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Slayer/ Gojira/ 4Arm

Date: 11/27/13
Venue: The Theater at Madison Square Garden, NYC
Report By: Rich Catino
Pics by: Rich Catino, Omar Cordy

Following the unfortunate and untimely passing of guitarist/songwriter Jeff Hanneman’s in May, remaining original members Tom Araya (bass/vocals) and Kerry King (guitar) celebrate Jeff and his legacy by not letting the music die, carrying on touring, and even recording new music in the future. In Jeff’s place another west coast thrash alumni, Gary Holt from Exodus, has been helping out the band since early 2011 when Jeff first became ill from a nasty spider bite. Not only an excellent player and another one of the founding fathers of thrash, Holt couldn’t have been a finer or respectable choice given the situation and circumstances. And rejoining the band once again is drummer Paul Bostaph, another thrash regular having played on three Slayer albums, along stints with Forbidden, Testament and Exodus.

On this ThanksSlayergiving eve, New York, and almost every other city on this tour, we were treated to an early Christmas present with a setlist featuring only songs from the first five albums; “Show No Mercy” (1983), “Hell Awaits” (1985), “Reign in Blood” (1986), “South of Heaven” (1988), “Seasons in the Abyss” (1990). Along with the given usual classics like ‘War Ensemble’, ‘Black Magic’, ‘Raining Blood’, ‘Hell Awaits’, with ‘South Of Heaven’ and ‘Angel Of Death’ getting a backdrop change (see pics) honoring Jeff, a few tunes got dusted off, while a couple others returned. Been many years since ‘Necrophiliac’ was in the set, and pretty sure ‘The Anti Christ’ and ‘Die By The Sword’ (both off “Show No Mercy”) don’t always get in, usually one of the two, or ‘Black Magic’. ‘At Dawn They Sleep’ is worth the price of admission alone and I wish Slayer would write more songs in this vein being not so thrashy and a little more progressive. ‘Captor of Sin’, from the legendary 1984 E.P. “Haunting The Chapel” returned to the spotlight giving ‘Chemical Warfare’ a rest.

As the crowd became more riled up with excitement, papa Araya (with his greyed beard and raspy voice), had to give a scolding to a bouncer for not doing his job, and a fan for inappropriate etiquette toward a female. Lol, good for you, Tom! Way to be an entertainer and a responsible adult looking out for the people. The riffs, rhythms and leads are the at the essence to defining a Slayer song (as is really with all thrash bands), fear not… Gary works great with Kerry trading off on riffs and harmonizing with leads. Gary also maintains the basic framework to Jeff’s leads while adding a little of his own pizzazz at times.

With graying beards, getting into their early 50s, and down two original members, Slayer still can deliver live and show their (dark) hearts are still into it.

Hell Awaits
The Antichrist
Mandatory Suicide
Captor of Sin
War Ensemble
Altar of Sacrifice
Jesus Saves
At Dawn They Sleep
Die by the Sword
Spirit in Black
Hallowed Point
Seasons in the Abyss
Strike of the Beast (Exodus cover)
Dead Skin Mask
Raining Blood
Black Magic
South of Heaven
Angel of Death

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