SLAYER / LAMB OF GOD / ANTHRAX / OBITUARY - Wembley Arena, London 03.11.18

WILL HORSMAN

After almost 4 decades of aggression and the untimely demise of founding member and guitarist Jeff Hanneman 5 years ago, California thrash titans SLAYER decided earlier this year to call time on their illustrious and controversial career.

 

Having gifted humanity with some of the most memorable guitar riffs, drum beats and ear-drum shattering screams to have crept from the depths of the extreme metal scene, SLAYER have lyrically covered pretty much every topic possible - taking absolutely no prisoners along the way. It’s clearly made an impression on metal fans across the UK as it’s enabled them to sell-out the capitals second biggest arena.

 

The fans disappointment at the prospect of this being the last time ever is understandable but if their American schedule is anything to go by (announcing a second American tour before the first had barely even started) you do wonder how permanent forever really is.

 

The night gets off to a horrible start for us as, thanks to London traffic and a bizarre queue to get in an hour after doors have opened, we don’t make it into the venue until OBITUARY have long gone from the stage. Luckily, we make it in time for New York thrash legends ANTHRAX. A band who need no introduction and have almost literally done it all over the years, they make for an obvious choice of support band for an occasion such as this. Forming one half of ‘The Big Four’ alongside SLAYER and carrying absolute monster hits like ‘Madhouse’ and ‘Caught in a Mosh’, ANTHRAX are the perfect band to get the crowd ready for tonight’s headliner. 

 

Anthrax are: 

Scott Ian – Guitar

Charlie Benante – Drums

Frank Bello – Bass

Joey Belladonna – Vocals

Johnathan Donais – Guitar

 

You can find them at:

https://anthrax.com/

https://twitter.com/Anthrax

 

Hailing from Richmond mother-fuckin’ Virginia, LAMB OF GOD continue the theme of an absolute top-drawer line-up and are the perfect band to be playing main support on this farewell tour both throughout the UK and the USA. With their signature blend of groove, speed and all-out aggression, they really do deserve their title of being ‘Pure American Metal’. 

 

Walking out to a new take on the classic spoken intro to set opener ‘Omerta’, LAMB OF GOD waste no time justifying SLAYER’s choice to bring them on this tour. Everything is so tight and on-point you wouldn’t see for looking that drummer Chris Adler is notably absent and replaced with Prong drummer Art Cruz taking over duties behind the kit. In spite of this, ‘Ruin’ still makes its way into tonight’s set list – of course, I had to keep a close eye on the drum riser for that fill. Sadly, but perhaps not coincidentally, Randy Blythe takes it upon himself to stand right in front of the kit during the fill, throwing himself to the stage below as the song drops. 

 

The whole set is high octane and mosh pits are in abundance around the standing area. Fan favourites ‘Walk With Me In Hell’ and ‘Now You’ve Got Something To Die For’ really seem to strike a chord with the audience, let alone the adrenaline-inducing ‘Laid to Rest’ and set closer ‘Redneck’ which almost had the biggest circle pit Wembley will have ever seen, were it not for the unfortunate group who hit the deck as quickly as they came.

It’s a shame to see that ‘Black Label’ hasn’t made the cut for tonight’s setlist but the unmistakable riff makes it into the last 5 seconds of the set. If for some bizarre reason there was anyone here tonight who didn’t know who LAMB OF GOD were, they sure as hell do now. 

 

Lamb of God are:

Randy Blythe – Vocals

Mark Morton – Guitar

Willie Adler – Guitar

John Campbell – Bass

Art Cruz (filling in for Chris Adler) – Drums

 

You can find them at:

https://en-gb.facebook.com/lambofgod/

https://www.lamb-of-god.com/

 

So, for the last time ever, it’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for. The backdrop rises, the lights go down, the intro track blares out over the sound system and literally, ALL the fire appears on the stage.

What ensues over the next hour and a half is nothing short of a master class in thrash and death metal.

 

Every song you could possibly want from a SLAYER ‘Greatest Hits’ makes the set list - all accompanied by flamethrowers, walls of fire behind pentagrams and upside down crosses being shot around in flames. There are countless backdrops covered in gruesome images depicting various random skulls and, of course, Jesus Christ from the Repentless album cover. 

 

There’s something certainly different about hearing 12,500 people screaming the words “GOD HATES US ALL!” during ‘Disciple’, something only SLAYER could bring out in people. Classic hits ‘Postmortem’, ‘Dead Skin Mask’, ‘South of Heaven’ and, of course, ‘Rain In Blood’ get absolutely everyone in attendance losing their mind side to side, front to back. There’s no time for an encore tonight as they go almost instantly from ‘Hell Awaits’ into ‘South of Heaven’ but it is an incredible touch when they close the set with ‘Angel of Death’ complete with ‘ANGEL OF DEATH Hanneman 1964-2013 STILL REIGNING’ backdrop. 

 

After the set, you very much get the distinct impression that Tom Araya can’t bring himself to leave the stage. He savours every single moment with the audience, appreciating and soaking up the adulation and adoration. We can pray for a second leg of the UK tour to be announced after this but there are only two guys who can make that happen. If his reaction is anything to go by, Tom Araya may have already made his mind up!

 

Slayer are:

Tom Araya – Vocals and Bass

Kerry King – Guitar

Gary Holt – Guitar

Paul Bostaph – Drums

 

You can find them at:

https://www.slayer.net/

https://twitter.com/Slayer

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