(Written by: Cory Judge, Photography by: Paola P. Ibern)~~Metal Masters 3 ignited a sold out Key Club on the Sunset Strip just one night after the Golden God Awards rocked Los Angeles. Fans packed into the Key Club, waiting to see musical legends deliver an onslaught of metal fury. And from the first powerchord to the last they got exactly what they wanted.
The stage was set with Megadeath’s David Ellefson and Chris Broderick, Slayer’s David Lombardo, Anthrax’s Charlie Benante and Frank Bello, and Adrenalin Mob’s/ex-Dream Theater’s Mike Portnoy . What commenced was a legendary jam clinic yet to be seen or heard in West Hollywood in quite some time, and there would be more to follow.
As the thunderous session of legends roared on stage, things went South Of Heaven in a hurry when Slayer’s Kerry King came to the forefront sporting a ‘Flying V’. After the shaved head/ massive chin-bearded rock lord joined an already amazing line-up of destruction on stage, the group was almost complete. The only thing missing was a vocalist.
So who better to incorporate to this cast of rock metal history than the Cowboy From Hell himself, Pantera’s and Down’s Phillip Anselmo.
The crowd went absolutely crazy when Anselmo joined the mix, and rightfully so. The guy still moves about and takes the stage as if he owns it. Hell, as if he owns the whole building. The stance, the look, the grit, the presence, and his whole demeanor just resonates power. His eyes pierced into you, ready to take your soul. I felt as if I would get my ass kicked if I looked at the guy, and if that would have happened it would have been an honor. The presence that Anselmo still maintains on stage is chilling and impressive, and adheres to his status as one of the greats of all time.
Once the group was fully pieced and intact, there was no hesitation. In an instant they ripped right into Slayer’s “Raining Blood”. It would only be fitting that while these greats played it about as perfectly as any group could, King and Lombardo were still masters of their domain. King’s guitar riffs powered through with a melodic rawness, while Lombardo’s double bass rants and merciless striking of the kit delivered a perfect musicianship of fury.
Next the behemoth’s delivered “Angel of Death”. Anselmo brought his colossal intensity to the track. Bello and Ellefson delivered bass licks with fiery ferociousness. Benante, Portnoy, and Lombardo were flailing away on three separate drum kits, but delivering as one monster unit with their own unique style.
As soon as the leviathan’s finished the tune, they were greeted with cheers of Pantera. “You want to hear some Pantera?” Anselmo requested back to the crowd. After he made the crowd agree to sing along, they obliged us with “Mouth For War.” Anselmo was all over this one, as was King delivering a macrocosm guitar solo. Everyone was in sync. In fact, they were so in tune with one another that if felt like this was a band that had been playing together for the past 20 years.
“A New Level” kept the crowd roaring and rowdy down in the trenches. “Walk” came next and was accompanied by pure driven intensity.
Things lightened up for a minute as Anselmo had some humorous exchanges with the audience. You could tell the guys had now settled pretty well into the set list, amongst plenty of Jager shots. “You want a sensitive song?” he asked, referring to “This Love.” Which at the beginning, it did feel a little sentimental through the first verse, but by the time the chorus came it was time to close up the heavens.
“Fucking Hostile” presented waves of more sweaty armpits in a realm of mosh-pits and body slamming. The night was about to conclude, but before it did there was still one more surprise. Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler came out to join in on “Hole In The Sky.” Just when you thought the night couldn’t have been topped, it was with a truly inspirational and meaningful moment.
It was a great night that was educational and mixed with surprises. During the first half of the night the crowd was treated with a musical clinic from some of the greats, along with tales of their journey’s through their musical experience. There was even a drum session with all three drummers, Mike Portnoy, Charlie Benante, and David Lombardo firing their sticks away in blaze of maliciousness towards their kits. If each drummer and their kit represented a 6, it was definitely the 6-6-6- set.
Early in the evening, Supergroup, Adrenaline Mob, featuring drummer Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater fame, opened things up with a set that did not disappoint the head-banging audience in attendance. Each song ended to sounds of cheers and waves of metal signs, as the band quickly gained respect of a crowd that came to pay homage to the best in the business. As the set prolonged, you can feel the energy and excitement on the floor as bodies began moving and smashing into each other. It was a great start to the night, and it definitely put the buzz in the room that this was going to be a night to remember. Adrenaline Mob just released a full length studio album, Omerta’, and can be seen on tour with Kill Devil Hill Music beginning in May.