I've somehow always managed to avoid Slayer for some reason when it comes to the live arena. Mainly due to the fact that I am not actually a huge Slayer fan. Their recent material hasn't really excited me to be honest but Repentless is a return to form. It's not an amazing thrash record but it will do. When I saw that Anthrax was the man support for this gig, I thought let me kill two birds with one stone as I've never seen Anthrax live either. I'm not a huge fan of theirs either to be honest. There was a third band on the bill Kvelertak from Norway. I've read a lot about these guys and they are very big in their homeland and Scandinavia in general but this type of black n' roll just ain't my cuppa. They played ok got a decent response although I couldn't tell you how the crowd was as the people sat on the balcony can't see the people down below at Brixton Academy.
The sound was a bit mushy for the Norwegians but they play with energy but when you can't tell one song from the next the enjoyment factor is reduced heavily. I suppose if you like a harder edged and rougher version of Motorhead this band would be up your alley. Not me though.
Next up were New York veterans Anthrax. To be perfectly honest I don't actually know the songs very well. All I can see is that Charlie on the drums is very fast and powerful, Scott Ian swings round like a loony playing fast riffs whilst Bello on bass pulls shapes. I don't know who the other guitarist is. The singer Joey is on top form energy wise and rips and round like a man half his age. It helps that he ain't carrying much timber! To be honest I found Anthrax a little bit boring. I don't own one Anthrax album apart from a best of comp so that should just about explain it. They played their allotted 50 minutes or so before leaving to rapturous applause. They must've obviously gone down very well downstairs in the hall. The new song Evil Twin didn't sound that great either although Scott was saying that if you like thrash you'll love it. Not sure about that Mr. Ian! Anthrax were ok or even great but I'm just not a huge fan but at least I've seen them live now.
And finally the band the rabid 2,500 crowd had come to see lay waste. First of all it was a nice touch by the Brixton Academy to bathe the upper stretches of the Academy in the colours of the French Tricolore in unison with France and their troubles. It took a while for the roadies to ready the stage whilst a white sheet was draped across the stage to cover their work and before long the house lights went down and you saw the band's silhouette behind the drop as the band launched in to current single Repentless. They sounded super tight and I must say Tom's vocals were pretty spot on all night. The guy has always been a slightly bit annoying but he was pretty much awesome all the way tonight. The floor must've been a heaving mass of humanity down below and even the upper seated section was packed solid with people looking for every single viewing spot.
Gary Holt on lead guitar was having a whale of a time, headbanging like his life depended on it. Kerry was doing his famous crouch down and head nodding style on the other side whilst churning out those classic Slayer riffs. Like I said the sound was much better for Slayer than the other bands as expected and they were playing like men possessed. Tom was not so animated since he can't head bang any more but more than made up for it with a perfect vocal delivery.
The stage set featured hanging upside down crosses which I find almost laughable with the lead singer being a practising Catholic! They should start acting their age and forget about the satan shit hehe. Highlights of their set were frantic opener Repentless, War Ensemble, oldies Black Magic and Die By The Sword and the final two cuts Raining Blood, Angel of Death. The set list in between was a mixture of old and new all played to perfection. People love the menacing Dead Skin Mask but I've always found that tune a bit boring but I guess it sounded pretty cool live. Some songs are not my faves and I found myself getting slightly bored during those as I don't even recognize them but when a familiar evil riff comes along the urge to head bang is strong. The final two songs of the night were the best and what a one-two combo. The perfect end to any Slayer set no doubt. So I've finally got them out of my system gig-wise, I doubt I'll ever see them live again but I did enjoy the evil thrashing machine that is the Slayer live experience.
Delusions of Saviour
God Send Death
When the Stillness Comes
Die by the Sword
Seasons in the Abyss
Dead Skin Mask
World Painted Blood
South of Heaven
Angel of Death