Monday 26 February 2018

Anthrax Prepares to Join Slayer on their Farewell Tour

The nearly 40-year reign of the influential metal band Slayer is almost over. The band announced their farewell tour in January via YouTube video after a lengthy career stretching right back to 1981. Having weathered 12 studio albums, around 3,000 live gigs and the premature death of their guitarist together, the band have decided it’s time to hang up their hats and retire. But they’ve got one more round to go before then. 
In a follow-up Instagram post, the band released details about their final North American tour dates and the supporting bands joining them for the occasion. At the top of the supporting bill is Anthrax, another of the “Big Four” pioneers of the thrash metal genre, which includes Slayer, Metallica and Megadeth. Along with Lamb of God, Behemoth and Testament, Anthrax will be joining Slayer on every date of their North American tour between May 10 and June 20, 2018. 
Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante called Slayer’s decision to retire as the end of an era and speculated about how many bands from the same generation are currently facing a similar crossroads. Benante himself has suffered from painful carpal tunnel syndrome in recent years, forcing him to drop out of several tour dates to rest and heal. The experienced musician remains philosophical about this new chapter in the lives of many seasoned career musicians after so many decades on the scene. 
Benante’s bandmate and co-founder of Anthrax Scott Ian revealed that his first reaction to news of the tour was excitement for such a historic line-up. He supports Slayer’s choice to go out with a bang rather than a whimper and believes that founding member Jeff Hanneman’s untimely passing in 2013 contributed heavily to the decision to split. It’s understandable that after watching their beloved guitarist succumb to the effects of a nasty spider bite and cirrhosis of the liver that Slayer wants to take some time to heal and focus on their loved ones. 
Ian himself has already branched out into areas beyond music, most notably becoming a professional poker player for four or five years. After winning a celebrity tournament organized by VH1, he began to take the game more seriously and ended up having notable success in the field.  
Ian’s foray into the world of professional poker may have surprised his fans and colleagues, but the casino lifestyle has long been explored in songs and popular culture. Appearing hand in hand with the rock and roll way of life, it was perhaps most famously preserved in the song “Ace of Spades” by Ian’s sometime tour mates and friends Motorhead.  
But Motorhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister identifies himself as more of a slots man than a poker player, even installing his favorite bartop video game machine in his home. 

Regardless of other pursuits and hobbies outside of the music scene, Anthrax has pledged to join Slayer as they embark on what could be their biggest and best tour ever. It promises to be one hell of a send-off! And you can bet it will be one for history books.

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