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Metal Monday 3-21-2022

Archived Concert Review

Slayer

Final World Tour

w/Lamb of God, Anthrax, Testament, Napalm Death

Times Union Center

Albany, NY

August 1, 2018

It was an evening of nostalgia on August 1, 2018, when thrash metal titans Slayer brought their final world tour to Albany, NY.  While not the original four members from the group that terrified me as a child, and clearly showing their age (don’t we all), there was no way I was missing this performance.  As a teaser, the band brought along quite an enticing package to share in the on-stage debauchery with.

As had been the case on Slayer’s previous tours, the band appeared on stage after the into tape of Delusion of Savior and a climatic curtain drop, which led into the breakneck opener, Repentless, the title track of the group’s final album.  Bassist and vocalist Tom Araya showed some signs of wear and tear by strategically choosing which high notes to hit and which ones to lay off from.  While he was hardly the same man who pulled off the blood curdling scream on Angel of Death in 1986, Araya’s performance was more than adequate for someone on the backside of his fifties.

Blood Red, Disciple, Mandatory Suicide, and Hate Worldwide followed, displaying a diverse setlist that bounced around from the obscure to more recent to classic old cuts.  Slayer in the 21st century has become a band that eschews the tired between-song raps, preferring to segue from one song to the next.  The first time Araya addressed the crowd was five songs deep into the set when he introduced, “Waaaaarrrrrrr Ensemble!” 

The other original member, guitarist Kerry King, mainly stayed stage right, bobbing his head along to the frantic pace of the band’s material, his braided beard swaying to the beat.  King traded scorching guitar solos with Gary Holt, an original member of thrash metal band Exodus, who had replaced the late Jeff Hanneman.    Holt has appeared more comfortable in his role in the band, playfully joshing with the audience.

Mid-set found Slayer mixing up newer tracks (from 2000 to the present) such as Jihad, When the Stillness Comes, and Payback, with classics Postmortem, Black Magic, and Seasons in the Abyss.  Blinding lights, strobes, and lasers, combined with hot orange flames gave the crowd a visually pleasing stage show that coincided nicely with the musical selections.  Things really ramped up during 1985’s Hell Awaits, with flame throwers setting the stage ablaze.

Drummer Paul Bostaph is easily Slayer’s most maligned member, having replaced (twice) original skinsman Dave Lombardo, who is considered by many to be the finest drummer in all of thrash metal.  Simply put, Bostaph, himself a talented beat keeper, has little chance to sway most opinions on who the better player is.  For what it’s worth, on this night, Paul put on a show, especially during the show closing trifecta of Raining Blood, Chemical Warfare, and Angel of Death.

All in all, watching this version of Slayer is more than a pleasant experience, especially considering the decades the band has been around.  That said, I wish I had the nerve back in the day to see them with Hanneman and Lombardo when they were in their prime.  That must have been something!

Slayer Setlist:

Repentless

Blood Red

Disciple

Mandatory Suicide

Hate Worldwide

War Ensemble

Jihad

When the Stillness Comes

Postmortem

Black Magic

Payback

Seasons in the Abyss

Dittohead

Dead Skin Mask

Hell Awaits

South of Heaven

Raining Blood

Chemical Warfare

Angel of Death

Slayer-War Ensemble (Albany NY; 2018)

Announcing the “Max & Iggor Return Beneath Arise” Tour – Celebrating the Legendary Sepultura Albums Beneath The Remains and Arise

Rock Nightmare

Celebrate with original founding members of influential heavy metal legends andRIAA Gold-CertifiedSepultura.Max&Iggor Cavalerawill perform a hybrid setlist exclusively of cuts from these two iconic albumsBeneath the RemainsandArise.This tour runs throughout the United States in May and June of 2022.

Since Sepultura‘s formation over 30 years ago, the Cavalera brothers have each seen unparalleled success in the music industry. Max’s more recent work with SoulflyGo Ahead And DieCavalera Conspiracy (also featuring Iggor) and Killer Be Killed, in addition to Iggor’s projects MIXHELLPetbrick, and Soulwax, proves the lasting power of the Cavalera legacy. 

It’s safe to say that the releases ofBeneathTheRemains(1989) andArise(1991) completely changed the landscape of metal music throughout the world.

Max Cavalera states “After Covid-19 us Metal Heads need to release our aggression with some Beneath The…

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Metallica Celebrates 40 years with Two Epic Concerts

Amazing band and an amazing career!

Drew's Reviews

Congratulations to Metallica and the band’s 40 years of making heavy metal music.

The pioneers of monster rock celebrated their milestone over the weekend with 40 Years of Metallica a two concert event, one Friday (Dec. 17) and the second night on Sunday (Dec. 19), at the Chase Center in their hometown of San Francisco, CA.

Metallica retains a core membership with singer James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich who started things off in 1981 before bringing on guitarist Kirk Hammett in 1983 for their debut album Kill ‘Em All. Robert Trujillo joined on bass in 2003, replacing Jason Newsted. Cliff Burton, the band’s original guitarist was killed in in 1986 in a bus accident in Sweden during the Damage, Inc. tour. Guitarist Dave Mustaine, now of Megadeth, joined in 1982 for a year. A fun backstory you can find somewhere, if interested.

Those not lucky to score…

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Metal Monday 10-25-2021

Welcome to a new weekly post that I will call Metal Mondays, where I will rank the albums of a certain artist in the metal and hard rock genre from worst to best.  As I am a list and ranking person, I am unable to have a simple discussion on what a band’s good albums are, as well as their not-so-good ones.  I must rank them in some sort of order, or I will not be able to participate!  This also makes for a fun debate, don’t you think?

NOTE:  I will rank full length STUDIO ALBUMS only.  There will be no live records, greatest hits, or EP’s here.

This week, we get a bit heavy and discuss the mighty Slayer.  Or perhaps it’s SLAAAAYERRRRR!  Part of the Big 4 of American thrash, and hailing from Huntington Park, California, Slayer has been around for nearly 40 years, recently retiring in 2019. 

Slayer features the double guitar attack of Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman, the thrash metal drumming excellence of Dave Lombardo, and the blood curdling screams of vocalist Tom Araya.  They were the one band that legitimately scared me when I was younger.  Attending and surviving one of their concerts in the old days was an accomplishment on its own.

#11

Diabolus in Musica-1998

Slayer experimented on this one and the result is the worst album of their career.  That said, I find there are some decent offerings here, such as Bitter Peace, Death’s Head, and Stain of Mind.  Even a bad Slayer album has some opportunity.

Best Song:  Bitter Peace

Best Deep Cut (Aren’t ALL Slayer Songs Deep Cuts?):  Bitter Peace

#10: 

Repentless-2015

The album with a made-up name.  Recorded with Gary Holt on guitar and Paul Bostaph on drums, this is a rather weak offering.  It’s not a horrible record, but there is nothing that reaches out and grabs the listener.  When the Stillness Comes sounds like King’s attempt to channel his inner Hanneman and write something on the more moody and melodic side.  But again, we have our moments here.

Best Song:  Chasing Death

Best Deep Cut:  Chasing Death

#9: 

God Hates Us All-2001

This album, appropriately released on September 11, 2001, starts off with a bang with the trifecta of Disciple, God Send Death, and New Faith.  Unfortunately, things go south for a while until Bloodline completely saves the back half.

Best Song:  New Faith

Best Deep Cut:  New Faith

#8: 

Divine Intervention-1994

The first album to feature Paul Bostaph on drums, Divine Intervention is the also the first Slayer record that disappointed me (nothing to do with Bostaph’s drumming!).  Again, there is hope with, Killing Fields, Dittohead, and 213.

Best Song:  Killing Fields

Best Deep Cut:  Killing Fields

#7: 

Christ Illusion-2006

Lombardo’s return!  I really have nothing against Paul Bostaph, I promise!  He’s an amazing talent, but Slayer needs Lombardo like AC/DC needs Phil Rudd (sorry, Chris Slade!).  Coincidently, this album is a return to form for the band.  Check out Flesh Storm, Skeleton Christ, Eyes of the Insane, and Jihad, for starters.

Best Song:  Flesh Storm

Best Deep Cut:  Flesh Storm

#6: 

World Painted Blood-2009

This record doesn’t get a lot of love in my opinion.  I find it extremely underrated.  I love the title cut, especially the middle breakdown.  In fact, nobody does the driving, mid-tempo thrash like Slayer, especially when placed within an otherwise fast song (see World Painted Blood, War Ensemble, and Angel of Death for reference). 

The record is a perfect mix of top speed and slower thrash, such as Psychopathy Red (fast) and Playing with Dolls (slow).  Other standouts are Hate Worldwide and Human Strain.

Best Song:  World Painted Blood (it WAS a single, so I guess not a deep cut)

Best Deep Cut:  Human Strain

#5: 

Hell Awaits-1985

Now we get into the classic five albums.  These five records feature Slayer at their creative peak, with Hell Awaits representing the band heading toward its classic sound.  More polished than its raw predecessor, the album features the amazing title cut, complete with its breathtaking thrash metal opening.  No matter how many times I listen to this song, the two-minute jam before the lyrics starts gets me going every time!  Other strong tracks include At Dawn They Sleep and Necrophiliac

Best Song:  Hell Awaits

Best Deep Cut:  At Dawn They Sleep

#4: 

Show No Mercy-1983

Dangerous, hungry, and raw.  That is how Show No Mercy sounds to me, nearly 40 years after its release.  That Slayer had yet to find its defined sound does not matter on this album.  Slayer classics on this record include The Antichrist, Die by the Sword, and Black Magic.

Best Song:  Die by the Sword

Best Deep Cut:  Fight Till Death

#3: 

South of Heaven-1988

Fresh off their iconic Reign in Blood, Slayer decided not to rewrite history and went for a more stripped down and slower approach.  While Silent Scream and Ghosts of War conjure up the ghosts of Slayer past with their fast tempos, the meat of this record is in the mid-tempo numbers, including the classic title cut, complete with it’s haunting album intro.  Further robust offerings include Mandatory Suicide and Behind the Crooked Cross.

Best Song:  South of Heaven

Best Deep Cut:  Behind the Crooked Cross

#2: 

Reign in Blood-1986

Considered the standard in thrash metal by many, Reign in Blood comes in at a tidy 34 minutes.  I remember the old cassette that had the entire 10 songs on one side.  Flip it over and play it again!

The classic Angel of Death leads it off.  That breakdown in the middle is mind-blowing.  Alter of Sacrifice and Jesus Saves anchor the middle section, while the album closing duo of Postmortem and Raining Blood is unequaled.  The breakdown after the intro and before the vocals on the title cut is, in my opinion, the finest thrash riff there is.

Best Song:  Angel of Death

Best Deep Cut:  Postmortem

#1: 

Seasons in the Abyss-1990

Simply put, the finest collection of Slayer songs in its catalog.  A perfect mixture of blazing speed, mid-tempo, and doom and gloom thrash, Seasons represents the final chapter in the classic Slayer era. 

The fast:  War Ensemble, Hallowed Point, Born of Fire

The mid-tempo:  Blood Red, Spirt in Black, Temptation

Doom and Gloom:  Expendable Youth, Dead Skin Mask, Skeletons of Society, title cut

This was the record that introduced me to how much of a whack job Ed Gein was!

Best Song:  Seasons in the Abyss

Best Deep Cut:  Spirit in Black