TVD Live Shots: Slayer, Lamb of God, Anthrax, and Obituary at the SSE Arena, 11/3

Has it really been 37 years? I remember discovering Slayer as a teenager based on the fact that they were the scariest band in the world and I was on a mission to piss off my parents. The satanic artwork that graced their album covers and t-shirts not only looked super cool, but was fascinating to a rebellious young kid looking for his place in the world.

Slayer’s music took you to another world at another time where excess was defined only by how extreme one could push contrary religious views and how heavy music could become.One could argue that Slayer has evolved into a brand, but one that was built around a relentless fan base and one that answered to no one. I spent a tremendous amount of time listening to Slayer in my youth and that time has undoubtedly influenced not only my taste in music but also who I am as an individual—rebellious, curious, questioning everything, and continuously pushing the envelope in everything I do.

So it’s bittersweet that I get to see Slayer live one last time. I’ve seen these guys numerous times over the years, and I guess that I took it for granted as I thought they would go the KISS route and tour for another decade, extracting every last ounce of value out of touring. But they decided to do something that few legacy artists do; bow out gracefully at the top of their game. That’s precisely what this show was about. How does a band wrap up a remarkable career spanning nearly four decades of chaos, ups, downs, tragedy, record label battles and mainstream media backlash? By going out with a bang, literally and figuratively.

Their final London show at the SSE arena was by far the best I’ve ever seen them. The 12,000 plus seat venue was completely sold out and the fans were going fucking ballistic. 19 songs spanning their entire catalog with an encore consisting of the bands biggest songs; “South of Heaven,” “Chemical Warfare,” and of course the epic masterpiece “Raining Blood.” It was a proper goodbye to the London fans, but the rest of the bill truly pushed it over the top.

Opening the evening where Floridian metal legends Obituary who set the tone with some old school death metal with a thrash twist. This set the stage up perfectly for fellow Big 4 Alumni Anthrax who were absolutely on fire. Joey Belladona and company delivered a Ph.D. in all things thrash metal reminding the UK that they once ruled the metal world with their signature sound and numerous anthems.

Richmond, Virginia metal titans Lamb of God took to the stage just before the headline act. While one might question the credibility of going on before a legendary band such as an Anthrax, I will tell you that Lamb of God could have easily sold out this venue on their own. It makes even more sense as this is one of the few bands that Slayer could pass the torch to who would do it justice moving forward. I will go one step further in saying that there is not a heavier band on the planet right now and these guys work their fucking asses off both on and off stage. Lamb of God continue to be the real deal and make no apologies for redefining modern metal and pushing the absolute limits of what’s possible with extreme music.

It was a proper goodbye to a band that did more for metal than anyone has since Black Sabbath invented the genre back in the late ’60s. Unlike many of their peers, the band did everything on their terms, never sold out with a ballad, and never had to “return to their roots” as they never left them behind. It was a brilliant night for metal heads all across London. Slayer has left the building, this time, for good.




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