Slayer with guests Kingdom of Sorrow and Anthrax
Date: 25 February, 2013
Venue: The Big Top, Luna Park
It’s always an occasion when Slayer tours Australia. With a live performance that rarely falls below average, the thrash quartet executed their famous live show, clearly satisfying the Aussie fans’ taste for the theatrical and heavy.
Kingdom of Sorrow started the show with a vivid and energetic injection of fast-paced metal. It was easy to forget the band was just a support act, with the crowd evidently enthused just minutes into their first song. With a performance that included everything from crazy circle pits to the occasional “oi, oi, oi”, Kingdom of Sorrow did well to set the scene for the energetic onslaught about to come.
Of course, when it comes to the prolific use of adjectives to describe just how enjoyable a live show was, there just aren’t enough for thrash metal giants, Anthrax. As one quarter of the “Big Four” (along with Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer themselves), “exuberant” and “vivacious” are weak in their ability to describe the reality of the band’s performance. With perhaps one of the most ostentatious frontmen in metal, Anthrax were able to build on the electric feeling in the arena and raise the level of intensity to 11. Playing both old and new tracks, it was probably their own rendition of AC/DC’s ‘T.N.T.’ that fired up the Aussie crowd the most. Nothing like a bit of “ocker” spirit to keep the show interesting!
Finally, it was Slayer’s turn to reclaim the show. Living up to their reputation as purveyors of musical and visual intensity, the band started the show with a swarm of chaotic lights and sounds. When the room again fell into darkness, only their over-sized “Slayer” banner remained, hanging dominantly above the stage setting. As the banner was slowly illuminated by a deep red light, you could almost cut the suspense with a knife, the crowd clearly captivated by the sheer theatricality of the entire event.
Appearing only as silhouettes, the band members positioned themselves and stood intently on the stage absorbing the roars from the crowd. This intimate moment was quickly replaced by a fast-paced, ear-splitting, amp-destroying injection of old school thrash metal. Powering through classics such as ‘War Ensemble’, ‘Blood Line’, ‘God Hates Us All’ and ‘South of Heaven’, Slayer took dictatorial control of the show, winning over the attention of every fan in the arena. While sparing little time for “between-song banter”, frontman Tom Araya was still polite enough to thank the loyal Australian fans that, in his own words, “always manage to be fucking crazy”. As the setlist progressed through songs old and new, there was no argument that the most euphoric reaction was saved for ‘Angel of Death’ – arguably Slayer’s most famous and character-defining song. With its graphic anecdotal tales of human cruelty and unquestionable hatred, the song sent the crowd into ecstacy. Even the wall of amps couldn’t mute the hundreds of voices singing along with Araya. The fierce vocal performance on every song was coupled with standout performances by their replacement drummer, however it was difficult to hear them every time. A “Spinal Tap” approach to volume on Kerry King’s amp was most likely the problem, but this was quickly forgotten when it came time for him to take his moment on the stage. Whilst I have never been a fan of the King-style guitar solo, it was difficult not to notice the sheer pleasure it brought to the “pro intensely chaotic guitar solo” fans.
Overall, Slayer executed a performance that succeeded in satisfying all expectations of enjoyment. Ending with the same energy as it had begun, the band lived up to their reputation as “The Mighty Slayer” as evidenced by the content faces and coarse-language-ridden chatter of those exiting the building.
(c) Lilen Pautasso 2013