ANTHRAX Bassist BELLO Forced To Sit Out HEAVY MTL Festival; JOEY VERA Steps In

ANTHRAX will utilize the services of bassist Joey Vera (ARMORED SAINT, FATES WARNING) for its appearance at the Heavy MTL festival on Sunday, June 22 at Parc Jean-Drapeau in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. "Frankie [Bello, ANTHRAX's longtime bassist] can't make the Montreal gig due to a family obligation," the band's manager, Izvor Zivkovic of Split Media, told BLABBERMOUTH.NET in a statement. "Our old friend Joey is stepping in last minute and helping us out."

Rumors that Bello had once again left, or been fired from, ANTHRAX and was replaced by Vera first surfaced earlier this week and have been gaining strength in the last couple of days.

Vera temporarily replaced Bello in ANTHRAX from April 2004 to March 2005 before Frankie returned to the group as part of the reunion of ANTHRAX's classic lineup, also featuring singer Joey Belladonna and guitarist Dan Spitz.

An audience recording of three brand new ANTHRAX songs as performed by the band on May 28, 2008 at Double Door in Chicago, Illinois can be heard by following these links:

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"Fight 'Em Til You Can't": Audio
"Revolution Screams": Audio
"Vampyres": Audio

The Chicago concert was the group's first with new singer Dan Nelson, who officially joined ANTHRAX in December 2007 as the replacement for Joey Belladonna.

Rock photographer Chad Lee has posted photos from the show at www.rockconcertfotos.com.

In a recent interview with Metal Maniacs magazine, ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian stated about Dan Nelson's singing style, "I've compared him to John Bush on steroids because he definitely comes from more of that tone, but also because he's only 31 or 32 years old. He listens to the more extreme side of heavy metal. He was in a lot of bands that were certainly more extreme than ANTHRAX so he's able to take what he has a lot further. That's not to say you're going to hear an ANTHRAX record with death metal or hardcore vocals or anything like that. The guy's a singer and a great singer at that. I'm just saying that he's already got this really powerful singing voice and he's able to take it to a level we've never explored before. We have a bunch of spots on this record where it really works."

When asked if all the music and vocal melodies/lyrics for the new songs had already been "pre-written" for Nelson prior to the singer joining the band, Ian said, "Before Dan, we had ideas for maybe two songs and not even any lyrics yet. Once Dan got involved, that's when the light bulb went off over my head. I wasn't writing anything because I had no focus as far as who was actually going to be singing this stuff. Once I had Dan's voice in my brain it totally opened the door for me writing-wise. It's been really collaborative since then. We all get together, listen to the music and work on the melody lines until everybody is happy. We have two songs done. There's a song called 'Revolution Screams' which is a straight-up thrash tune. There's another called 'Fight 'Em Til You Can't' which sounds like ANTHRAX from 1987 but in 2008. It's total old-school thrash. I'm totally stoked on them!"

Fan-filmed footage of ANTHRAX's May 31, 2008 performance at the second of the two shows the band played with IRON MAIDEN at Irvine, California's Verizon Wireless Amphitheater can be viewed below.

"Only" (uploaded by YouTube user "realrocker777"):

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