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Slayer Concert Review, Austin, TX, November 18, 2014

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usetitleIMG_6819Whew!  What a whirlwind it’s been the last month with all of the shows and there’s no sign of it slowing down yet!  Last night was not slow.  Exodus, Suicidal Tendencies and Slayer were in town to play a sold out show at the Moody Theater (aka ACL Live).  I still can’t believe a show like this got booked at such a classy venue, but I’m glad it did and hope that it opens the door for more metal there.  Let’s get right into this…

Exodus hit the stage promptly at 7:30PM with Black 13 and Blood In, Blood out from their latest release of the same name.  They were fast, tight and Steve Souza sounded great.  They only got 30 minutes for their set which is by far too short for a band with such a back catalog.  They rolled right into Blacklist from Tempo of the Damned then gave the crowd what they wanted in the form of Bonded By Blood, Toxic Waltz and Strike of the Beast.  I’m in the minority when I say I don’t like the Bonded By Blood album.  I’ve bought it several times over the years and it just never caught on to me.  However, I do love Fabulous Disaster and Pleasures of the Flesh.  Gary Holt is doing double duty with Exodus and Slayer and he and the whole band sounded great.  Tom Hunting is always the highlight for me in seeing Exodus live. He’s got such a unique style and watching him play last night was certainly a treat.

I’m not the biggest Suicidal Tendencies fan but do love that late 80s pre-funk ST stuff.  Last night I became a bigger fan, at least in a live setting.  Mike Muir hit the stage looking healthy and just sounded clear and coherent all night.  The show I saw a few years back was pretty awful.  The backing band last night was totally kickass too.  Especially the drummer.  Holy shit that guy was a beast.  They opened with an extended version of You Can’t Bring Me Down and went right into Freedumb from their 1999 release of the same name.  They mixed the set up with songs from Join the Army, the self-titled LP, Lights Camera Revolution, How Will I Laugh and 13.  The crowd was completely into it and there was a decent pit most of the time they were playing.  Highlights for me were War Inside My Head and How Will I Laugh Tomorrow .  Again, Suicidal brought their best game last night and blew me away.

Up next…SLAYER!  I’ve been a big fan since Reign In Blood, main reason being Dave Lombardo’s drumming.  Well, Dave’s not in the band anymore and it’s completely obvious, at least to me it is.  More on that later.  Slayer opened up with World Painted Blood and flowed right into Post Mortem.  They only played 5 post -Seasons era songs and that was fine by me.  They sounded great early in the set but it seemed to deteriorate ever so slightly as the set progressed.  They are an intense band and I can’t imagine playing night after night with that intensity, but if it was my job, I’m sure I’d make it work.  Araya’s voice sounded great and was actually better than when I saw the Seasons anniversary tour.  For me what was brought the show down a notch or two was the lack of Lombardo behind the kit.  He brings a certain intensity (I know I’m using that word a lot but it fits) to Slayer and it was missing last night.  This is no slight to Paul Bostaph who is a damn fine drummer in his own right, but he’s no Lombardo.  Few are.  Slayer is like the Rush of thrash metal.  Rush fans want to hear all of Peart’s fills and Slayer fans, especially yours truly, wants to hear Lombardo’s stuff played properly.  Bostaph did a good job and that’s why he’s in the band.  But there were just some little things that made it hard for me to totally enjoy him and the band last night.  His double bass work in some songs wasn’t very consistent.  Maybe he was having an off night, I don’t know.  I remember when I was gigging regularly as a drummer that off nights happen.  Sometimes you’re just not in “the pocket.”  None of this is to say Slayer put on a bad show, I’m not sure that they could, I’m just saying that I miss Dave behind the kit and the band just seemed out of sorts last night.  I went so far as to rename them “Slower”, but that’s probably not too fair.  I do need to mention that Kerry King was as solid as ever and I loved his Raiders/Biletnikoff jersey.  Gary Holt did fine playing Hanneman’s parts.  Holt is a good guitarist all the way around.

In the unlikely even that he comes back to the band again, last night was probably my last Slayer show (that I’d pay for).  The setlist was good and I’m really glad I got to hear At Dawn They Sleep, Chemical Warfare, Hell Awaits and Die By The Sword.

Long live Slayer and RIP Jeff Hannemann.  It was a good night.

RIP Jeff Hanneman

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I don’t know what more to say but thanks, Jeff.  Those Slayer records up to and including Seasons In The Abyss are all very special to me in many different ways, none more than Reign In Blood.

RIP, man.jeff-hanneman--large-msg-118253717473

Written by The Metal Files

May 2, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Happy 48th Birthday Dave Lombardo!

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Happy Birthday, Dave!  By 1999, I’d seen Slayer only once, the Seasons In The Abyss Tour.   But it wasn’t until he was touring with Testament on The Gathering Tour in 1999 that I got to meet him.  My buddy Chris E. and I went up to Jaxx in Springfield, VA and got in free thanks to his connection with Steve DiGiorgio.  We arrived early and got to meet Dave and his son outside the bus.  I had Dave sign a few CDs and had him sign The Book.  When he signed my River’s Edge soundtrack CD, he said, “We were on this?”  It made me laugh.  I then opened the book to the photo of Slayer and handed it to him.  He lowered it down to his son and said, “Which one’s daddy?”  He son looked for a second and pointed out Dave.  That was pretty cool.  It was a great meeting with one of metal’s most powerful and influential drummers.

I’ll be 43 in a few weeks and it doesn’t seem like Dave would only be 48.  I guess as a kid when you’re listening to Reign in Blood, you think that the bands you love are so much older.

 

Dave. 1999

Dave. 1999

Written by The Metal Files

February 16, 2013 at 9:16 am

Philm, Unmothered and My Education Concert Review, Austin, TX 110311

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Philm is a project that has been around since the mid-1990s according to their drummer, Dave Lombardo.  It remained pretty dormant until the time(s) he wasn’t with Slayer and apparently they jam a bit.  I had seen some of the YouTube stuff and I was pretty underwhelmed by it.  When I saw that they were playing Austin, I was a tad excited about it because, hey, it’s Dave Lombardo.  While I could never claim him as an influence on my drumming, he was certainly an inspiration.  The guy is a beast of a player and given the chance to see him play outside of Slayer seemed pretty rad.

Originally this show was $15 but a few days beforehand they made it a free show.  Slayer is in town this weekend for the FUN FUN FUN Fest so I guess Dave decided to try and float his other band here.

The opening band was called Unmothered from Austin.  They were pretty good and I’d certainly go see them again.  They were a 3pc sort of droning thing.  There was a weird dark almost black metal undertone but this was no black metal band.  Worth checking out again for sure.

Up next came My Education, also from Austin.  Apparently they are considered “post-rock”, another sub-genre of rock.  They were all instrumental and had a viola player through most of it.  It was slightly prog and gave me somewhat of a Kansas (band) vibe.  They weren’t awful by any means, but a bit boring to watch.  Perfect background music, though.  My friend made a good observation by saying that if they had some sort of film projection along with their live performance, it’d be more palatable in a live setting.  AGREED.

Up next was Philm.  By the time they came on, there may have been 150 at the show.  I’ll go ahead and say it first, they were very underwhelming.  Sure Dave did some cool stuff here and there, but it was pretty boring.  I think if they went all instrumental it would have been a bit better.  The singer killed it for me, not to mention that the music was rather generic.  It was cool to see him do his thing on a tiny drumset though.  Apparently he came out for a few minutes after they played.  A few friends met him.  I didn’t bother as I got to meet him while he was on tour with Testament back in 2000.  It was cool because I got to meet his wife and kid too.

Rumors were flying around that Slayer was going to show up and do an impromptu set after Philm.  I think it was all a set up to get more people to the show and sell some drinks.  Slayer never played.  That was unfortunate as it would have been cool seeing them do a few tunes on a barebones stage.

C’est la vie, eh?  At least I got to see another one of my musical idols play again this week.

Written by The Metal Files

November 4, 2011 at 9:35 am

Slayer – Seasons In The Abyss Concert Ticket And More…

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Since today is the International Day of Slayer, I thought I’d post this Slayer memory.

February 17, 1991, 10 days prior to my 21st birthday.  Slayer and Testament invaded The Boathouse in Norfolk, VA.  Slayer was promoting Seasons In The Abyss and testament was on The Souls of Black Tour.  I had seen testament at least once before and they were awesome.  To this day they are one of the best bands I have ever seen and I try to catch them every chance I get.  I had never seen Slayer before this night and I wasn’t much of a fan of the Seasons album but liked everything before it.  I remember going to buy my ticket and complaining that it was $15.  Hell, I was only making about $6.50/hr or so at the time.

It was an awesome show though.  Both bands delivered.  Testament was phenomenal and Slayer was probably more intense than any band I had ever seen.  There were mosh pits everywhere during Slayer.  Like a fool I decided to get into one at the back of the venue.  I may have gone around the circle once or twice when I fell over some dude who hit the floor in front of me.  My face lands square on his back and I thought I broke my nose.  Luckily there was no blood but my nose has been slightly off center ever since.  Damn that hurt.

On the wall in various parts of the venue were printouts as seen below with the band’s photocopied autographs.  I snagged one immediately when we walked in.  After the show the staff was trying to clear the parking lot and a few of use were trying to ditch them and see if we could meet some of Slayer.  I was able to get about 30 seconds with Kerry King who walked out with a towel around his neck.  I asked him to sign the back of this piece of paper and he asked what I thought of the show.  I told him I thought it was great.  He signed it, shook my hand, thanked me and got on the bus after a few other folks got to talk with him for a moment.  Total class act that night.  Jeff Hanneman came out and had a group of guards around him.  No one got close so we bailed.

It was a pretty cool night and overall an awesome show.  I got to meet Lombardo several years later and will talk about that meeting some other time.

Slayer sign (click to enlarge)

Kerry King's autograph

Written by The Metal Files

June 6, 2011 at 8:29 pm

Slayer/Megadeth/Anthrax – Concert Review – San Antonio, Tx – September 25, 2010

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I can practically remember the show like it was yesterday.  Anthrax and Testament in 1987 at the Boathouse in Norfolk, VA.  Anthrax was touring for Among the Living and testament for The Legacy.  To this day it was one of the most incredible shows ever.  I had gotten into Anthrax in early 1986 when I found a used copy of the cassette at Unicorn Records (RIP).  I practically listened to that album every day driving to and from school.  Minus Persistence of Time, I loved the Joey Belladonna era of Anthrax.  When Bush came in, I was done.  He was fine in Armored Saint but not in my beloved Anthrax.  I was able to catch Anthrax with Joey on the State of Euphoria and Persistence of Time tours.  They were always great live.  I also caught them with Bush on the We Have Come For You All tour and it was a really good show.

When the American Carnage Tour was announced there was no doubt that I’d see the show.  The first leg of the tour had Testament as the openers.  That band never disappoints.  This current leg featured Anthrax with the newly re-re-reunited Joey Belladonna on vocals.  I was pretty excited about that since it had been since 1991 since I had seen him live.

I will say that even though I love…even adore Megadeth, I wasn’t too excited to see them this time since they are still playing Rust In Peace live.  I had just seen it 6 months ago.  But Megadeth always delivers.  And they did once again last night.  More on that in a bit.

So now the adventure of the day begins.  I grab my best friend Amelia and her boyfriend Cody and we shuffle down to the other side of town to grab my other best friend, McMaster and head to San Antonio.  Good conversation, good music playing and everyone is pretty excited about the concert.

We get to the show, check out the shirts which weren’t all that great so I got to save myself $40.  Jason had a floor general admission ticket and we had seats.  About 20 minutes before Anthrax hit stage we went to our respective sections and waited for the show to begin.  Our seats were pretty decent and we had quick access to the lounge area of the AT&T Center.

The lights go down at 6:55 and Jim Florentine from That Metal Show and Crank Yankers fame is on stage as he is the Jagermeister MC for this tour. He does 5 minutes of comedy about metal and such and next thing you know Anthrax hits the stage.

They come on and open up with Caught In A Mosh.  Good times.  Anthrax has always been a very tight band as far as their playing and last night was no exception.  A big part of that is because of Charlie Benante’s drumming.  He’s a beast of a drummer.  Anthrax only had a 45 minute set so they played the hits that you’d expect.  They also added in Only from the Bush era and it was alright.  It’s the only song from that era that I like.  I have to say how surprised I was of Joey’s voice.  He sounded great.  He hit the high noted pretty well.  Lucky for us it was only the second night of Anthrax being on the tour, so they were all still fresh.  They sounded great and I got a little choked up when they played Madhouse. Spreading the Disease, is such an important album to me.  I really felt like we flashbacked into the 80s for a brief minute.  It was nice to just forget all of the worries of today and rock out like I was 17 again when the only thing I had to worry about was doing enough school work to get by and play drums.  Simpler times for sure.  But again, Anthrax was great and I actually wish they would have been the headliner to get a longer set and play some deeper cuts.  being such a short set, I was only a slight bit disappointed that they played the 2 cover tunes, although they were big songs for them.

Anthrax’s setlist:

  1. Caught In a Mosh
  2. Got the Time
  3. Madhouse
  4. Antisocial
  5. Indians
  6. Only
  7. Metal Thrashing Mad
  8. I Am The Law

After Anthrax I head up to the lounge area behind our section to grab a coke and a hot dog.  A boy’s gotta eat!  Shortly after Florentine is on stage again and Megadeth hit the stage right after he walked off stage.  They open up with Holy Wars and the crowd was all over it.  People love the Rust In Piece album.  Me?  Not so much.  But they sounded great, as always.  Dave is one of the greatest metal guitarists ever in my opinion and he was great again last night.  The addition of Chris Broderick has been nice as well.  They did 5 other songs after playing Rust In Piece and sounded great except at the end of Peace Sells where Drover on drums couldn’t quite get his feet together.  Sometimes I wish I wasn’t such a nerd and could overlook or not even notice such things, but I can’t.

Megadeth setlist:

  1. Holy Wars
  2. Hangar 18
  3. Take No Prisoners
  4. Five Magics
  5. Poison Was The Cure
  6. Lucretia
  7. Tornado of Souls
  8. Dawn Patrol
  9. Rust In Peace…Polaris
  10. Trust
  11. Headcrusher
  12. A Tout Le Monde
  13. Symphony of Destruction
  14. Peace Sells (encore)
  15. Holy Wars (reprise)(encore)

Now I’ll drop back a little in that during Megadeth’s second song, McMaster walks back to where our seats were and calls me down to the rail.  We were only 4 rows up from the floor.  He puts something in my hand and tells me to grab Amelia and Cody and meet him in the hallway right now.  I didn’t really even look at what he gave me and grabbed the other 2 and we walked out immediately.  Upon getting in the hallway I pull the wad of stuff out of my pocket and see that we were given Jagermeister VIP passes courtesy of Jim Florentine.  Hot damn!  We get escorted upstairs and ushered into a large VIP suite that had about 20 other people in it.  It was straight back from the stage.  It was stocked with beer, Jager (gross), Jager swag and food.  We were told to make ourselves at home and Jason introduced us to his pal, Florentine.

While I’m not the greatest fan of That Metal Show, he’s the bright spot on the show.  The dude is really a metalhead and absolutely hilarious.  You get the feeling that he’s “one of us.”  It was really pretty nice of him to give all 4 of us access.  It was totally unexpected  and a bit humbling.  Certainly I don’t deserve that sort of treatment but will not complain about it.  Thanks Jim!

So Megadeth finishes their set and Florentine goes down to the soundboard area and does another quick routine.  Shortly after he’s back up in the booth with us hanging out.

Slayer hits the stage and opens up with World Painted Blood.  For this tour Slayer was playing Seasons in the Abyss in its entirety.  I didn’t care too much for that album when it came and that tour was the only other time I ever saw Slayer.  It was also the last time that I was in a mosh pit.  My nose is still a little crooked from

Slayer's opening screen

that show!  I have a love/hate relationship with Slayer.  I love everything up to and including South of Heaven and a few tracks from Seasons.  Up until World Painted Blood, I just couldn’t get into any of it.  I tried, believe me.  I’ve bought every one of their albums and throughout the 90s and 2000s got rid of all of the post-Seasons albums.  The new one was a little bit of a return to their late 80s glory.  While it’s not great, I can stomach it.

With Slayer doing Seasons I wasn’t too excited about it, but hearing it live again had me pumped up a little bit.  I hadn’t listened to that album in 10 years or more and it felt weird knowing every word of an album that I had been slagging for 20 years.  After last night, I will call myself a fan of that album  now…minus the title track.  Still can’t get into it.  As for Slayer’s performance, they sounded awesome.  Tom’s voice was sharp.  He doesn’t headbang anymore because of problems with his back and neck.  No biggie.  Kerry and Jeff were solid.  Slayer has a unique sound and a unique riffing style.  Some time during their set, Jason and I looked at each other and both basically said the same thing…”They invented that.”  Lombardo was awesome.  He’s such a beast of a drummer.  I was fortunate enough to see and meet him when he toured with Testament on The Gathering tour.  It was cool hearing them to South of Heaven and Aggressive Perfector.  Slayer kicked everyone’s ass in the building last night.  I’m sure that’s a pretty consistent thing.  My only criticism of their show is that they got a little off in the intro to Seasons but they figured it out pretty quickly.  Slayer!

Slayer setlist:

  1. World Painted Blood
  2. Hate Worldwide
  3. War Ensemble
  4. Blood Red
  5. Spirit In Black
  6. Expendable Youth
  7. Dead Skin Mask
  8. Hallowed Point
  9. Skeletons of Society
  10. Temptation
  11. Born of Fire
  12. Seasons In The Abyss
  13. South of Heaven
  14. Raining Blood
  15. Aggressive Perfector
  16. Angel of Death

As I saw during the Iron Maiden show a few months back, they have a person on the floor behind the soundboard doing sign language to each band’s lyrics for the hearing impaired folks in the crowd.  Florentine was sitting next to me during Dead Skin Mask and I point the sign language lady out to him and say, “Dude, you gotta work this into your act.  Someone doing sign language to Slayer lyrics!”  If any of you faithful readers see him do this line in an upcoming act, you know where it came from!  haha

As always, it was a great night with great friends…the ones who came with me and the ones I ran into at the show.  Thanks again to Jim Florentine for his awesome act of kindness.

Let’s hope for a full blown Anthrax tour!

Florentine and McMaster

Written by The Metal Files

September 26, 2010 at 8:53 am

The path I chose has led me to my grave…

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When I first heard Slayer I hated it. It was probably Show No Mercy and I think we were all over at Shelton’s house. He was all about some Slayer which was probably the main reason i didn’t like them. Any time you saw Shelton you heard, “Slayuh rules.” You never really wanted to disagree with him because he was an ox and would wrestle you into submission or body slam you or something. He was a bit of a nutcase and I always felt sorry for his mom. She was so nice.

Metal Blade Records put out 3 compilations called The Best of Metal Blade (vols 1, 2 and 3…duh). Each of them had Slayer and I liked the songs that were compiled…Chemical Warfare, Evil has No Boundaries, Black Magic and Die By the Sword. But I still didn’t consider myself a fan. Then one day in 1986 I was at either at Kelz’ or Danile’s house (sure, his name is Daniel but spelling it Danile is much more fun) and someone had Reign In Blood (on cassette of course!). I was so not into listening to it when they were talking about it. I’m stubborn. Some things never change as I am still stubborn, but I digress. I sat defiantly and quietly in my listening as Angel of Death started.

Then the drums kicked in. WTH? Are those his feet doing that? Really? Someone says dude, check this part out. Yes, you know which part. Right at the end of the solo when everything stops and it’s nothing but Lombardo’s feet pounding the shit out of the kick drums. “Play that again.” “OK, one more time.” “Can we check that part out again?”

On that day I became a Slayer fan. Soon after I went back to the older stuff and really gave it a chance. Raw. Vicious. Vile. Crude. Badass. The whole album plays like a concept album even though it’s not. The cool thing was that the whole album fit on one side of the tape so you never had to turn the tape over when it was in your car stereo. It’s the best and fastest 29:03 of your life.

I went to a Catholic high school and got kicked out of religion class every few weeks for arguing theology or from some other class for just for being a pain in the ass. Instead of going to the office I’d usually just go to the library and listen to Reign In Blood. It was more productive. When classmates would hear it they’d just shake their heads.

I liked South of heaven when it first came out but it was no Reign In Blood. I was pretty much done with Slayer after Seasons In the Abyss. They got a little too…polished.

Written by The Metal Files

September 2, 2008 at 1:24 pm