Back from a ban in 1988 that saw the band incite a riot and the Palladium lose a few windows, the line up may have changed, with a few original members now missing, but 25 years later, make no mistake about it, Slayer is here back in full force and ready to obliterate absolutely everything. The Palladium was packed to the rafters with fans just waiting to see the almighty Slayer, the excitement clear and thick in the air by the time 9.30 rolled around and lights went out, eliciting cheers and screams of exhilaration as darkness descended. Lights hit the stage flashing ‘Slayer’ upon the veil separating us from the reason why we’re all here. The curtain goes down and every cellphone in the house goes up ready to film and photograph this sold-out show.
Upside-down Crosses hung from the ceiling, as the band, in true Slayer style, played against a back-drop of a ‘Heineken’ beer logo, with the word ‘Hanneman’ replaced instead of the iconic brand name, in tribute to their fallen guitarist. Starting with the crushing ‘World Painted Blood’ off 2008’s album of the same title, Slayer played us a solid 90 minutes of brutality. Mixing it up to both old skool and newer Slayer, the crowd was treated to 19 Slayer songs, and a slightly different set-list from their show, also at the Palladium, the night before.
An Exodus cover – ‘Strike of the Beast’ made it into the Slayer setlist for the night, as well as early tracks from the band’s debut album, 1983’s ‘Show No Mercy’ such as ‘Black Magic’ and ‘Die By the Sword’ made an appearance, mixed in there with some ‘Hell Awaits’ (1985) in the form of the songs ‘Necrophiliac’ and ‘At Dawn They Sleep’ and of course some classics off ‘Reign in Blood’(1986) – ‘Raining Blood’ and the grand finale ‘Angel of Death.’ There were newer tracks too, but it wouldn’t be a Slayer shower without some ‘South of Heaven’ and ‘Seasons in the Abyss’ and even ‘Dead Skin Mask.’
The legendary Kerry King was in fine form, wearing his own band’s T-shirt, and murdering the guitar like no one else in existence. The musical chemistry between him and Exodus-recruit Gary Holt, who replaces Jeff Hanneman who passed on earlier this year, was palpable. While unfortunately original Slayer drummer, the double-bass machine, Dave Lombardo was no longer in the line-up due to some alleged differences with the band, Paul Bostaph was there to take up the reigns and he, no stranger to the Slayer camp, did them nothing but justice.
Tom Araya, though a little less apt to headbang than he probably was back in 1988, was still just doing what Tom Araya always does, killing it as a King of arguably the best Thrash Metal band of all time.
Several celebs were also in attendance in the VIP, including Rob Zombie’s John 5, Metallica’s Robert Trujillo, and even Breaking Bad’s own Walt Jr, R.J. Mitte, proving that no one can resist the ‘black magic’ pull of the one and only Slayer.
French metal Titans, Gojira who were supporting Slayer on this tour, also put on a solid set, with their classic light show, and even more classic metal sound. “It’s a great honor for us to be here tonight,” lead singer Joe Duplantier told us while the crowd went wild, and the circle-pits began as Gojira rocked out in all their synced headbanging glory playing tracks from ‘Oroborus’ off 2008’s “The Way of All Flesh” – to ‘Explosia’ and ‘L’Enfant Sauvage’ off the album of the same title – and everything in between .
Even tour-opener, Australia’s 4ARM were treated as part of the family by the crowd when they hit the stage and opened up the show to an already half-filled up Palladium at 7.30. But in the end, this was Slayer’s show, Slayer’s town, and Slayer’s people, make no mistake about it and as always, they destroyed. Slayerrr!