The Hard Rock Goes Thrash With Slayer and Anthrax

By on October 2, 2016


Kerry King-Slayer (Photo-Travis Failey)

Walking into a show like Slayer at the Hard Rock is always a funny experience. Because the venue is inside of Universal’s City Walk, you get to see droves of gloves-and-black clad metal fans having to figure out things like parking and security among the hundreds of happy families.


(Photo-Will Ogburn)

This one was huge, and the metalheads were in the majority – or at the very least approaching even with the common theme park goers on that pleasant evening in Central Florida.

They packed the house before Death Angel, the opener, was even warmed up, and they stayed all night for a chance to party with two of the most legendary metal acts of all time.


(Photo-Will Ogburn)


 The classic sound of Anthrax is synonymous with 80s thrash metal, and metal in general. Some of their biggest hits in “Only, “the iconic “Madhouse”, and the rap fusion tracks “Bring the Noise” and “I’m the Man” weren’t on the setlist as this tour was all about their recent album, For All Kings.


(Photo-Will Ogburn)

Anthrax took the stage in with much pomp and circumstance, opening with “You Gotta Believe” from the aforementioned, For All Kings. The hard-hitting song’s slow buildup had fans at a fever pitch before the thrashing guitars sent them into a fury.


(Photo-Will Ogburn)

The next highlight in the set was their cover of Joe Jackson’s “Got the Time”. The sped-up “metalized” track was perfect for the huge crowd, who had a mosh pit going since midway through the first song.


(Photo-Will Ogburn)

The band’s presence, as well as their energy, was legendary. Each member was constantly moving – frontman Joey Belladonna was winking, swinging the mic around, and dancing. Bassist Frank Bello was a mass of hair and thrash, as he jumped, kicked, and shredded throughout the whole set. Bello is a monster on backing vocals as is metal icon, guitarist Scott Ian


(Photo-Travis Failey)

Their chemistry was unmatched, with being on stage seeming so effortless. For a minute, they passed and an invisible joint between themselves as they played.


(Photo-Will Ogburn)

Another cover, “Antisocial” was the next high point, as the crowd sang along with the catchy chorus.

The setlist was mainly driven by For All the Kings, with four of the nine songs coming from the album. Fans seemed to know most of the new tracks, an impressive feat for a band with 30 plus years of history.


(Photo-Will Ogburn)

Anthrax closed their set with an encore featuring the recent single, “Breathing Lightning” and the epic anthem “Indians.” It was a standard opening set for the boys from the Queens with Ian stating that they will be back in the spring for a headlining tour.



(Photo-Will Ogburn)


 The metal kings took the stage with an intro fit for one.

A giant cloth barrier was hoisted up in preparation for their set. As the clock got closer to 9:30, the chants of “Slay-er” grew louder and louder. Suddenly, a spotlight cut on and red and silver Slayer logo danced across the curtain, and the crowd went absolutely wild.


(Photo-Will Ogburn)

The curtain took the stage and the quick drumbeats of “Repentless” turned the crowd into a giant, moving, cheering mosh pit.

Slayer’s demeanor was much different than Anthrax’s, much less serious and surprisingly chill for such a heavy band. Frontman Tom Araya is a calming presence, while the iconic Kerry King strikes fear in peoples’ hearts with his tattoo-covered body and grimacing face.


(Photo-Will Ogburn)

Araya’s welcoming smile is interesting for someone who’s never seen the band live. In between bone-shaking riffs he smiles pleasantly, waving at the crowd with all the sincerity of a death metal Santa Clause. Meanwhile, King’s image is reminiscent of a Mortal Kombat villain, heavy chains swinging from his belt.


You can tell that these guys really, really enjoy their jobs.The setlist was huge and all encompassing, with songs from eight different albums. Though this tour is to promote 2015’s Repentless, their latest album, they spliced in tracks from nearly every stage of their career.

Also unlike Anthrax, they embraced their sort of radio hits and fans ate them up. This was one of the best crowds I’ve ever seen at Hard Rock, and they went absolutely mental for “Raining Blood”, “Angel of Death”, and “Hell Awaits.”

Other hits included “You Against You”,  “War Ensemble”, and “Disciple.”


(Photo-Will Ogburn)

The crowd was in it for the experience, and they headbanged along with every song. Over the course of the 20-song setlist, the fans never showed signs of stopping and neither did Slayer. With most of the fans in their 30’s or 40’s, and the show lasting until well past 11, there were sure to be some hangovers and sore throats and necks on Wednesday. But isn’t that a given the day after a thrash metal show headlined by the Mighty Slayer??

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