SLAY-ER, SLAY-ER, SLAY-ER.
Before any band hits the stage, before every band takes the stage you hear the chant:
SLAY-ER, SLAY-ER, SLAY-ER.
When “the greatest thrash metal band of all time” headlines the Denver Coliseum, it is truly a special event. They use the theater setting, and as a result the hall is less than half full, but that doesn’t lessen the moment.
They stormed the stage with “Disciple” off of 2001’s God Hates Us All (even though they’ve opened with this song the last three times I’ve seen them). In fact, the set list itself has been the same except for one MAJOR difference this time ‘round. Slayer’s chorus of (of course) “God Hates us All, God Hates us All” proved a perfect invocation of the musical chaos that would ensue for the next 70 minutes. The last two years, when they’ve played the Fillmore, they just seemed to be going through the motions (especially Tom Araya, bassist and lead vocalist). Even last year, with the return of their original drum god Dave Lombardo, they still lacked that (hell)fire.
What a difference a year can make! Breathing new life into well worn favorites “War Ensemble”, “Mandatory Suicide”, “Hell Awaits”, “Seasons in the Abyss,” and “South of Heaven” (and even newer tracks like “Bloodline”), came off surprisingly cock-sure and strong. Guitar monsters Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman effortlessly churned out the squeal of a thousand souls burning in one of the sickest and most consistent twin guitar attacks in all of Metal for the past 20(!) years.
Then…The gift. In all of Metal, there are thousands of great albums, probably a hundred perfect albums, and right at the top is Slayer’s 1986 Masterpiece Reign in Blood!!! For the first time ever, Slayer is performing the entire album in order to close out each show!
“Angel of Death’
“Piece by Piece’
“Altar of Sacrifice” (Enter to the realm of Satan!)
“Postmortem” (Do you want to Die!)
Incredible! I know I wasn’t that good this year. SLAY-ER, SLAY-ER, SLAY-ER!!!
Walking from my car to the arena, I missed Skinlab’s 15 min. set. Unfortunate.
Sweden’s Arch Enemy lit a fire under the crowd on the floor, sending the little pretend-a-teens literally running for their lives in droves. Hilarious! Arch Enemy play melodic death metal with updated thrash leanings; very much the Swedish style these days (i.e. In Flames, Soilwork, etc…). Classic metal sound—very effective. Lead vocalist Angela Gossow commanded the stage with charisma and a love of metal that was apparent in the whole band. One of the few female lead vocalists in death metal, she is not a novelty. They played music from their last two releases, Wages of Sin and Anthems of Rebellion, exclusively. The latter is the fastest shipping title in Century Media history. They definitely made the most out of their six-song set and closed with “Ravenous” the “hit” off the Wages of Sin disc. All who cared to pay attention were thoroughly impressed.
Hatebreed, from Connecticut, probably could have stolen the show had they not been plagued by technical difficulties. “We should have bought new equipment, but we spent all our money on pot,” quipped vocalist Jamey Jasta. They probably should have. I’ve read that this has been happening to them all through the tour. Featuring songs off all three of their CDs, most effective were the newest tracks off the just released The Rise of Brutality. Hatebreed’s brand of beefed up east coast hardcore kills, but relies on momentum. You lose that when there’s two empty minutes between each song, giving the crowd time to reflect on why they’re there. SLAY-ER, SLAY-ER, SLAY-ER!