A few years back, metal giants Slayer teamed up with fellow “Big Four” bands Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax for a limited run of shows wherein the ‘80s-borne thrash titans demonstrated why they’ve bested their competitors and outlasted all imitators.
Now Slayer and Anthrax are joining forces again for a North American tour in support of their latest studio albums: Slayer’s Repentless was the quartet’s highest-charting debut ever, and Anthrax’s For All Kings entered the Billboard 200 at an impressive #7.
It just so happens that the tour kicks off Sept. 9 with a Friday night gig here in Cleveland, at Jacobs Pavilion in the Flats District.
Repentless (featuring “Implode” and “Atrocity Vendor”) marks the return of drummer Paul Bostaph, who recorded and toured with the Huntington Park hellions from 1994-2001. It is also former Exodus guitarist Gary Holt’s recording debut as a full-fledged member, after three years filling in on tour for Jeff Hanneman.
Hanneman (who cofounded the group with singer / bassist Tom Araya and guitarist Kerry King) passed away in 2013.
New York metal mavens Anthrax also boast a new gunslinger: Jonathan Donais (Shadows Fall) replaces departing Rob Caggiano (Volbeat) on the incendiary For All Kings (featuring “You Gotta Believe” and “Blood Eagle Wings”)—which marks singer Joey Belladonna’s second since returning to the band—and will be onstage with Belladonna, Scott Ian (guitar), Frank Bello (bass), and Charlie Benante (drums).
Also on the bill are California thrash contemporaries Death Angel, who also released a new disc (The Evil Divide) in recent months.
Formed in 1983, Slayer has constantly courted controversy with its dark lyrics (which often depict war violence and serial killings) and gruesome cover art. They’ve been accused of being anti-Christians and Nazi sympathizers, but Araya and King have always insisted they’re merely entertainers whose music gravitates toward humanity’s ugly underbelly. Their 1986 effort Reign in Blood has been long-heralded as a masterpiece of the genre, while 1990’s Seasons in the Abyss saw the quartet break deeper into the mainstream with MTV hit “War Ensemble.”
Anthrax began as an unassuming but aggressive five-piece in Queens, New York in 1981. They turned heads with 1983’s Fistful of Metal, but it wasn’t until the addition of Belladonna that the band’s rapid-fire aesthetic truly took shape. Spreading the Disease, Among the Living, and Persistence of Time catapulted the group to metal’s upper echelons—but these wise guys were never afraid to dip their toes into rap, either. Indeed, Anthrax was the first major metal act to embrace hip-hop, having cut the beat-centric (and sample-decorated) I’m the Man EP in 1987 and collaborating with Public Enemy for “Bring the Noise” in 1991.
Former longhairs and leather Lotharios can expect a glorious mix of old and new when the two heavyweights hit the road. Tickets are on sale now.
Slayer, Anthrax, Death Angel. Friday, September 9, 2016 at Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica (2014 Sycamore Street, Cleveland OH 44113). Tickets $25-$76.00. Advance tickets available here..