Thrash metal royalty came and conquered the Rockhal
With every metal show come legions of fans all decked out in their favourite bands t-shirt. I know of no other genre of music that is so fiercely loyal and at every opportunity will don their tribe’s logo. Slayer and Anthrax at Rockhal on Thursday night was no exception.
With Slayer and Anthrax making up two of the ‘Big Four’ thrash metal legends, the other two being Metallica and Megadeath, you can be assured this drew metal fans from all over the region.
After the death of their founding member, guitarist and songwriter Jeff Hanneman back in 2013, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it might have been the end for Slayer but they were determined to push on and release their first new material in 6 years. So with the recent release of their 12th studio album “Repentless”, (first without Hanneman) they are intent on showing that they have lost nothing of what has made them one of the most enduring metal bands in history.
“Tonight is all about f****** metal” Joey Belladonna screamed and Metal is what we got as Anthrax kicked into “Madhouse”. Belladonna paced around the stage during the set stopping only to induce mass fist pumping from the crowd. Whilst guitarist Scott Ian laid down one fast airtight riff after another. Ferocious high-speed drumming and crunching bass were never far away either.
Songs like “Antisocial” and “Fight ‘Em Til You Can’t” got the crowd chanting away with the ever young Belladonna. Whilst with “Evil Twin” they gave the audience a glimpse of what’s to come from the new record out next February. The thrash metal fans will be happy to know they don’t veer far from their tried and tested formula.
With “In The End” They also paid tribute to the late Ronnie James Dio & Dimebag as their images donned the stage as they played out a more melodic groove.
One thrash metal legend down, one more to go. With the presence of armed police at the entrance of the Rockhal, the recent tragic events in Paris weren’t far from anyone’s mind. Slayer displayed their own touching tribute by lighting up the huge curtain covering the stage like one giant tricolore. Though we knew it was Slayer time the second that was replaced with their logo and swirling crucifixes.
As the curtain fell the stage revealed four huge crucifixes that undulated up and down, whilst a massive gothic mural donned the back of the stage dwarfing all below.
But there was no time to take that in as Kerry King started shredding up the guitar as they tore into their title track from the new album “Repentless” with all the fervour you’d expect from one of the titans of the genre. Straight away you could feel the power from the stage, the volume seemed to have been notched up to 11. We were going to feel every stamp on those two bass drum pedals from Paul Bostaph.
The set spanned the band’s 32-year career with the likes of “Black Magic” & “Die by The Sword” from their debut album. As Tom Araya took a moment to say “These days you have to be vigilant, look after each other, are you ready, ARE YOU READY” before tearing into another riff shredder with “War Ensemble”.
There was some space for the slightly slower darker groove of “When The Stillness Comes” which was more reminiscent of some doom metal. It brought about a nice change of pace to the onslaught of the thrash all evening.
With no encore it was left to “Angel Of Death” to see us all into the night and what a way to send us home. If Tom Araya’s vocals weren’t enough to entice the inner thrash metalhead out of you, then Paul Bostaph’s incredibly fast double-time drum beat was. Araya sent us away as he screamed out ANGEL OF DEATH one final time.
There is a reason these two are still legends of metal, they not only pioneered it but they still produce performances of this magnitude.