A Chaotic Serenade: Anthrax, Pinkerton Raid and Brother Hawk

A Chaotic Serenade Columns

A Chaotic Serenade: Anthrax 40th Anniversary Tour with Black Label Society and Exodus; New music from Carter Sampson, Pinkerton Raid and Brother Hawk

I’ve had a slow start for live music in 2023, painfully reminiscent of how 2022 panned out. Last year’s attended show total was significantly down for a variety of reasons, so when an opportunity arose for me to cover Anthrax’s 40th anniversary tour with Black Label Society and Exodus, I figured why not? I know, heavy music isn’t for everyone. I get it, but it’s a big part of who I am, and I find myself talking about it more and more with other music fans, particularly at “tamer” shows where I’ve often been surprised to see or hear bands such as Black Label Society, Corrosion of Conformity, Clutch and others listed as favorites among my Americana friends. Good music is good music I suppose, and I hope to occasionally share some of that with our readers here in this column.

I’ve always been drawn to the extremes in music. Back in the early eighties, societal elements of the Reagan era and an increasingly generic sounding pop influenced music scene spawned Thrash metal, forever uniting Hardcore Punk skaters and N.W.O.B.H.M. (New Wave of British Heavy Metal for those unfamiliar) metal heads. At the time, Thrash was harder, faster and certainly, more complex than just about anything we’d heard at the time. I’ve got so many great memories of those albums and concerts from that time period. I was excited to see one of the genre’s forefathers in action. Like so many, I’ve always considered Anthrax as one of the most innovative of metal bands. Bboth groundbreaking and inventive, they brought an East Coast mentality to Thrash that blended uniquely and created their distinctive signature sound. I’ve seen Anthrax four times now, and they’ve never left me disappointed. Tonight was no exception. Anthrax is guitarist Scott Ian, drummer Charlie Benante, bassist Frank Bello, vocalist Joey Belladonna and Jonathan Donais on guitar. The band delivered a straight forward, no nonsense set of hits that kept the energy level high and the mosh pit circling. On a side note, vocalist Joey Belladonna is simply put, one of the best frontmen in metal. He’s a perfect mix of vocal prowess and dangerous charisma. Highly underrated.
All things Anthrax:

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Of the three bands on the bill, Black Label Society probably has the largest appeal, or at least name recognition among casual music fans. I’ve joked before that founding member and guitarist Zakk Wylde is pretty much the Warren Haynes of the metal world. Big teddy bear personality, fan favorite, fan friendly and just loves to play. Beside his long time place in Ozzy Osborne’s band, Wylde has fronted multiple bands of his own, Pride and Glory, Zakk Sabbath and now, BLS, in addition, Wylde has recently joined original members, Phil Anselmo and Rex Brown in Pantera, paying tribute to their late friends, the Abbott Brothers, Darrell “Dimebag” and Vinnie Paul. Along with Wylde, the rest of the Black Label Society Doom Crew is made up of guitarist Dario Lorina, John “J.D.” DeServio on bass and Jeff Fabb on drums. Black Label Society’s live show is simply put, fun. This was my second opportunity to catch them, and each time I’ve walked away impressed with how good they are, and how well they captivate their audience.
Visit the Doom Crew here:

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Of the three bands, Exodus was the one I was most excited to see. They’re the band that many, myself included consider the likely number five, had it been called the Big 5 instead of just the Big 4. No disrespect to Testament, being the other worthy contender, but there was just something about Exodus that drew me in. The band has one helluva history, and in turn carries a heavier burden of aggression than most. Comprised of founding member, Tom Hunting on drums, Gary Holt and Lee Altus on guitars, Jack Gibson on bass and Steve “Zetro” Souza on vocals. Their set was a full frontal assault and I loved every minute of it. Going through some of my photos for this piece, I got a kick out of some of the band’s expressions that seem to express a desire to knife these pesky photographers in front of their stage. Maybe it’s all an act, maybe it’s not. I’m not sure I can tell, and maybe that’s for the best.
Check out Exodus here:

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All in all, it was a revitalizing night of music, and exactly what many of us needed. It was my first show of the year, and it felt really good to get out there, see and talk with a few peers, and shake the rust off so to speak. There’s nothing like that moment when the house lights go down. It’s always been the ultimate rush for me and whether it’s been one night or a couple months since my last show, it’s always a surprise just how much I’ve really missed it. Tonight was a welcome opportunity to stoke my creative fires,expand my horizons and break in and experiment with some new camera glass. I’ve got quite few live shows on my schedule and radar so far and I hope you do to!

I’ve also had lots of new music gracing my inbox over the past couple of weeks, and it’s really starting to look like 2023 has the potential to be a really good year in releases. A few things that have stood out so far:

Carter Sampson

Carter Sampson‘s newest offering, Gold is coming on April 7th via Tulsa’s Horton Records. I’m a big fan of Carter’s, and I know a bunch of you out there are too. Here’s the title track from her forthcoming album.

For all things Carter Sampson head over to:


Pinkerton Raid

Durham North Carolina based Pinkerton Raid’s “The Highway Moves the World” is currently available and the indie/coffeehouse styled ensemble blends a fine blend of Beatle-esque dreamy folk. Comprised of singer songwriter and guitarist, Jesse James DeConto, bassist Jonathan DePue, drummer Scott McFarlane and guitarist Garrett Langebartels. Check out the band’s single, “Blood in My Eyes” here:

Find out more about Pinkerton Raid here:

Brother Hawk

I discovered Atlanta’s Brother Hawk a few years through their EP Like Water (

I loved the their mix of swampy soulful slow-burning rock with an edge. The band have put together a new album, The Dreamer which is coming 3/31 on Liars Club Records. Recorded in Atlanta the album features a line-up of J.B. Brisendine on guitar, vocals and harmonica, James Fedigan on bass, Nick Johns-Cooper handling keys, vocals, and flute, and Sean Bruneau, and Bobby Theberge on drums. Raging riffs and catchy hooks for days. I’m convinced these guys are destined for bigger things.

Find out more information here:





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