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

SLAYER has released a five-minute “fan-appreciation” video featuring footage from the band’s recently completed North American tour with LAMB OF GOD and BEHEMOTH. Check it out below.

In a recent interview with Full Metal Jackie‘s nationally syndicated radio show, SLAYER guitarist Kerry King spoke about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the band’s follow-up to 2015’s “Repentless” album. He said: “We do have six to eight [new] songs [partially recorded], for sure. A couple of ’em are lyrically done, a couple of ’em got leads. They were all recorded at the ‘Repentless’ sessions, so unless the lyrics change the arrangement, they don’t need to be recorded again. So all I really gotta do is write five… I don’t know… maybe four or five more songs and get a whole bunch of lyrics together. Half the work’s done for the next record, so, in my book, that’s exciting. To where ‘Repentless’ was an incredibly daunting effort, this one should be a lot more laid back.”

Asked if SLAYER has any plans or timeline on when they would like to release the next studio album, King said: “It depends on touring — getting time to rehearse, getting time to make up new stuff. We haven’t even done Australia on this run yet at all. We’re hitting Japan finally later this year. But if things go well, I’d like to record next year. But timelines change all the time.”

SLAYER‘s August 5 concert at the Forum in Inglewood, California was reportedly filmed for a forthcoming DVD.

“Repentless” was released in September 2015 via Nuclear Blast. The disc debuted at No. 4 on The Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 50,000 equivalent album units.

Slayer

SLAYER Releases Summer 2017 North American ‘Fan Appreciation’ Video

On this date in history, 7/15/2012, the 5th installment of the Mayhem Festival made its annual visit to Deer Creek, and my friends and I were part of the metal masses in attendance.

This show featured Slipknot, Slayer, Motörhead, As I Lay Dying, Anthrax, The Devil Wears Prada, Asking Alexandria, Whitechapel, Upon A Burning Body, I The Breather, Dirtfedd, Betraying The Martyrs, Hemlock, and our hometown heroes, the mighty Threat Level.

I am unable to comment on each band, but will do my best to spotlight the bands I enjoyed the most and welcome comments from anyone in attendance who may wish to fill in the blanks and give a review on any of their favorites.

The first band to attract my interest was Upon A Burning Body, but as good as they were, they were absolutely obliterated by Whitechapel, who played a singularly vicious set, raising the brutality bar to the highest echelons of intensity.

Anthrax have long been a favorite of mine, and they appeared to be in fine form on this day, but I was only able to catch 2 or 3 songs before I had to make my way to the stage where my friends in Threat Level were set to detonate the crowd gathered for their crushing performance. The band; comprised of Frank Rapacki on vocals, Troy Welch on guitar, Jason Weaver on bass, and Chad Smith (not THAT Chad Smith) on drums, had won a regional battle of the bands to secure their spot on this show and they made the most of it, impressing the large and boisterous assembly awaiting the band’s powerful blend of groove and thrash metal, topped by Rapacki’s roaring voice. Some fierce pit action accompanied favorites from their Leading The Vicious and A World Beyond Devastation albums.

After a much needed break following Threat Level’s set, I was ready for the trinity of terror comprised of Motörhead, Slayer, and Slipknot. Lemmy and company were a band on my bucket list and they were every bit as wonderful as I expected them to be. Mickey Dee drummed like a man possessed, Phil Campbell provided the guitar carnage, and the immortal Lemmy played the superhuman, jet propulsion bass and rasped out his one of a kind and singularly irreplaceable vocals on a set full of thunderous Motörhead majesty, including  “Ace Of Spades”, and “Overkill”, with its 2 false endings and the furious finale with nothing but truth.

Slayer followed with their diabolical majesty, continuing the onslaught that wouldn’t abate until the concert ended. Dave Lombardo was still in the drum throne at this time, and for my money he is the undisputed king of metal drumming. Jeff Hanneman was absent by this time and Gary Holt from the band Exodus did an admirable job of filling some nearly impossible shoes to fill. Kerry King and Tom Araya did what they have always done, with King hammering the riffs with beastly intent and causing sonic disturbances and eardrum lacerations with his punishing leads, and Araya summoning up that VOICE, the mouthpiece for the Slaytanic war ensemble.

A crushing performance it was…and this left the 9, the masked minions of Mayhem, the circus of the damned known as Slipknot to take us to the finish line as only they can. Joey Jordison was the 3rd and final superpowered drummer I had the joy to witness back to back to back in this amazing display of ferocious multi limb dexterity. Corey Taylor added his voice to the hall of fame duo of Lemmy and Araya, and the rest of the Iowa based madmen did what they do, delivering visual thrills and chills and a whole lot of metallic bombast.

This one may not have been the strongest lineup overall, but it definitely was the one with the strongest 1-2-3 punch to end the show of any of the Mayhem Festivals.

Written By Braddon S. Williams AKA The Concert Critic

On This Date in History

imagesOn this date in history, 6/29/1999, I witnessed my second Ozzfest in the friendly confines of Deer Creek in Noblesville, IN. This one was one of the best lineups they ever had, in my humble opinion, featuring Black Sabbath, Rob Zombie, Deftones, Slayer, Primus, Godsmack, System Of A Down, Apartment 26, all on the main stage, with Fear Factory, Static-X, Puya, Slipknot, Hed (Pe), Flashpoint, Pushmonkey, and Drain S.T.H. on the second stage. 88a04e3ef23045e4c5f262e8039b09df

For some unknown reason even to myself, I didn’t see any of the second stage bands that year, but I have heard from many sources that the first Indiana appearance of Slipknot was legendary. I know that Static-X and Fear Factory likely delivered crushing sets as well.

This was a concert of firsts for me. I saw System Of A Down, Godsmack, Slayer, and the mighty Black Sabbath for the first time at this show. I had seen Rob Zombie with White Zombie, but this was also the first time I saw him solo.

System Of A Down were up there doing what they do, and I was having a hard time wrapping my ears around it, having never properly heard them yet, but I started watching this guy who knew every word to every song and through his enthusiasm I caught their passion and became a fan instantly.

I went out and bought their debut cd the following day. Primus provided another first as they brought out Buckethead for an utterly mind blowing guitar solo segment during their performance. They also delighted the crowd by performing their self-penned theme song from the South Park tv show, creating a frenzied mosh pit that would have made Eric Cartman proud.

Speaking of frenzied mosh pits, Slayer came next and incinerated the playing field with their Slaytanic assault, melting faces and unleashing their legendary fury. I felt a little sorry for Deftones, who had to follow the blitzkrieg, but they are an amazing band in their own right, and they played great, as usual.

Rob Zombie put on a stunning visual overload type of show that he has made his career on, and proving beyond a doubt that he is one of the best metal headliners around. During “Thunder Kiss ’65”, Kerry King from Slayer joined Zombie on stage to deliver a ghoulish masterpiece.

imagesWhen Black Sabbath finally took the stage they opened with “War Pigs” and all the hair on my neck and arms literally stood up. I can’t begin to describe the glorious totality of that SOUND…Sabbath is like the slow moving lava cruising down the side of Mt. Doom, crushing all in its path in this infinitely compelling darkness. Without them, metal would have still been born one way or the other, but thankfully it WAS born with them, and this Ozzfest will always hold a special place in my heart. Sabbath and Slayer for the first time at the same concert? Yeah, that pretty much ruled!

Written By Braddon S. Williams aka The Concert Critic

 

On This Date in History