Slayer

support Anthrax + Helhorse
author PP date 03/12/15 venue Kulturværftet, Helsingør, DEN

Whoever decided that Helsingør would be the perfect location for a bigger international show like Slayer clearly had a few drinks too many that evening. Or maybe none of the similarly-sized venues weren't available for whatever reason in Copenhagen. Either way, the regional trains are rammed with people traveling the ~55-minute journey from Copenhagen to the northern Sjælland harbour city, where we find Kulturværftet, a fully repurposed old shipyard turned into a multi-purpose cultural building with a variety of arts-related happenings taking place on a regular schedule. The concert tonight doesn't take place in the fancy glass building but rather in a long hall that clearly used to house ships in the making. Conditions for horrific echo and generally bad acoustics on paper, but, fortunately, the insides have been padded extensively with noise dampeners so the sound for both Slayer and Anthrax was great. Local openers Helhorse, well, they were not so lucky.

Helhorse

Helhorse

By the time Helhorse step on stage, the venue is half empty with easy walking access almost all the way down to the front rows. There's only so much the aforementioned acoustics improvements can do when there simply aren't enough people to block the sound from bouncing around the venue given the band's early start. Predictably, this results in an atrociously bad sound: not only is it annoyingly quiet, but the guitar/bass mixture is so muddled it's not possible to make out the guitar riffs, let alone the vocals which are practically nonexistent. A monumental challenge for the band to tackle, which they try to compensate for by performing with their usual energy. Lead vocalist Mikkel Larsen is bouncing all over the place, secondary vocalist Aske Kristiansen occasionally bends over screaming, and the rest of the band deliver the groove-laden Southern hardcore in good stature. It doesn't take long until all but Aske are shirtless on stage and drenched in sweat, just the way it should be. Unfortunately, we get very little out of it given the terrible sound quality.

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Anthrax

Anthrax

The front parts of the venue disappear into a smoke cloud just before Anthrax enter stage. The sound issues Helhorse had have magically disappeared as everyone is here on time for the 9 pm start for the thrash metal legends. Their expression has always been fueled by rock'n'roll energy and a tongue-in-cheek vibe, which is a big part of why the band are so enjoyable live every time. Vocalist Joey Belladonna is constantly displaying hilarious facial expressions, twirling his fingers during a guitar solo, or just pointing at another Anthrax member engaged in something noteworthy. It's such a charismatic way to perform with pure showmanship that it becomes infectious as the band's energy rubs onto the crowd. For "Madhouse", we are all singing along to the classic lyrics and a circle pit opens, which in particular has Belladonna using said expressions to his advantage, happily smiling and generally looking like he's having the time of his life right now. Then for "Antisocial", he feigns an orchestral conductor by lowering and raising his hands to get us to scream "wooahs" that make up a part of the backing chorus for the song. The sing along echoes in the old ship yard at this point as the signature rock'n'roll fueled thrash metal of theirs wins us over. New song "Evil Twin" sounds pretty good, but it is "Indians" which draws the biggest chant along from the crowd tonight. The banners change into colourful pictures of Dio as we pay our tributes to the heavy metal legend before we finish off with "In The End" and "Among The Living". As usual, Anthrax deliver a great show full of pure entertainment and display lighthearted approach to metal that many other likeminded contemporary peers could benefit from.

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Setlist:

  • 1. Caught In A Mosh
  • 2. Got The Time
  • 3. Madhouse
  • 4. Antisocial
  • 5. Evil Twin
  • 6. Fight 'Em 'Til You Can't
  • 7. Indians
  • 8. March Of S.O.D.
  • 9. In The End
  • 10. Among The Living

Slayer

Slayer, on the other hand, offer a polar opposite view to thrash metal than Anthrax. This is serious fucking business folks, as the circling Slayer pentagram logos on the curtain suggest. A smoke bomb sets off and drops the curtain, and on stage we see four giant upside down crosses attached to the ceiling, which function both as moving objects and clever lights to illuminate the backdrop behind the band. Evil stuff, fitting Tom Araya's heretical and hateful lyricism perfectly. "Repentless" from the new album perfectly demonstrates that Slayer is still capable of, yes, slaying a great thrash metal song even at their old age, even if the reception is notably better for "God Hates Us All" classic "Disciple". Here, we all shout back the key passage "GOD HATES US ALL" back at the band, whose impeccably played instrumentals on stage never cease to impress me. One of the tightest bands alive is what they say about Slayer, and that still holds true.

Slayer

Tom Araya holds a lengthy speech about how we need to "be aware" with what is happening in the world, in allusion to both the Paris terror attacks but also to the general state of what is going on in the world at large. "Are you ready?", he asks, before launching yet into another primal scream. The huge crosses move up and down, and an impressive combination of lasers and other lights create a spectacular light show that helps distract from the fact that aside from headbanging, not much is happening on stage. Then again, guitarist Kerry King is essentially the best example of how raucous headbanging doesn't necessarily need to include any hair: a funky beard is enough. Behind the band, a tormented picture of a tortured Jesus is illuminated, while spotlights follow each band member during the many, many solos we hear tonight. "Chemical Warfare" is a mid-set highlight, whereas the dazzling fretwork during the evil-sounding solos is a constant display of technical prowess.

Slayer

As usual, Slayer delivers an utterly professional, yet sufficiently mean and pissed off set of thrash metal at its very best. Tonight's setlist is nicely balanced across nine different albums albeit with four tracks coming off the new album, which means some of the genre's absolute classics are on display in tight fashion, blended with a few new ones. "Raining Blood" and "Angel Of Death" provide a great finish to what is already an excellent Slayer showing: angry, raw, unpolished and totally pissed off and angry about the state of the world and the people in it.

Setlist:

  • 1. Repentless
  • 2. Postmortem
  • 3. Hate Worldwide
  • 4. Disciple
  • 5. God Send Death
  • 6. War Ensemble
  • 7. When the Stillness Comes
  • 8. Take Control
  • 9. Mandatory Suicide
  • 10. Chemical Warfare
  • 11. Die by the Sword
  • 12. Black Magic
  • 13. Vices
  • 14. Seasons in the Abyss
  • 15. Hell Awaits
  • 16. Dead Skin Mask
  • 17. World Painted Blood
  • 18. South of Heaven
  • 19. Raining Blood
  • 20. Angel of Death

Photos by: Stefan Frank thor Straten

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