LIVE REVIEW: Slayer + Anthrax at The Olympia

Slayer + Anthrax Tour Poster

Date: June 14th, 2016
Venue: The Olympia, Dublin
Line-up: Slayer + Anthrax

Metal legends Slayer and Anthrax have teamed up for a loud night of thrash and headbanging guaranteed to leave your neck aching in work the next morning.

I must admit that I’m not the biggest fan of Anthrax but their live show is a vastly different experience to their studio material. These guys are seasoned performers, living and breathing for the stage. Their energy and enthusiasm was infectious which rubbed off the crowd who loved it. Vocalist Joey Belladonna was more spring and spry than frontmen less than half his age. It was hard to keep track of where he was since he was sprinting back and forth across the stage like a hyperactive child let loose. He was really appreciate of the crowd and their response, repeatedly telling them they were awesome and getting them chanting and singing.

The rest of the band were no slouches either, guitarist Scott Ian could hardly contain himself and later told us that they would be back in Dublin next year for a headline show. Bassist Frank Bello had his moment in the spotlight with ‘Got the Time’ and the insanely fun ‘Caught in a Mosh’. Charlie Benante’s drumming was extremely tight but let himself loose at times, most notably on ‘Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t’.

While there were a number of the Anthrax classics played, we can’t forget that the band recently released a new album, For All Kings, which they were keen to show off. ‘You Gotta Believe’ and ‘Evil Twin’ sat comfortably next to the older songs. Closing with their seminal track ‘Indians’, Belladonna almost didn’t want to leave as he was still running himself round even when the band had finished up their set.

Setlist:
You Gotta Believe
Got the Time (Joe Jackson cover)
Caught in a Mosh
Madhouse
Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t
Evil Twin
Antisocial (Trust cover)
Breathing Lightning
Indians

Anthrax looked to be a tough act to follow but Slayer looked up for the challenge. Opening with the title track from their latest album Repentless the band were firing on all cylinders. ‘Postmortem’ was the really starting point for me though, that sheer aggression and speed is what Slayer is all about. Tom Araya’s vocals were spot on with his trademark bark and insanely high screams. He wasn’t much for talking outside of a few jokes but one thing he did was take the time to look around the room at the screaming fans and that really put a smile on his face.

Kerry King and Exodus guitarist Gary Holt have built up to be a formidable duo over the years effortlessly throwing out the frantic, almost maniacal speed solos the band are renowned for (we won’t mention Gary’s questionable sideburns). Drummer Paul Bostaph is an absolute beast behind the kit, his playing was furious and relentless, he couldn’t resist showing off a couple of times spinning his sticks.

Much like Anthrax their set was filled with a mixture of the old and new, while the new songs undoubtedly sounded good live it was the older material that had people sweating. From the blood-curdling scream of ‘War Ensemble’ to the eerie spoken word intro to ‘Dead Skin Mask’ it was a setlist sure to keep any Slayer fan happy. The last few songs saw the band in full force with the classics, ‘Seasons in the Abyss’ slowed the pace down for the first time in the night but it didn’t last long as soon the stage was bathed in an ominous red light with the impending sense of dread that could only mean ‘Raining Blood’. The almost deafening screams from the crowd continued through to closing track ‘Angel of Death’ which also saw a change in backdrop to one honoring former guitarist Jeff Hanneman.

Setlist:
Repentless
Postmortem
Born of Fire
Disciple
God Send Death
War Ensemble
When the Stillness Comes
You Against You
Mandatory Suicide
Dead Skin Mask
Fight Till Death
Pride in Prejudice
Take Control
Seasons in the Abyss
South of Heaven
Raining Blood
Angel of Death

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