Live Review: Samson's Metal Masters 3 – Key Club, West Hollywood
Fri, 13 Apr 2012 08:34:56
"This is just fun for us. I hope it's fun for you," smiled Philip Anselmo from the stage at the sold out Key Club last night during Samson's Metal Masters 3 show.
Let's just get this out of the way. It was more than fun; it was the best metal show that the Sunset Strip has seen this century.
The legendary Pantera and Down frontman as well as Housecore Records founder united with Slayer's Kerry King and David Lombardo, Megadeth's David Ellefson and Chris Broderick, Anthrax's Charlie Benante and Frank Bello, and Adrenaline Mob's Mike Portnoy on the stage for a memorable meeting of the metal gods.
The pedigree on stage was certainly impressive, and yet their chemistry proved even more so. After Adrenaline Mob gave a raucous opening set and the clinic concluded, these titans opened up the sky with Slayer's "Raining Blood". King flawlessly fired off the classic track's immortal riffs as Portnoy and Lombardo tore through the groove in tandem. Anselmo treated the song with reverence perfectly powering through the verse while infusing his own guttural grit. It was fierce, fiery, and focused.
Slayer's King and Lombardo remain the most ungodly awesome team out there. They're so fast it's blinding but at the same time they snap into some of the most infectious and incisive riffs of all time. Their performance last night was just more proof of Slayer's Reign in heavy music…
Without any hesitation, the blitzkrieg stormed through "Angel of Death" as both bassists—Bello and Ellefson—ripped at 200 mph with Anselmo once again nailing the demonic intensity of the track.
"You want to hear Pantera?" the singer asked. "The only way we can pull this shit off is if you sing with me."
The audience obliged of course, just in time for the 20th anniversary reissue of Vulgar Display of Power May 15. "Mouth For War" opened up with that inimitable groove rumbling through the entire Sunset Strip. Anselmo channeled an elegant aggression that's influenced a generation like only he could. He never stopped moving, stalking the stage with a demonic ferocity that was utterly inspiring. He and King locked in smoothly as the guitarist blazed through the solo with his own panache and power.
"A New Level" definitely inspired more than half of the crowd to pick up an instrument as the Masters each imbued their personal stamp. King once again delivered a juggernaut of a wah pedal solo and Portnoy's percussive mastery floored anyone within sight of the stage. "Walk" has been covered by countless metal bands, but there's still nothing as powerful as when Anselmo sings it. Broderick anchored that divine riff as the singer belted out the hook as if he were conducting a choir of the damned in hell. It was that raw and emotional…
"Ya'll want to hear a real sensitive one," Anselmo prefaced "This Love". In a joking tone, he laughed, "I wrote this song for my little sister."
Chuckles abounded throughout the room, and he continued, "What kind of asshole writes a song for his little sister?"
That sense of humor was just as sharp as the tunes throughout the night. It's a hallmark of any Pantera or Down show, and he kept everyone grinning. Metal's never seen another cat with this much charisma. Benante, "a jack of all trades", slung a guitar over his shoulder and knocked out the six-string madness just as well as he did the drums. Anselmo sounded pristine and poetic.
"Fucking Hostile" ignited an explosion in the crowd. However, the most masterful moment came when Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler joined the group for "Hole in the Sky". It was a historical moment that undoubtedly won't ever be forgotten.
Last night was everything that metal should be. It was energetic. It was awe-inspiring. It was hilarious. It was fun. That's why this genre will never die. Long live Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeth, Pantera, Black Sabbath…
Were you there?
See our review of Pantera's unreleased "Piss" here!
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