Thrash metal legends Slayer recently announced that after over 35 years of making music, the band would embark on their farewell tour. To make sure that they went out with a bang, Slayer brought with them on tour some of the biggest bands in metal. It included Lamb of God, Anthrax, Behemoth, and Testament. The second stop on the tour was the newly built FivePoint Amphitheater in Irvine, California. SoCal was so ready for this show that it sold out just days after tickets went on sale. Even on this rainy day, fans still packed the venue early on. I missed Testament due to the usual nightmare that is Southern California traffic, but luckily I made it in time for the mighty Behemoth.
Behemoth are a blackened death metal band from Poland. They are currently riding on the success from their 2014 release The Satanist which earned the #1 spot on Loudwire’s 2014 metal albums of the year. Behemoth is now cooking up new music which we will hear very soon. Behemoth came out to the sold out audience and started the show with Ov fire and the Void. Right away, you can feel the evil in the band’s music and it gave you a feeling of discomfort, yet made you headbang and raise your horns to the music. Frontman Nergal always has a way with words when interacting with the audience and announcing the next song. To introduce the second song, Nergal said to the audience, “Let us rejoice, my brethren, for God is no more. This is Demigod!” and so the second song was Demigod from Behemoth‘s famed album, Demigod. One of the highlights of the show was when Behemoth announced their upcoming album which has yet to have any info on it, but Behemoth still gave the audience a taste of new music and played a brand new track, Wolves ov Siberia. Behemoth‘s set came to an end when they played O Father O Satan O Sun!, the final track from their album, The Satanist. The song seems to be over when all the band members leave, then they come back out for the ending of the song wearing the horned masks as seen on their music for Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel. A powerful set by this fine metal band and the show was still getting warmed up.
If you’re a Slayer fan, chances are you are also a fan of thrash metal veterans, Anthrax. Alongside Slayer, Anthrax are part of the “Big 4” of thrash metal (Megadeth and Metallica being the other two). Anthrax released their newest album For All Kings in 2016. With lots of fans in the audience, Anthrax was ready to tear it up. Anthrax started the show with the always satisfying Caught in a Mosh as guitarist Scott Ian started the familiar guitar intro to the song. The song was written specifically for people in the mosh pit so naturally, a mosh pit formed right away and even crowd surfers started to make their way to the front. Thrash metal is some of the best music to see live as it always makes for crazy crowds. Anthrax proved this as they continued their thrash assault with their most popular hit, Madhouse. A song that’s super fun to sing along to, yet always makes for some insane mosh pits. Anthrax went on to play some classics like I Am the Law, Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.), and Antisocial. Anthrax never had a dull moment in their show so when it came to the end, singer Joey Belladonna asked for a huge mosh pit as they played Indians. A great way to end their set and make way for the next band.
Lamb of God are a metal band from Richmond, Virginia. On May 18, 2018, Lamb of God released a new album under their previous band name, Burn the Priest. The album’s name is Legion: XX and is an album with punk covers. The lights went out and the audience cheered as the intro vocal track for Omerta started. The band made their way to the stage and started Omerta. By this time, rain had started to descend upon the sold out audience and with the venue being outdoor, it made it difficult to withstand the rain as fans tried to shield themselves from the rain. Frontman Randy Blythe always makes sure to interact with the fans as he would talk to them and make sure everyone is having a good time. Lamb of God next played one of their popular hits Ruin followed by a song from their previous album, 512. Blythe offered the audience to take a walk with him in hell, so Lamb of God next played Walk With Me in Hell, one of their most popular songs and always drives the mosh pits wild. It was during halfway through the song when Blythe brought the song to a halt when he noticed that a fan was injured in the mosh pit. He had people move out of the way so EMT’s could get to the injured fan. What a guy. After about ten minutes, Lamb of God continued the song. Nearing the end of the show, Lamb of God played their most popular song Laid to Rest which drove the fans even crazier and has fans singing along. To end their set, Lamb of God played their Grammy-nominated song, Redneck. Blythe asked for the biggest mosh of the night and so the audience gave him just that. A wild ending for Lamb of God and still the main band of the night has yet to come on.
Kings of thrash metal Slayer are undoubtedly one of the most important metal bands of all time. The majority of bands that have come out within the last 25 years or so can say that they have been influenced by Slayer. The rain was still in effect, but that wasn’t stopping fans from having a good time. Even before Slayer came on stage, the fans were eagerly chanting, “Slayer! Slayer! Slayer!” as any Slayer audience should. The intro track Delusions of Saviour started and the stage came to life as fire started to engulf the stage, including Slayer‘s eagle logo. The band made their way to the stage and started with Repentless, the first track from their newest 2015 album, Repentless. Right away, you could feel 35+ years of thrash metal come to life as Slayer unleashed hell on the fully-packed venue. Mosh pits formed and crowd surfers kept coming. Their song Disciple is a live staple as fans love singing along to “God Hates Us All! God Hates Us All!”. All four bands members were on fire that night. Literally. As the band played, the pyro behind the stage would go off to match the rhythm of the song. Pyro makes everything better. Slayer blasted through many classic from throughout their career which included Mandatory Suicide, Black Magic, Postmortem, and Blood Red. Frontman Tom Araya took a quick break to talk to audience. He asked, “you guys wanna say WAR with me!?” the audience cheered in agreement. He asked, “are you ready!?” and the crowd cheered some more. Araya let out a powerful “WAAAAARRRRRR” along with audience as Slayer played one of their best songs, War Ensemble. Oh, how the pits went wild. Slayer dug deep into their catalog and played more old school classics like Hell Awaits, Seasons in the Abyss, and Dead Skin Mask. Slayer played South of Heaven signaling that the show was near its end. As the song ended, the band members huddled around drummer Paul Bostaph as he drummed the familiar drum pattern to their most famous song and one of the greatest songs in metal, Raining Blood. Whether you like Slayer or not, you have heard Raining Blood. Slayer played Raining Blood and everyone was seen headbanging, raising their horns, and even multiple mosh pit had broken out on the floor. Metal truly brings people together. Chemical Warfare was next and kept up the energy that Slayer had going all night. The show had come to an end and so Slayer played one of their most popular hits, Angel of Death. Araya let out one of the most infamous screams in metal which is how the song is played and is satisfying to have the scream piercing your ears. Slayer wrapped up their show and came out front and center stage to thank the audience for coming out. Araya held an intimate speech with the audience thanking them for all the years of support, “if it weren’t for you, we wouldn’t be here. Thank you and goodnight”. Slayer walked off stage as a sense of gloom covered the venue with many fans knowing that they had seen the thrash metal legends most likely for the final time.
Lamb of God