Metal Masters 5 Thrills Fans and Legends Alike – Recap, Photo Gallery and Video
Whenever the NAMM convention rolls into Anaheim, Calif., you know that it will result in a slew of local shows featuring wild combinations of rock legends all finding themselves, for once, in the same city at the same time. But even with that reality, the fifth edition of Metal Masters pushed things way beyond the limit, thrilling the jam-packed House of Blues, which was full of fist pumping metal heads.
The concept began five years ago as a basic “playing” clinic involving Anthrax’s Frank Bello, Megadeth's Dave Ellefson, Mike Portnoy and others. Over the years it has evolved into an All-Star session that still features some clinics but also a musical free-for-all event that mixes and matches metal legends swapping out songs and tag teaming up to cover each other's collective catalogs.
Samson's Director of Marketing Mark Menghi has watched the event grow and as a fan, he still sits there in awe. "It’s hard to actually believe what is happening with this thing we started," he laughed during rehearsals the night before the show. "It's a metal lover's dream."
Metal Masters 5, which took place on Jan. 22 and was broadcast live online, featured an eclectic 22-song set that covered many metal and hard rock bases. Where else on earth would you find Billy Sheehan, Chuck Billy, Scott Ian, Mike Portnoy, Frank Bello, and Charlie Benante covering Kiss’s ‘God of Thunder?’
Or Kerry King and Philip Anselmo working it out on the Slayer classic ‘Raining Blood’? The concert was also punctuated with little breakout jam sessions and clinics, which gave everyone some time to breathe. But everything kept coming back to the music.
The night before the show, it was clear that every one of these musicians has deep musical respect for one another. Going beyond that, there also fans of each other, constantly playing complements and talking about all the influences in the room.
Loudwire had the chance to sit down with essentially the whole cast of characters during rehearsals to help get a sense of what makes metal master so special.
Former Pantera vocalist Philip Anselmo told us, “I was that teenage kid in his bedroom dreaming of these bands. Then Anthrax took Pantera under their wing. Just like Slayer did. So you see all these faces and you see your past in front of you. I always love to get up and do what I do, but with these guys? It’s a paramount moment.”
Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante said he was most excited about playing on the Pantera song ‘Strength Beyond Strength,’ while legendary (and workaholic) drummer Mike Portnoy offered he was amped to be playing on “just about everything," adding, "This, for me, includes all my metal heroes and all my metal friends. This is a true chance for me to be able to scratch my metal itch. To have been involved with Metal Masters since the beginning is a thrill and I love watching it just get bigger and bigger.”
Kill Devil Hill’s bassist Rex Brown told us that he and Philip Anselmo had not played on certain Pantera songs for more than 15 years. “But it’s always going to be about brotherly love for us. That’s what Pantera was always about. And no egos for this show. You leave it at the door. Metal Masters is all about being together and playing hard for the people.”
Megadeth bassist Dave Ellefson chimed in, "Metal Masters, the first one we did, was at the Big Four show in Indio. The second one was the night before the Big Four show at Yankee Stadium. So Metal Masters has kind of a Big Four spirit about that I love. It’s just an incredible opportunity not just for fans, but for us, too. And we’ve had music born out of Metal Masters, too. Frank Bello and I, while being at Metal Masters, started writing together so we could have some new music to actually play at Metal Masters beyond our own stuff. And we challenged ourselves and came up with Altitudes & Attitudes, which we love playing from at the show now. And look, we are all fans of the bands being represented tonight. We all came up the ranks together, but we also paid attention to what the others were doing. So there is this reunion quality to this show that gets to the heart of what we all feel toward each other."
Testament’s Chuck Billy agreed with that last sentiment in particular. “I’m pinching myself, dude.”
The show Wednesday night closed with a mind-bending version of Slayer’s ‘Angel of Death,’ featuring Portnoy, King, Anselmo, Bello and several other legends. And just when you thought it couldn't get any better, the crew of metal icons ripped into a rousing version of Pantera's ‘F--king Hostile.’
One thing Metal Masters always does is solidify the fact that beyond being intense and ferocious performers, all of these guys are seasoned and intensely proficient musicians. Yes, there were countless interesting and even emotional moments, including any time Rex Brown joined his former Pantera bandmate Philip Anselmo onstage.
And as much a high school reunion as a concert, Metal Masters over-delivered once again and proved itself to be one of the premier annual metal events on the planet. Check out photos from the actual live show and backstage at rehearsals, as well as video of the entire Metal Masters 5 show, below:
Metal Masters 5 Concert:
Metal Masters 5 Backstage:
Watch the Entire Metal Masters 5 Concert Here [via GearGods]: