On Tour: Anthrax, Black Label Society, & Exodus | 02.08.23, The Factory

6:30 PM | The Factory, 17105 N Outer 40 Rd, Chesterfield, MO | All ages | $49.50-69.50

New York thrash metal legends Anthrax will headline The Factory on Wednesday, February 8th, with Exodus and Black Label Society opening. The tour is being advertised as a celebration of Anthrax’s 40th anniversary (they released their first demo in July 1982).

Formed in Queens, NY, in 1981, Anthrax became a household name in the mid-1980s, when they were frequently labeled as one of the “Big Four” of the thrash metal scene (along with Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer). With the majority of popular thrash metal bands coming from California, specifically the San Francisco Bay area, Anthrax’s New York-style take on the genre helped set them apart from their peers. Their approach to thrash was arguably more accessible and streamlined, with an emphasis on writing catchy hooks and riffs, as opposed to the arms race of technicality that their West Coast rivals seemed to be engaged in.

Metal and punk were intertwined in NYC in the 1980s, with Anthrax being a product of the same scene that gave birth to bands like Cro-Mags and Carnivore. As such, Anthrax became known for their combination of thrash and hardcore punk tropes, like group vocals and breakdowns, a style referred to as crossover thrash. Anthrax’s members were involved in many side projects, the most famous being S.O.D. (Stormtroopers of Death), which featured Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian, bassist Dan Lilker, and drummer Charlie Banante (S.O.D. was essentially Anthrax with a different vocalist, Billy Milano).

Anthrax became a mainstay on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball in the ‘80s and ‘90s, thanks to their goofy charm and colorful personalities that were a refreshing counterpoint to the often self-serious California thrash bands. This was also seen in the light-hearted subject matter of their songs, with the band taking inspiration from comic books (“I Am the Law”), Stephen King novels (“A Skeleton in the Closet”), and their apparent dislike of John Belushi (“Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)”), as opposed to the heavier themes of nuclear war and anti-Christianity that pervaded the music of Megadeth and Slayer. Anthrax is known for their fondness for covers, famously collaborating with NYC hip hop legends Public Enemy for a cover of the latter group’s “Bring the Noise.”

Anthrax has a long history of playing in St. Louis. They were last here in August 2018, when they played the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater along with Testament, Slayer, Napalm Death, and Lamb of God. Other venues they have played include The Pageant (in September 2016 and May 2017), Pop’s (in August 1998, August 2003, January 2006, and May 2015), and the legendary Mississippi Nights (in April 1986, December 1995, and June 1996). They even played the Fabulous Fox Theater during their 1991 tour for Persistence of Time.

Although never reaching the same level of name recognition and commercial success as other Bay Area thrash legends (specifically Megadeth and Metallica), Exodus has arguably had one of the most consistently great discographies of any band from that scene. Their 1985 debut album Bonded by Blood was an instant classic, heralded for the highly proficient and addictive riffing of guitarist Gary Holt, the longest-serving member of the band. Exodus famously took a long hiatus in the 1990s, with the group disbanding after their poorly-received 1992 album Force of Habit before reuniting for 2004’s Tempo of the Damned, often considered one of the best post-millennial thrash metal albums, as well as one of the greatest comebacks in metal history. Since then, the band has consistently released new material, most recently the 2021 album Persona non grata.

Like Anthrax, Exodus has been playing St. Louis consistently since the 1980s, with multiple shows at Mississippi Nights, Pop’s, and The Pageant. They were last in St. Louis in September 2022, where they played the Pageant with fellow Bay Area thrash icons Testament and Death Angel.

Formed in Los Angeles in 1998, Black Label Society (BLS) is the primary project of journeyman guitarist Zakk Wylde. Prior to forming BLS, Wylde was best known for his stint as the third (and most consistent) lead guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne. He is credited as the lead guitarist on five Ozzy albums, the most famous being 1991’s No More Tears, which featured massive rock radio hits in “Mama, I’m Coming Home” and the eponymous song.

BLS is very much in the mold of Ozzy’s solo band, with Zakk Wylde being the sole consistent member. In addition to being the lead guitarist for BLS, Wylde is also the lead vocalist, and frequently plays multiple instruments on BLS albums (like bass and piano). Although his music often showcases his famously indulgent approach to guitar, Wylde is also no stranger to the acoustic rock ballad, with songs like “In This River” (a tribute to Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell, who was murdered during a performance in 2004) ranking among BLS’ best. The band’s most recent album, Doom Crew Inc., was released in 2021.

Unsurprisingly, BLS has also consistently played at venues like The Pageant and Pop’s. Most recently, they played Pop’s on their Winter 2017 tour with Corrosion of Conformity, Eyehategod, and Red Fang. Notably, BLS were at Ozzfest 2001, 2002, 2004, and 2006, with all 4 stops held at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater (then known as the UMB Bank Pavilion).

Click here for more information and to purchase tickets, and check out our tour playlist below, which compiles recent setlists from all 3 bands’ 2022 tours. | David Von Nordheim

Anthrax, Black Label Society, and Exodus tour dates:

02.04.23 | Bethlehem, PA | Sands Bethlehem Event Center

02.05.23 | Boston, MA | House Of Blues Boston

02.07.23 | Corbin, KY | The Corbin Arena

02.08.23 | Chesterfield, MO | The Factory

02.10.23 | San Antonio, TX | Tech Port Center + Arena

02.11.23 | Houston, TX | Bayou Theater

02.13.23 | Omaha, NE | The Admiral Theater

02.14.23 | Oklahoma City, OK | The Criterion

02.15.23 | Albuquerque, NM | Revel Entertainment Center

02.17.23 | Riverside, CA | Riverside Municipal Auditorium

02.18.23 | Oakland, CA | Fox Theater

02.19.23 | Anaheim, CA | City National Grove Of Anaheim

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