Thrash Metal Pioneers 'Anthrax' and Metalcore Forefathers 'Killswitch Engage' Team Up For Co-Headlining North American "Killthrax" Tour

Thrash Metal Pioneers 'Anthrax' and Metalcore Forefathers 'Killswitch Engage' Team Up For Co-Headlining North American "Killthrax" Tour
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Killswitch Engage: Adam Dutkiewicz, Jesse Leach, Justin Foley, Joel Stroetzel, Mike D'Antonio

Killswitch Engage: Adam Dutkiewicz, Jesse Leach, Justin Foley, Joel Stroetzel, Mike D'Antonio

Travis Shinn

The subcultural umbrella of heavy metal has cast countless iterations of this style of music, comfortably giving it room to create and progress the genre without holding onto any preconceived boundaries. With the upcoming Killthrax tour co-headlined by thrash pioneers Anthrax and metalcore veterans Killswitch Engage, this is a literal history lesson on stage of the evolution of heavy music when you take into account the supporting bands on the tour include The Devil Wears Prada, Jasta (1st leg from 3/29 – 4/9) and Code Orange (2nd leg from 4/11 – 5/7).

With the musical innovations brought by Anthrax in the 1980s, every other band on this tour represents poignant parts of the continuous history of metal. Jasta, fronted by Jamey Jasta who is most known from Hatebreed, represents the underground hardcore sound of the early to mid 1990s, while a band like Code Orange represents the new school of those ideals since their inception in 2008. Bands like Killswitch Engage and The Devil Wears Prada were what metal needed in the 2000s after the lull of the 90s when grunge and nu-metal ruled rock music.

“Range is very important with tours,” The Devil Wears Prada lead vocalist Mike Hranica explains about variety on tours. “No one wants to stand there for 3-4 hours a night watching the same band play four times. I don’t think a lot of Prada fans are Anthrax fans. I don’t think a lot of Anthrax fans are Prada fans. Generally, it’s that range that brings out more people to the shows and makes a more successful tour.”

The Killthrax tour isn’t a time capsule for the world of metal, but more so a chronological history lesson of how a type of music can evolve and influence itself. Let’s take a look at each of these bands on the Killthrax tour and discuss what they are doing currently.

Anthrax

The thrash metal legends celebrated their 35th anniversary in 2016 and the Revolver Music Awards did present them with their first ever “Innovator Award” for their contributions in reimaging heavy metal music. Later this year, Anthrax will release a live DVD from one of their recent shows in the United Kingdom. Currently, Anthrax just released the For All Kings: 7-inch Box Set exclusively in North America via Megaforce Records. The box set will include 10 7-inch vinyl over 20 songs that includes songs from their latest album, two covers, six demos, and a previously unreleased track. Plus, Anthrax also have their own craft beer, Wardance, now available in New York State wherever craft beer is available.

Killswitch Engage

With their original lead vocalist Jesse Leach back in the fold for the past two albums, the Massachusetts-based metalcore band are revitalized and better than ever. Last year, they released their seventh studio album Incarnate on their long time home of Roadrunner Records along with their live concert documentary CD/Blu-ray Beyond the Flames Home Video Part II.

“Jesse’s back in the mix and happier than ever,” says Killswitch Engage bassist Mike D’Antonio about having their original lead singer back in the band. “It’s refreshing to change members, especially a singer, the focal point of the band. There’s nothing a bit more refreshing than getting a whole new song melody and lyrical content thrown back into the mix. We were a bit stagnant towards the end of the Howard Jones era. We were just collapsing inwards. Now that Jesse has come back and breathed new life into this thing, it feels like a brand new band and we’re just excited to be on the road and doing this thing again. He sounds great.”

The Devil Wears Prada

As a staple of metalcore since the band formed in 2005, The Devil Wears Prada have grown as people as well as a band. With the release of their sixth studio album last year Transit Blues, they tackle the real life issues of a touring band. Over the past couple years, Prada has endured a couple member changes with guitarist Chris Rubey and drummer Daniel Williams, both founding members, leaving the band.

When asked what affect personnel changes have in the band, Prada lead vocalist Mike Hranica explains: “I feel like personnel changes or member changes are always painted as this really brutal ugly process when, in fact, it’s only the natural means of a band evolving as far as personalities changing. The fact that Jeremy and Andy and I get along as well as we do being three original members that kind of says everything in and of itself.”

The Devil Wears Prada currently released a special vinyl edition of Transit Blues on 180 gram vinyl with a beautiful 13x13-inch, 60-plus page hardback book that chronicles the band’s writing and recording process of the album. “People are really excited to have such a personal touch,” says Hranica about the idea behind the photobook. “Seeing that it is just photos of us just sitting around drinking beer, cooking, coffee in the mornings, throwing the football, or whatever that might be. I know that personally that is something that I always like to see when a band is making an album. Something we’re trying to give Prada fans.”

Jasta

Jamey Jasta always has his hands in many different projects at any given time. Along with his podcast The Jasta Show on the GaS Digital Network, Jamey Jasta will be bringing his solo Jasta band on the road for the first leg of the Killthrax tour before hitting the road this summer with Hatebreed on the Van’s Warped Tour. Jasta also will be self-releasing a nine-song collection of unearthed tracks that he uncovered from various hard drives and writing sessions from the past titled The Lost Chapters.

Code Orange

The Pittsburgh-based punk hardcore band are already veterans even though the all the members are in their early 20s. Code Orange is blazing their own path with honor, pay their dues the right way and already gaining the respect of their peers. Code Orange has become that band that not only lauded for their innovative takes on a variety of styles of music, but they have earned the respect of the bands that came before them. With the release of their third studio album Forever, Code Orange not only are on the second leg of this Killthrax tour, but will also support both System Of A Down and Gorija on select shows coming up. Even Randy Blythe of the band Lamb Of God wrote a lengthy Instagram post praising Code Orange recently.

Since Code Orange’s start in 2008, the band members have transitioned from teenagers to adults during this journey, and when asked what the biggest lessons they’ve learned during that time, Code Orange drummer Jami Morgan said: “I think we’ve learned that we just need to, and this record is about this in a way, trust ourselves and trust our close circle of people we’ve grown up with; it kind of cancels out a lot of the other noise. I think we do have a really strong vision for something that is different than other things out there. A strong vision for the best thing we can be.”

To listen to the full interviews with Jami Morgan of Code Orange and Mike D’Antonio of Killswitch Engage, where we also discuss pro wrestling in both of their episodes, visit freshisthepodcast.com.

The Killthrax tour co-headlined by Anthrax and Killswitch Engage with tour-long support from The Devil Wears Prada along with Jasta (first leg) and Code Orange (second leg) hits North America on March 29th at The Wellmont Theatre in Montclair, NJ and ends at the House of Blues in Boston, MA on May 7th. For the full listing of concert dates, visit killswitchengage.com or anthrax.com.

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