It'll be a thrashfest to remember when Anthrax sweeps through the Tri-Cities during its North American tour Sept. 16 at the Toyota Arena in Kennewick.
Few can pound away on a set of drums like drummer Charlie Benante, who has been with Anthrax since 1983.
The New York City-based band was launched in 1981 by guitarist Scott Ian, who named the group after learning about the infectious disease during a high school science class.
"Scott thought it would make a cool name for a band," Benante told the Herald in a telephone interview.
Members of the band have come and gone during the past two decades. Today, Ian remains the front man, with Benante, Benante's nephew/bassist Frank Bello, legendary singer Joey Belladonna and Rob Caggiano also on board.
Anthrax is considered a cornerstone of their genre's Big Four along with Megadeth, Metallica and Slayer.
Rolling Stone's encyclopedia of rock 'n' roll says Anthrax began as an average post-hardcore thrash band that eventually developed its own distinct sound by blending rap's street sense with the brute force of heavy metal.
The encyclopedia notes that Anthrax is one of the few heavy metal bands to consistently receive high marks from its fan base -- primarily because its redefined metal genre emphasizes anger, speed and emotional intensity rather than big hair and power ballads.
Benante, who lives near Chicago, doesn't dispute that description, but he has a more colorful way of describing the Anthrax evolution process.
"In the '80s, we were totally traditional thrash metal, punk rock and hardcore musicians," Benante said. "I played the music faster, more aggressively and we didn't wear any flashy clothes, either. Nowadays, we've slowed it down a notch, but we're still very much a thrash band."
He adds that there's more thoughtfulness in his songwriting. The band's comeback album, Worship, released in 2010, is a good example, he said.
"We worked on this album for years," Benante said. "We like to offer our fans something new. I grew up listening to Beatles music, and I love it still. They were so far ahead of their time with their sound and style, and that's what we try to do.
"Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't, but you need to take chances musically, otherwise its gets boring and routine," he added.
Anthrax also is the first metal band to have its music played on NASA's Mars Rover, which landed Aug. 5 on the red planet, said band spokeswoman Heidi Robinson-Fitzgerald.
Anthrax is headlining this tour with Testament. Opening the show will be Death Angel. If you miss the Tri-City show, you can catch Anthrax in Spokane on Sept. 17 at the Knitting Factory or the Showbox Theatre at The Market in Seattle on Sept. 19.
Tickets to the Tri-City concert are $31 and available at the Toyota Center box office or at www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets purchased at the box office avoid service charges.
* Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org