GIG REVIEW: Slayer, Anthrax & Death Angel Live at The Fillmore Auditorium, Denver
It’s no secret that Denver, CO has one hell of a strong metal scene; so when two of thrash metal’s “Big 4” hit the road this Fall, The Fillmore Auditorium sold out – on a Monday night! The Repentless World Tour was announced months ago, way back in the Spring, but it created quite the stir featuring thrash titans Slayer, Anthrax, and Death Angel. Whether or not you buy into the “Big 4” or agree with their titles, these bands (including Death Angel & arguably many others) changed the heavy metal world with their 1980’s development and popularization of the sound we now know as thrash metal. Our metal world would be an entirely different place today without them, and even though the bands may not sound the same as they did thirty years ago, they still draw a massive, energetic crowd. With every show these guys add under their belts, they earn more and more respect and adoration from their fans – and these guys show no signs of slowing down. In fact, all three bands are using this tour to celebrate new releases.
I made sure to get down to the venue early. Not only did I want to make sure I made it in time for Death Angel, but parking down at the Fillmore is absolutely dreadful. I was shocked I actually found a spot in a parking lot, instead of the usual random parallel parking nightmare in some residential hipster neighborhood. The line already wrapped around the block when I got there, and seemingly grew exponentially by the time I got my photo pass. Luckily, this venue takes care of their press, and they allowed me to sneak in the side and skip the line entirely.
Death Angel was one of the first thrash metal bands I truly fell in love with. Back in the day, thrash was my scene. Most people know today, I am all about that power metal and classic heavy metal, but I still have a huge soft spot for thrash. The San Francisco-based five piece played a relatively short set, but managed to hit just about every great release from their repertoire, including the brand new track, “The Moth” which proved that these guys still have the same strength behind their writing as they did back in 1987 with my favorite release, ‘The Power Violence’. Without a doubt though, seeing “Thrown to the Wolves” live for the first time was probably the highlight of my night.
Anthrax was up next, and while I was never much of a fan, I grew up watching guitarist Scott Ian all over various music television. I’d been listening to some of their newer music to prepare for the show, and honestly, they are not my thing anymore. Live however, they were a total blast. Watching vocalist Joey Belladonna interacting with the crowd was hilarious, because I am sure he was hinting at everyone smoking weed. Of course the guys played “Caught in a Mosh” and the venue went absolutely nuts. I was pretty surprised at just how much of the crowd was into Anthrax. I just assumed most of the people there were there for Slayer, but I was totally wrong.
The greatest moment of the night, a moment that had my inner teenager crying out of happiness on the inside, was standing to the side of the photo pit as Slayer’s “Delusions of Saviour” played and crosses slowly inverted on a curtain covering the stage. I used to listen to Slayer daily, but growing up in the middle of nowhere meant I never got the chance to see them live. So now, twelve years later, I finally got the chance to not only see these guys live, but be mere inches away from my childhood heroes, photographing them. They opened with the new track “Repentless” and only two songs in played one of my all time favorites, “Disciple”. I try not the be ‘that girl’, but I was totally screaming along from the photo pit – trying to be professional while screaming “God hates us all!” is not easy.
All in all, this was a fantastic night. This venue is one of my favorite venues for the larger metal shows that come to the area, while still being intimate. The show was a refreshing change from the shows I have seen lately, as everyone had incredibly high energy – but the crowd stayed civil and had an all around good time. I was happy to see Slayer’s setlist so full of older songs, but was totally honored to be in the presence of all of these thrash icons throughout the night. The ‘growing up’ that I have done has caused me to stray away from thrash for the most part, but this show really ignited the fire inside that I once held for this amazing genre. I actually put more Slayer songs on my iPod the night we got home.
This tour has a few more dates left, in Canada and the southwest United States – so if you see it coming near you, don’t pass it up! Even if you ‘grew out of Slayer’ at some point years ago, you will have a good time. I promise!