Saying goodbye to the most brutal & notorious band in history - Maybe.
Slayer w/ Anthrax, Testament & more - June 19th - The Bomb Factory - Dallas, TX
Much has been made that Slayer announced that this tour, after almost 37 years as a band would be there last,however Slayer’s music seems destined to live forever. It was the antithesis of the religious majority that controlled the country in the 1980s, & when the band’s second full-length album, Hell Awaits, dropped in 1985, it was as if Satan had escaped hell to join the band. I was at the perfect age for this to be the ideal demographic for such brilliant & rebellious music with such undeniable intensity & it never left. I spent my 21st birthday in this very building with these guys & the first "legal" drink I ever consumed was offered to me by guitarist Kerry King, I couldn't have planned it to be more Metal.
So that's why this feels so personal & special & must attend as 4K + fans who feel like I do understood that not attending wasn't an option.
But let's get into the facts here: All nostalgia, aside they haven't really been Slayer for the entireity of this decade - Founder/Guitarist & Principal songwriter Jeff Hanneman is dead & drummer Dave Lombardo who single handedly launched a blast-beat revolution in the 80's & 90's whose name alone is synonmous with power is gone. No disrespect to now & again replacement Paul Bostaph but their is literally NO ONE that prefers him over Lombardo.
So basically half of Slayer has tried to continue & with great help - Hanneman was replace by probably the only person on earth that could at least attempt to step into those shoes Exodus' Gary Holt. They even released new music with 2015's Repentless that was a glaring writing on the wall. As fans we like to think of Slayer as 4 individuals & in terms of aesthetic & magic that is correct & what makes them so special. However in reality, Hanneman WAS Slayer - all those songs you love, he wrote them - trying to write an LP without him proved to be something they were only going to attempt once & that is a wise decision.
So now this tour - For whatever reason this amazing show, loaded with acts that could fill the place on their own was at this much smaller room, I'm assuming that the promoter's other rooms were previously booked. It certainly wasn't because they were interested in doing smaller intimate venues, which while made this the most unique (& certainly the most intimate) of the tour thus far it also caused alot of limitations. The rest of the country apparently got this crazy pyro opening ( I refuse to consult YouTube as I wanna see it for myself) that had to be scrapped for this venue.
Here's the thing that no one seems to be talking about in the reviews I've read or heard from attendees is that it's remarkable how UNREMARKABLE this show is. At least Slayer's contributions go - it's the same tired old setlist they've been trotting out for almost a decade. Sure their is a few tracks here & there that popped up but none that had any can't-miss reaction. One of my oldest friends that couldn't make the show that has seen every Slayer tour that's hit Dallas in the over 25 years was actually relieved when I showed him the setlist after the show. This is your last go around & you didn't bother to learn any of your old songs that your loyal fans, perhaps the most loyal on Earth have been literally screaming for all this time? While they covered a bit of ground here, this wasn't the inspired career retrospective one of kind, end of the world monolith that's being suggested. Chances are you've already seen this show & I'm not talking about it's current 2018 incarnation, but if you'be seen Slayer even once the past 10 years, this wasn't much different.
Which leads me to my next point - Now it's still Slayer & if this was your first time seeing it live, you left very entertained but this show seemed to be about so much more than that originally. Singer/Bassist Tom Araya seemed like he's already retired, he showed up slimmer & clean shaven for the first time in years & it seemed all he was missing was an Hawaiian shirt, he was there in person, but it seemed like you could feel him going "one less show to do before I can go home".
When the Stillness Comes
Seasons in the Abyss
Dead Skin Mask
South of Heaven
Angel of Death
Lamb Of God
Previous to Slayer's final bow was a stacked up lineup as mentioned that could easily fill this room (In fact I saw less than half of this lineup Lamb of God & Anthrax sell it out themselves just two years ago & neither was on any farewell tour) So we will go in reverse order here: I had to in person so you must in text haha - If I had my way this band would have gone on first so I could have skipped it. Admittedly I'm just not a LOG person & now having seem them live 3 times now, I'm still not, I don't get the appeal, their is literally nothing original here & their "singer" looks like a loitering homeless guy. I do understand however, that you have to be a specific age for this band to matter to you & I'm cool with that.
Again, I'll do my best to remain partisan here but I was actually offended when Anthrax had to open for LOG last time & I'm offended once more. This is a fellow Big 4 member, how do you let another band come between that on a show like this (& make who easily would top The Next 4 go on first)?
However, my 22+ years in the music business doesn't offer me the kind of naivete that doesn't understand this - Facts are facts even if they are sad ones & Lamb of God are a much bigger band than Anthrax.
That didn't stop the mighty 'Thrax from blowing them offstage (again) & virtually stealing the night.
Great to see Charlie Benante back behind the drum kit where he belongs (he's been taking a break from touring off & on for the past few years which leads to the will he or won't he be there tonight). The difference is huge, an Anthrax show isn't a rare thing (& that's a wonderful thing) in 2018 & they are performing at the top of their game with their most recent For All Kings LP is one of their best.
They'be been through so many lineup & changes aesthetically that sometimes I forget that this is 4 of the same 5 guys I first saw waaaaay back in 1989 on the Headbanger's Ball tour that literally changed my life.
Caught in a Mosh
Got the Time (Joe Jackson cover)
I Am the Law
Antisocial (Trust cover)
In the End
I knew nothing of Behemoth before this show (though my friends claim that we've seen them before) & I will say that while initially they will probably never be my thing, I thought that were excellent & alot of fun & would totally make an effort to see them again. Glad they went on second, it's just that it should have been AFTER Lamb of God.
Opening this insane (& at 5:30pm no less) is Bay Area thrash legends Testament who as previously mentioned would easily fill the Next 4 of thrash of such a thing existed who did not disapoint as usual. One of the best live heavy bands you will ever see still doing at the highest level & criminal they went on first & got a measley 25 mins to play to a mostly empty room still stuck in rush hour traffic.
You'll get your chance again & soon and along with Anthrax as well as the two greats are touring together with Napalm Death as part of another great package this Summer.
Brotherhood of the Snake
The Pale King
Into the Pit
The New Order
Disciples of the Watch
All in all the evening seemed to go by too fast even with all of this music & if this is truly Slayer's last hurrah in Dallas it was a muted one but changes nothing of some of the best memories of life have been because of this band & provided the soundtrack to countless, priceless moments from my youth & to that I will always be grateful. Rest in Power my friends.