Slayer Rock ‘Old-School’ Set in Los Angeles – Review + Photo Gallery
A lot has changed since 1988 when Slayer last laid waste at the historic Hollywood Palladium, playing with Danzig (on a night when a riot broke out, resulting in a ban from playing from the venue). Musical trends have shifted dozens of times since then but Slayer have never veered off course, continuing to plow a path of metal that’s as pure, dark and compelling as any other band in the genre.
Playing the second night (Oct. 28) of a two-night stand, the curtain dropped to reveal the metal icons. These shows are part of Slayer’s 25-gig run across North America; concerts that are digging deep into the dark and complex Slayer catalog as the band has decided to deliver an ‘old-school’ set during the trek, much to the delight of their fans.
The pain and loss of late founding member Jeff Hanneman, who passed away in May, hung heavy in the air. Gary Holt continues fill in admirably for the beloved Hanneman on guitar, while Paul Bostaph has taken over as drummer from Dave Lombardo, who parted ways with the group earlier this year.
That said, most eyes of the sold-out crowd were locked on Kerry King and frontman Tom Araya, two of metal’s most venerable figures, who lorded over the moshing, undulating open floorspace like only the veterans can do. They didn’t spend time telling the crowd what to do or issuing commands. They focused on the music and served the songs up with the taut, tense ferociousness that’s become a hallmark of any Slayer show. True to form, the fans ate it up like a tribe brought together to honor their gods.
The 19-song set kicked off with the title track of 2009’s ‘World Painted Blood’ before hammering into ‘Necrophiliac’ and “At Dawn the Sleep,’ both from 1984’s ‘Hell Awaits,’ the band’s second release. From there is was like a walk through the Slayer musical museum, featuring many classics including ‘Dead Skin Mask,’ ‘Raining Blood’ and a blistering encore that included ‘South of Heaven’ and ‘Angel of Death.’
Since forming back in 1981, Slayer have carved out a career that all but defines the influence of American metal bands. This tour is a triumphant reminder of just how frighteningly sturdy this band remains. They are living history, and a must-see.
Openers Gojira from France and 4ARM from Australia both set the table for the Slayer feast. Gojira, in particular, have become an impressive metal force since forming back in 1996 and performed a well-received set. The foursome, featuring brothers Joe and Mario Duplantier, dedicated ‘The Heaviest Matter of the Universe’ to Jeff Hanneman, prompting a respectful roar from the metal-hungry crowd.
Slayer’s tour with Gojira and 4Arm continues through Nov. 30 in Boston. See the full list of dates here, and check out our exclusive photos of all three bands below.