Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)'.
"You guys have been awesome, as usual", opined Belladonna as the band took their bows.
Wrapping up, and taking to socials following the band's show in London a few nights later, Benante signed off; "And that concludes our wonderful #UK tour- thank you all for coming out for our Birthday party - love you all! Thank you to our wonderful Crew, they rule - thank you to @municipalwaste and @swornenemynyc for Killing it every night 🖤🖤🖤 "
Check out our gallery from the show below. All photos by Dan Devour.