Gary Holt, guitarist for legendary thrash acts Exodus and Slayer, has revealed that he believes he has the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. As a result, he is wisely self-quarantining until he is symptom-free for seven days:

“So I’ve been locked away with [wife Lisa Holt], suffering from all the symptoms of Corona, without the beer! Mildly sick, better today after repeatedly waking up soaked in sweat last night. Self monitoring with my better half, and unfortunately, won’t be able to visit my grandkids until I’m symptom free for seven days. Ugh. Movie time, binge watching TV, and waiting this out!”


I’m sure the women and men who make Corona beer could live without Holt’s wisecrack, given that the unfortunate similarity in names is doing serious damage to their business (which, I shouldn’t have to point out, is ridiculous — Corona beer is not the source of the coronavirus). Still, this is, it goes without saying, lousy news.

Holt is just the latest notable metal/ hard rock musician to have a confirmed or suspected case of the virus, including Ozzy Osbourne producer Andrew Watt, Batushka’s Krzysztof Drabikowski, Crown the Empire’s Brandon Hoover, and an unidentified member of Slugdge. There will surely be many, MANY more cases in the coming days and weeks.

Guitarist Gary Holt (Exodus, Slayer) Self-Quarantines While “Suffering From All the Symptoms” of Coronavirus

The mighty Slayer played the final show of what’s being billed as their farewell tour in Inglewood, CA at the Forum on Saturday night November 30th. The band has been on this farewell run since last year and they’ve been making their way through the States all last month.

Tom Araya said “Thank you. Thank you very much,” at the end of their final song. “I want to thank you for sharing your time with us. Time is precious. So I thank you for sharing that time with us, thank you. I’m gonna miss you guys. But the most important thing I want to thank you for being a part of my life, thank you. Good night. You guys be safe.” Watch fan-filmed footage of the performance below

Slayer “The Final Show” Set List Nov. 30, 2019 The Forum, Inglewood, California

1. South of Heaven
2. Repentless
3. Post Mortem
4. World Painted Blood
5. Hate Worldwide
6. War Ensemble
7. Stain of Mind
8. Disciple
9. When the Stillness Comes
10. Born of Fire
11. Payback
12. Seasons in the Abyss
13. Jesus Saves
14. Chemical Warfare
15. Hell Awaits
16. Dead Skin Mask
17. Show No Mercy
18. Raining Blood
19. Mandatory Suicide
20. Angel of Death

Watch Slayer Play Their Final Farewell Concert

Written By Braddon S. Williams aka “The Concert Critic”

On this date in history, 11/11/2019, my girlfriend and I traveled to Kentucky to see Slayer one last time (or maybe not…who really knows?) as part of the Final Campaign.

This concert was held at the KFC (Yum!) Center, a terrific venue with both visual and audio superiority. Along for the show this time around were Primus, Ministry, and Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals (performing a Vulgar Display of PanterA).

I have now seen Slayer 4 times in 4 different states on this farewell world tour, and I have written about each show believing it was the end. Well, I guess I knew at Riot Fest that I still had this one lined up, but at any rate I knew the end was getting close.

First things first: Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals opened the festivities with a blistering set of PanterA classics, including A New Level, Strength Beyond Strength, This Love, Fucking Hostile, Yesterday Don’t Mean Shit, and Walk. They also slid in the verse from Goddamn Electric that name checks Slayer, “Your choices are whisky and weed and Slayer, it’s Goddamn Electric!” to great effect.

Anselmo’s voice has undergone a lot of changes over his years of smoking and other forms of abuse, but he still cuts an impressive presence on stage, and had the assembled metal masses pretty hyped throughout the Illegals’ admirable job of covering the mighty PanterA.

Next up was the Industrial Metal fury of Ministry, a band I last saw in 1992. I was ecstatic to discover that Al Jourgenson and co. haven’t mellowed in the least, and they delivered a virtual greatest hits beatdown complete with a light show that threatened to put the entire crowd in seizures.

Among my personal highlights were Stigmata, Just One Fix, N.W.O., Thieves, and an absolutely ballistic Jesus Built My Hot Rod. I sincerely hope I get a chance to see Ministry again real soon.

Primus brought their unique brand of quirkiness, odd lyrical concepts, and staggering musicianship, along with some of the best bass playing (and bass SOUND) I have ever experienced. I hadn’t seen the Primus experience since the late ’90’s, and, like Ministry, they reminded me forcefully of what a thrilling live act they can be.

Les Claypool guided the trio through epic Primus material including Those Damned Blue Collar Tweakers, Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver, Sgt. Baker, Mr. Krinkle, Too Many Puppies, My Name Is Mud, and Jerry Was A Race Car Driver.

As much as I loved all the opening acts and the sheer diversity in musical offerings; the evening belonged to Slayer. I don’t know what I can add about Slayer that I haven’t already said before, but their level of consistency and intensity during this long journey to the end of their touring life has been astonishing.

Tom Araya, Kerry King, Gary Holt, and Paul Bostaph are going out in glorious fashion, maintaining the monumental legacy of Slayer at each stop of the tour, performing like a hungry upstart band with worlds still to conquer, and the adoration that radiates between the band and the fans is a palpable force.

As I have said before, at the end of each show, Tom Araya lingers longer and longer, storing up the love and the memories, and I know I’m not alone in feeling that he is truly the one who is retiring, but as the voice of the band, Slayer goes when Tom goes.

In rock and metal, most bands that retire wind up returning after a time…so as I do in real life, I won’t say goodbye…I’ll just say “See Ya!” I hope you guys have a wonderful retirement. You’ve certainly earned it…but if you want to come back in a few years, us Slayer fanatics won’t be mad…and we’ll be ready!

On This Date in History

Written By Braddon S. Williams AKA “The Concert Critic”

On this date in history, 5/16/2019, I witnessed the end of an era. Specifically the Slayer era. I will say arguably (for the sake of argument), because in this contentious time we live in everything is up for debate, but for me personally, Slayer are the greatest Thrash Metal band to ever walk the Earth.

I was lucky to get the chance to see them twice on this final world tour they are currently staging; last year in Ohio and this time in Noblesville, IN at Deer Creek (yeah, I’m not going to use the new stupid name!).

Foul weather threatened to spoil our good time. Indeed, we were denied a performance by the mighty Cannibal Corpse due to the delayed start time.

Amon Amarth and Lamb Of God delivered suitably crushing warmup sets, but this night was all about Slayer for me, and the titans delivered the goods just as they had every other time I was privileged to witness their ferocious live attack.

Over the course of my 8 times seeing Slayer I have seen nearly every lineup they have put on a stage (never saw them with Jon Dette on drums or when Phil Demmel subbed for Gary Holt for a few shows recently), and in my opinion as long as Tom Araya was singing and Kerry King was playing those crushing Slayer riffs, it was always pure Slayer. Of course Jeff Hanneman will be forever missed and idolized, but Mr. Gary Holt has done a miraculous job of not only replicating Hanneman’s playing style, but also shining his own immense talent and charisma into the band.

Likewise, Dave Lombardo’s drumming was undoubtedly the best the genre ever produced, but Paul Bostaph is a beast in his own right, and has kept the pummeling brutality of Slayer spot on throughout his tenure with the band. On this final go around, all the expected songs were delivered in larger than life technicolor, flame enhanced glory.

The lights and sound were perfection, and South Of Heaven, Chemical Warfare, Angel Of Death, Seasons In The Abyss, War Ensemble, Disciple, Dead Skin Mask, and Raining Blood (among many others) were magical metal moments.

At the end, Tom Araya walked the stage, soaking in the adoration of his people, clearly savoring the 5 minute roaring ovation. Finally he walked to the microphone at center stage, proclaimed that there would be no speech, then simply told us he will miss us…

I think I can speak for a lot of us…we’re certainly going to miss him…and Slayer.

On This Date in History May 16, 2019 Slayer Farewell Tour

Written By Braddon S. Williams

SLAYER: WORLD PAINTED BLOOD

Slayer released their final album featuring the original lineup of Tom Araya (vocals/bass), Kerry King (guitars), Jeff Hanneman (guitars), and Dave Lombardo (drums) in 2009.

World Painted Blood is a vicious, brutal slab of punk influenced thrash metal by one of the greatest pure metal bands to ever roam the earth..

Some would argue that if you’ve heard one Slayer album, you’ve heard them all, but I personally scoff at that theory.

World Painted Blood was written primarily in the studio, and the excitement and intensity the guys brought to this project stands up quite well next to the early classics. Hanneman and King still wrote murderously heavy riffs and played their trademark psychotic interwoven leads better than anyone else,

Tom Araya still roared and screamed with raw conviction and laser intensity, and Dave Lombardo proved why he is the absolute Beast king of thrash metal drumming.

The production on this album is insane, too…just phenomenal drum and vocal mix, and razor sharp on the guitars as well.

My favorite songs include Psycopathy Red, Hate Worldwide, Americon, Playing With Dolls, Beauty Through Order, Unit 731, and the outstanding title track.

I love the way Gary Holt from Exodus has filled in for the beloved Jeff Hanneman, and Paul Bostaph has done a great job on the drums (although no-one can really replace Dave Lombardo), but World Painted Blood was our last album of the real Slayer, and it is a killer!

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Slayer. Wait…let me rephrase that…FUCKING SLAAAAYYYYYYERRRRRRR!!! Now that I have your attention, let’s discuss the greatest thrash metal album in recorded history, 1986’s majestic Reign In Blood. Clocking in at 29 minutes in its entirety, Slayer’s 3rd album is an incinerating display of aggression, precision, rage, and raw power. Dave Lombardo’s drumming propels the songs along at what were at that time truly terrifying speeds. Atop this barrage of master class thrash drumming were the flesh ripping riffs of Jeff Hanneman and Kerry KIng, who blended their trademark dissonant and atonal high velocity lead work into a twin tower of terror. Topping it all off were the throat shredding vocals of Tom Araya, who also held down the frantic bass lines. With classics Angel Of Death and Raining Blood as the bookends, the record literally never lets up for a moment, just devastatingly delivered pure American metal at its finest. This one announced Slayer’s arrival into the Big 4 of thrash metal…I see a trend starting…3 slots to come!

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind