The almighty, unholy and always merciless Slayer rolled into Denver this past Saturday night, and didn’t leave until every metalhead in town was headbanged out.
Slayer is on part two of their “old school” tour, and the West Coast (or at least western time zones) leg proved to be just as punishing as their winter run. Opening with Hell Awaits, Tom and Kerry blasted through Necrophiliac, Mandatory Suicide and The Antichrist in the first 15 minutes of the sold out show, jamming viciously with newer Slayer members Gary Holt and Paul Bostaph.
Fans moshed and raged from front to back of the Fillmore’s long floor, going absolutely berserk for every crushing song. Deep cuts like Jesus Saves and At Dawn They Sleep generated just as much wildness as classic favorites like Chemical Warfare and Dead Skin Mask, and as expected, virtually every song was punctuated by hollers of “SLAAAAAAYER!” from the wild crowd.
In fact, screams for Slayer could be heard all afternoon around the Fillmore, even during the opening sets from Exodus and Suicidal Tendencies. Exodus frontman Rob Dukes was nailed by a thrown beer early in his set as Slayer fans demonstrated their infamous hospitality, but that didn’t stop the singer from powering through his songs and even asking the crowd to throw weed on stage for him.
Suicidal Tendencies brought the show to the next level with a maniacal energy like no other band. Mike Muir brimmed with an explosive psychoticness that was echoed by his bandmates, and the entire group was just a blur of motion as they rampaged around the stage. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 30 years since Institutionalized, and while Suicidal didn’t even play their breakout hit on Saturday night, songs like Subliminal and I Saw Your Mommy had the sold-out crowd losing their minds in the mosh pits.
But absolutely nothing compares to a Slayer set, and as usual, the final minutes of Tom and Kerry’s time on stage were a musical massacre. Raining Blood was followed by South Of Heaven and Angel Of Death, played to perfection against a stylized backdrop commemorating late guitarist Jeff Hanneman (see photos to the left).
Even for fans who have seen Slayer many times over, Saturday’s show was one of the best in ages. With killer support groups and an unmatchable setlist, four hours of earsplitting metal satisfied the need for headbanging, necksnapping insanity like only Slayer can. It’s reassuring to see that losing two core members of the group hasn’t slowed the band in any way, and if anything, Slayer has somehow become even heavier, faster, and more murderous than before.