GIG REVIEW: SLAYER, ANTHRAX & Kvelertak Live At Brixton Academy, London
Slayer’s November 2015 tour around the United Kingdom coincided with fellow tours of the region from metal greats such as Judas Priest and Megadeth, and followed the release of the band’s twelfth full-length album Repentless, which was the first of the band’s records not to feature original guitarist Jeff Hanneman, instead having acclaimed Exodus main-man Gary Holt fill in for him since Hanneman’s tragic passing in May 2013. Slayer brought along the mighty Anthrax and the Norwegian rock and roll/black metal hybrid fusion of Kvelertak along as the tour’s support acts, making for an impressive line-up of bands.
As with many dates on the tour, Slayer managed to sell out London’s famed Brixton Academy venue. As was expected, Kvelertak opened the show and performed an assortment of material from their two studio albums released so far. Kvelertak rushed through various songs including “Ulvetid”, “Nekroskop”, and “Bruane Brenn”, before bringing their set to a gradual conclusion with their band’s namesake song, “Kvelertak”. The band received a lukewarm reception for the audience, which is understandable due to the legacy of the bands that Kvelertak was billed with for this tour.
The very highly respected New York thrash metal band Anthrax was the direct support act for this tour, and received an overwhelmingly positive reception from those in attendance. Frontman Joey Belladonna, guitarist Scott Ian, and the rest of the band hammered through what was essentially a greatest hits set, which included obvious cuts such as “Caught in a Mosh”, “Indians”, and “Among the Living”. Anthrax also performed a number of cover songs throughout their set time, which included “Antisocial”, “March of the S.O.D”, and “Got the Time”. The band also performed a new song from their upcoming February 2016 album For All Kings, entitled “Evil Twin”, which the crowd seemed to enjoy.
The final band to play at London’s Brixton Academy on this night was headliners Slayer, quick off the bat of the release of their album Repentless. Readying the crowd with “Delusions of Saviour”, the band fired on all cylinders by opening with the title track “Repentless”, before launching straight into “Postmortem” and “Hate Worldwide”. Some of the band’s other new songs from Repentless were included, such as “Take Control”, “When the Stillness Comes, “and Vices”, even though “Implode” was noticeably absent from Slayer’s setlist. Fan favourites such as “Dead Skin Mask”, “Mandatory Suicide”, “Chemical Warfare” and “Disciple”, lesser known cuts such as “Die by the Sword” and “God Send Death”, as well as the band’s big hitters such as “War Ensemble”, “Seasons in the Abyss” and “Black Magic”, led to an encore consisting of the trio of “South of Heaven”, “Raining Blood”, and “Angel of Death”, which led the proceedings to a close.
All in all, Slayer’s performance at Brixton Academy ended up being a resounding success. Anthrax performed incredibly well as a support act alongside the positive crowd reaction, and it was my first introduction to Kvelertak as a live band.