The atmosphere for Live at the Marquee this year has been amazing. Any other attendances I have made all met with “shur we we’re blessed with the weather. It’s a powerful day!”. Leave it to Slayer and Anthrax to bring the pathetic fallacy to Cork. Torrential rain and thunder are on the cards for the night that’s in it and whatever about blood, it’s absolutely pissing rain outside. Drenched and ready, we arrive to the opening bars of Anthrax’ set.
Anthrax are a band I had yet to experience, or should I say force. A band which to me, pay homage to their origins far more than the rest despite the changes in lineup, they really are a spectacle to watch. It’s hard to know how Joey Belladonna even catches a breath as he races from one side of the stage to the other.
The prowess of all on stage is captivating but watching Scott Ian on guitar in particular is a masterclass in ease, beaming from ear to ear throughout the entire set. The thrash era would have had nothing to show for itself if it were not for these guys, although Ian is probably the only remaining member of that era. Classics like ‘Caught in a Mosh’ spike the enthusiasm in the tent but even ‘Breathing Lightning’ from this year’s album, For All Kings, is impressive. A unified salute of Flying V’s held high is all that Anthrax need to gauge the audience as they leave the stage.
The album art for Slayer’s latest album, Repentless, sits impressively behind the drum kit. The bloodied pale face of Jesus Christ looks skyward, adorned by skeletons on either side and with a crack of applause and cheering, damnation takes to the stage in the form of Kerry, Tom, Gary and Paul.
Despite their difficulties in the past, Slayer are one of the most influential heavy metal bands there ever has been and their reputation is due to the fact that they write killer riffs and amazing songs. Their latest record is no different and although the vast majority of fans are here to hear the classics, the setlist is peppered with many new songs that do just as well as the back catalogue. Tracks like ‘Dead Skin Mask’ and ‘War Ensemble’ are met with the same gusto as ‘Repentless’ or ‘When The Stillness Comes’.
2016 marks the 30th anniversary of Reign in Blood, and Slayer’s craft has been refined and redefined many times over the years, but what remains unchanged is the enthusiasm to perform for their fans. Frontman Araya doesn’t have many birthdays left before his 60th and his voice is unwavering; even when confronted with the unyielding power of King, Bostaph and Holt’s instruments. In fact every member on the night play with amazing precision and to the delight of the Cork audience.
As we draw closer to the end, the revered ‘Hanneman’ banner falls behind Bostaph, a tribute of course to the late Jeff Hanneman. ‘South of Heaven’, ‘Raining Blood’ and ‘Angel of Death’ allow Slayer to finish triumphantly with the departed guitarist’s greatest work, his ‘unholy trinity’.
Photo kindly provided by Miki Barlock