Metal Masters 4

Metal Masters 4 Clinic. Gramercy Theatre. New York, NY. 9/7/12.

Metal Masters 4

L-R: Scott Ian (Anthrax), Billy Sheehan (David Lee Roth / Mr. Big), Kerry King (Slayer), Mark Menghi (Director of Marketing, Samson Technologies), Philip Anselmo (Pantera / Down), Dave Lombardo (Slayer / PHILM), Gary Holt (Exodus / Slayer), Charlie Benante (Anthrax) and Frank Bello (Anthrax).

On Friday September 7, the Metal Masters returned to New York City to school a sold-out crowd at the Gramercy Theatre. The fourth installment of the now legendary musician clinic, sponsored by Samson, Hartke and Zoom, is being touted as the best one to date. The current group of masters was comprised of Philip Anselmo (Down / Pantera), Kerry King (Slayer), Scott Ian (Anthrax), Gary Holt (Exodus / Slayer), Frank Bello (Anthrax), Billy Sheehan (David Lee Roth / Mr. Big), Dave Lombardo (Slayer / PHILM) and Charlie Benante (Anthrax). The event was also streamed live worldwide via Ustream to a huge at-home audience.

The evening started with drummer Dave Lombardo taking his clinic time to introduce the excited audience to his new project, PHILM. Joining Dave on stage was bassist Pancho Tomaselli (WAR) and guitarist/singer Gerry Nestler. The 25-minute set showcased Dave's unique playing front and center with him knocking out the tunes on a stripped down drum set in front of his larger kit he would attack later for the Slayer tunes. The crowd embraced Dave in this new role and was a perfect setup for things to come.

Metal Masters 4 - PHILM

Up next came the night's unofficial MC in New York City's own, Frank Bello. Being one of the originators of the Metal Masters brand, Bello still has a love for the clinics and what they have become these days. Starting off with some general banter led to Bello calling an excited fan on-stage to teach him some riffs. Bello worked with the fan and even got the crowd to cheer him on as the amateur musician dealt with nerves playing before the capacity room. Kerry King made a special appearance at the end with some Jagermeister for what he liked to refer to as a "Bello shot."

Metal Masters 4 - Bello

After Bello came bassist Billy Sheehan, who would have easily seemed like the odd man out if his skill on his instrument wasn't godlike. He asked the crowd if they had questions, but then decided showing off his skill might wow them more than theory talk. And he was right. Running through bass solos left the crowd in awe right up until one of the many highlights of the evening, a jam of Van Halen's "Hot For Teacher" with Billy taking the legendary guitar parts and playing it on bass. Benante joined Billy to round out the rhythm section while Bello and Anselmo jumped on stage to sing the choruses while bowing in respect to Sheehan.

Metal Masters 4 - Sheehan

Leaving to an overwhelming ovation, Sheehan was followed by Scott Ian, who came on stage and said he was unable to follow that performance, dropped the mic and started to walk off-stage. With the crowd calling him back, Ian lead the crowd in a giant group shot of Jagermeister. After the shot, Ian grabbed his weapon of choice and taught three excited fans Anthrax riffs they wanted to learn, handing over his guitar after showing them in-person the proper technique.

Metal Masters 4 - Ian

This led to drummer Charlie Benante's drum portion. This has become a fan favorite, as it usually leads to a drum duel. Metal Masters 4 was no exception. Joined on-stage by Lombardo, Benante led a feverish drum duel, which easily outdid any former drum battles. While you couldn't tell who came out ahead in the drum duel, the clear cut winner was the fans in the front, who were hit with each stomping double-bass hit while head-banging along.

This led to the moment of the night the whole crowd was waiting for... The jam session, which has become the focal point of all the Metal Masters clinics. Taking the stage for the first number was guitarists Ian and Kerry King, Sheehan on bass, Benante on drums and Bello taking on lead vocals for the Anthrax smash "Room For One More." The band blazed through the track and Bello growled the vocals with the best of them. With Bello then resuming his usual bass position, vocalist Philip Anselmo took the stage for the Pantera classic "Mouth For War" with Gary Holt jumping in for Ian on second guitar.

Metal Masters 4 - Anselmo

All the guitarists jumped in on the Metal Masters debut of "5 Minutes Alone" before Holt took a break, leaving Ian and King to handle Pantera's "A New Level." In the most interesting lineup aside from the finale with everyone, the pairing of Bello and Sheehan on bass together backing up King, Holt and Lombardo on Slayer's "Chemical Warfare" was a sight to see. Sheehan playing Slayer with only his fingers and keeping up with the crushing pace demonstrated why he belonged on the Metal Masters stage. From there, the all-star band moved right in to Slayer's "War Ensemble," followed by Pantera's "Goddamn Electric." The group swung down into a 4-piece of Anselmo, Ian, Bello and Benante for a look at the Anthrax offshoot project S.O.D. with "March of the SOD," "Sgt. D" and "Kill Yourself." After that, it was on to the Metal Masters staple "Angel of Death," as it has been played at the last three clinics, but this time featuring both Benante and Lombardo on drums, and Holt playing on Ian's guitar and commenting on the thicker gauged strings. The Exodus classic "Strike of the Beast" came next, stretching Anselmo's vocals and showing just how wide his range can be. This led right in to the memorable riff of Slayer's classic "Raining Blood" before everyone came together on the Pantera classic "Hostile." The entire group jammed through the fan favorite with the floor exploding in to the largest pit of the night. The 13-song set let the crowd know they just witnessed a once in a lifetime event.

Metal Masters 4 Encore

"The whole idea for Metal Masters came out of my love of music and being a fan of these musicians first and foremost," says Mark Menghi, Samson's Director of Marketing. "Putting all of these artists together on one stage gives them a chance to let loose and take their creativity to a whole new level, and it really is an unbelievable thing to watch for the fans... especially for only $20."

Samson, Hartke and Zoom have set the bar high, and expectations are already through the roof to see if Metal Masters 5 can top this one.

Watch highlights from Metal Masters 4


Watch the drum-off from Metal Masters 4 featuring Charlie Benante and Dave Lombardo


Watch highlights of Billy Sheehan's clinic from Metal Masters 4


Watch full performance of "Hostile" from Metal Masters 4


Watch Pantera song highlights from Metal Masters 4


Watch Slayer song highlights from Metal Masters 4


Check out past Metal Masters recaps