JAM Magazine Concert Reviews

November 19, 2014
Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie
Grand Prairie, TX USA
Review by Justin Press
Photos by Brian Ullrich

Slayer

"It Felt Like A 2-Hour Bar Brawl Narrated By The World's Heaviest Band"

blitzkrieg: war conducted with great speed and force; specifically:  a violent surprise offensive by massed air forces and mechanized ground forces in close coordination" 

If Slayer is the Luftwaffe, then the audience is the peaceful farming village below, and after Wednesday night's performance at Verizon Theatre we the audience are still searching for our cows. An 18-song inferno of blistering guitars, welded down rhythms and the banshee wail of Tom Araya tore a hole thru your frontal and exited thru the occipital leaving nothing but gray matter and fragments. Now if this seems a bit excessive, a full bottle of Advil and ice packs are only now starting to bring relief.

Opening with little fanfare, the stage screen dropped and four familiar Crosses of Peter hung from the rafters damning those before them. Along with a 60' x 40' projection screen simply emblazoned with SLAYER and crossed swords offered the patron one simple rule: No Frills, All Brutal. You won't be blinded by fire or entertained with intricate conceptual videos. No you will just be beat about the head with a propulsive vigor usually dished out by 270 lb. linebackers. Opening with 2009's "World Painted Blood," it was all hands on deck as the floor opened up and hundreds circled the floor is moshing fury, bodies flailing, fists up and head-bangers littered throughout. "Postmortem" let you know that the band were reaching back into their history and dropping the most brutal of their catalog on your aural chambers. The 1985 album Hell Awaits was served well as the title track along with "At Dawn They Sleep" and "Necrophiliac" reminded one that the calm before the storm of Reign In Blood was just as sinister and trailblazing. "At Dawn" in particular was a rollercoaster as solos between Kerry King and Gary Holt (his own band Exodus was the opener) careened between Araya's vampiric tales. South of Heaven received its just due with "Mandatory Suicide" a welcome mid-paced break before the torrent of brutality and speed that was "Altar of Sacrifice" and "Jesus Saves," two flat-out testaments to the relevance and unequalled attack of Reign Of Blood's centerpieces.

World Painted Blood's "Snuff" is completely worthy of the band's best moments with its skittish rhythms and some of Araya's most bloodthirsty deliveries. It was, as stated prior, a bar brawl of sorts on the theater floor and when the gloves came off during "Die By The Sword," "Dead Skin Mask" and the crushing "Raining Blood" intro, it was a human running of the bulls, especially when "Raining" spliced into "Psychopathy Red" with its straight razor precision. Never ones to leave the crowd with any life left in its carcass, the strains of "South Of Heaven" gave no quarter and as the track suggests, left you aurally, physically and mentally in Hell. But why not throw the entire body on the fire by closing with the atrocity of "Angel of Death." The "infamous butcher" hung us up by our feet and left us dangling, our insides cascading onto the floor. All we could do was look at each other afterwards and say to ourselves, "we survived, we survived the horror." And we'd all gladly endure that horror once again.

So here's to 34 years so far, Slayer, still relevant and necessary in a world gone insane. Let's get another 10 in.