Anthrax (Sonisphere Knebworth 2011)

So, finally, after much hype and an equal amount of anticipation The Big Four made it to England.

After the opening band appetiser of Diamond Head finish their set, the first of the main courses, Anthrax, hit the stage. With Scott Ian at home bonding with his newborn Son, it was down to Sepultura guitarist Andreas Kisser to fill the temporary void.

The last few years may have resembled something like a game of a table-tennis, with the band going back and forth between vocalists Joey Belladonna and John Bush (not forgetting one-time singer Dan Nelson) but, with the former now seemingly settled back into the line-up, and with a new album due shortly, it seems that the line-up is fairly stable at present.

Opening with the first of a set full of classic 'thrax -'Caught In A Mosh'- the band are on form. If they're missing Scott Ian there's certainly no sign of it, with the band spending much of the set wearing beatific grins; Belladonna in particular doesn't stop smiling for their entire show, even whilst screaming his head off and running hyperactively from one side of the stage to the other, or clambering onto stacks of amps.

The setlist was, wisely considering the relatively short stage time, taken mostly from classic-era Anthrax, with three of the seven tracks performed coming from 1986 release 'Among The Living'. Of Bush-era Anthrax the band belt out 'Only', from 93's 'The Sound Of White Noise'. Arguably Bush's finest 5 minutes with the band, 'Only' had every right to be included in this best-of set but, while he made a reasonable fist of it, it doesn't really suit Belladonna's less raw voice.

Also included in the set was new song 'Fight 'Em Til you Can't' from forthcoming release 'Worship Music', which has an old school thrash flavour and Andreas Kisser got to perform a snippet of Sepultura's 'Refuse/Resist' before the band launch into finale the Dredd-tacular 'I Am The Law'.

They may not have achieved the same level of commercial success as the rest of the 'Big Four', but they more than hold their own in terms of live performances, especially when compared to the slightly overindulgent show from headliners Metallica.