Big Gordon has been a permanent fixture on the metal scene for five decades and more so who better to deliver the verdict on Anthrax’s welcome return to the UK? Here are his five takeaways from an epic tour.

The best of the Big Four. End of. Anthrax boast the riffs, the songs and the attitude. And name any other band that has this much fun in its 41st year? Exactly.

The fans know best. And Anthrax have a few. Sure, there were the thousands of UK devotees who packed venues across the country but the pre-gig show reel said it all. If the grizzled New Yorkers are good enough for Keanu Reeves, Gene Simmons, Chuck D and John Carpenter they’re good enough for me.

Caught In A Mosh. Early on and there was no escape. Three songs in and wave upon wave of bodies were already surfing over the barriers and flooding the pit. One of the metal events of the year was never going to disappoint and here we were…Among The Living and in the presence of greatness.

Scott Ian’s metal history lessons. The band’s founder member sets the tone and knows his audiences. In Newcastle a cracking tale involving staying over with Raven’s John Gallagher had the locals rapt. Ian has somehow remembered every last detail of Anthrax’s remarkable metal journey. This was a night of punishing riffs and pure nostalgia.

Charlie Benante is a machine. In combination with the best that is Frank Bello it’s often difficult to look beyond the action taking place behind that metal thrashing mad kit. Benante plays with the power and passion of a man half his age but someone has to keep pace with thrash metal’s answer to Peter Pan…Joey Belladonna bringing the house down with a typically bullish performance.

Check our new interview with Scott Ian here.