Some bands define a culture. Some bands divide opinions and demand loyalty. Then there are bands that are a way of life. Slayer are a way of life. As the band close out their Australian leg of their final tour ever, they have brought with them two of the metal worlds finest exponents, Behemoth and fellow Big 4 alumni, Anthrax.
Hailing from the cold harsh winters of Eastern European Poland, Behemoth are black metal legends. As a chief proponent of the dark arts, they are typically eerie with an introduction to match. Masked in black and white face paint, they open with Solve, a brutal double drum kicked bulldog of a song. While the sound doesn’t let up, neither does the wonderful theatrics with choreographed moves over tight and riff-tastic music. Don’t worry though, they haven’t gone all Spice Girls, the lyrical content is still as dark as Nergal’s guitar.
Anthrax were New York’s entry to the big trash explosion of the early 80’s and what an entry. Anthrax have always been a band of fans. Fans of comic books, fans of other metal bands and they lovingly open with a short sharp cover of Pantera’s Cowboys From Hell before being Caught In The Mosh.
Vocalist Joey Belladonna covers every inch of stage and seeks out every audience member, even those at the back, to join him in chanting during Got The Time, Madhouse and Anti-Social. Charlie Benante’s drumming seems effortless despite the fact he is going a million miles an hour and bassist Frank Bello bounces around the stage like a kid who just found out he is the bassist for Anthrax.
The time is nigh though for Slayer. They really need no introduction, and the curtain displaying the Slayer logo does that anyway, and the band tear into their final Aussie show like a starving lion feeding on a antelopes carcass.
Gary Holt, in the iconic Kill The Kardashians t-shirt, amazing guitar solo’s filter their way through the songs while Kerry King furiously bangs his head as if his life depends on it.
All the faves are here as the mosh pits gets crazier. ‘Disciple, Mandatory Suicide and Hate Worldwide get loud cheers before the pace slows, in only a way Slayer can for When The Stillness Comes. The show is visually spectacular, using unique lightning techniques to create ambient backdrops and stage presence, while the liberal use of flames makes a mockery of the fire laws.
Slayer finish with a touching tribute to Jeff Hanneman, the former Slayer guitarist, with a beautiful backdrop change before Angel of Death fills the air. Slayer don’t need an introduction and even though their career careens towards an end, they don’t need a epilogue either. That’s because it’s Slayer. They are a way of life.
Live Review By Iain McCallum