The year was 1988. I was fourteen and it was the beginning of my adolescent rebellious stage. It was the first time I had heard Slayer and my intro to the band was the song “South of Heaven”. It was a departure from their previous album as they had slowed things down significantly, but somehow they managed to turn up the evil factor a notch or two. This moment changed my life as I had discovered my new favorite band.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think that twenty five years later I would be watching this band play one of two sold out nights at one of the most beautiful theaters in the country. Slayer is not just a metal band; they have become a way of life for a lot of metal fans around the world. The one thing you will never hear a critic or fan say; “Slayer returned to their roots on this tour”. Because they never left them behind, which there are few bands these days that can lay that claim.
The second the blood stained curtain with the enormous Slayer pentagram on it dropped, the onslaught had begun. It would go on for nearly two hours as the band pummeled the capacity crowd while the band played below 4 upside down crosses and a giant evil skull. These guys sounded better than I have ever heard them before and they looked completely in control.
It’s great to see Paul Bostaph back on the skins. This guy is a fucking beast and I would definitely put him up there as holding down the legacy of brutality alongside founding drummer Dave Lombardo. Exodus axe man Gary Holt did a fantastic job filling the shoes of another original member the late great Jeff Hanneman.
The set list was all kinds of awesome. “War Ensemble”, “Spill the Blood”, “Mandatory Suicide”, “Chemical Warfare”, “Angel of Death”, “South of Heaven”, “Seasons in the Abyss”,” Dead Skin Mask”, you get the idea. Slayer gives the fans exactly what they want. The mosh pit was going pretty much non-stop as well. Now I haven’t seen a full on mosh pit in probably twenty years and you won’t catch me anywhere near one over the next, but for those about to mosh, Slayer salutes you.
And it gets better. Earlier this year at Revolver ’s Golden Gods Awards ceremony, Slayer debuted “Implode”, its first new song in five years. Then they announced that they have signed to Nuclear Blast, and will release a new album in 2015. It has been reported that Holt would take over Hanneman’s guitar duties, although he is not participating in the song-writing
Speaking of Holt, did I mention that fucking Exodus opened the show? Yeah, that’s right. The band that gave us thrash metal classics such as Bonded By Blood and Fabulous Disaster sounded awesome. Gary Holt has no problem pulling a double duty as opener and headliner. They just released a new record called Blood in Blood Out that’s the closest thing they have done in a while to what made them Bay Area legends. Good stuff. Suicidal Tendencies also played but for some reason they would let all the photogs shoot them, so I went to get a beer.
Bottom line: The world’s most evil, heavy, and authentically brutal band continues to, for lack of a better term, slay their audiences. Two nights at the Fox Theater could have easily turned into a two week residency.