Slayer at Myth, 11/8/13
|Photo by Erik Hess|
Slayer (Photo slideshow here)
Friday, November 8, 2013
Celebrating 32 years as a band, death metal pioneers Slayer have hit some obstacles in recent years. Co-founding guitarist Jeff Hanneman died at the beginning of 2013, and on-again off-again drummer Dave Lombardo was finally fired from the band. Despite the possibilities of new material for a future album, it has been stated by vocalist and bass player Tom Araya that even he doesn't know if Slayer is coming to its end.
Therefore it seemed fitting the band would reconfigure itself, as it has so many times before, for possibly their last go-around to finish out the year, which brought them to the Twin Cities Friday night.
Openers Gojira have been firing on all cylinders since last year's epic and further groundbreaking album, L'Enfant Suavage. As they discharged a symphony of angular metallic melodies, an immediate typhoon of a mosh pit erupted on the main floor that never even settled to a simmer for the entire night.
|Photos by Erik Hess|
Determined bass drums wired the four members, and drove the French band's aggressive sound up a notch with each song. Gojira's inventive style combined math rock-like clusters of guitar, breakneck cymbal washes, and screeching melodies. Everyone in the packed house was submerged in the four piece's dissonant choruses and lead singer Joe Duplantier's growling vocals.
The sonic assault gave the Myth very short respites. During one, Duplantier's unsuspected candor and friendliness came through, "Anyone see us last time? Thanks for coming out again. You are all beautiful people."
As if catching themselves in a sweet moment, their music ignited the stage again for a couple more songs. With a light show that echoed the whiplash nature of Gorjira's music, the band continued to destroy the room. They finished off the short set with the precision of a race car and a similarly polite, "Merci beaucoup Minnesota! Slayer are up next."
Touring with an "old school" set of their signature songs, the band was filled out with Slayer vet Paul Bostaph back on drums and Exodus's Gary Holt continuing to respectfully play Hanneman's parts on guitar. The band took to the stage in thick smoke and blood-red lights. The curtain came down to reveal the band along with a massive skull and four upside-down crosses. The backdrop and suffocating strains of "Hell Awaits" satiated the rushing crowd, who were headed toward the pit and ready for more punishing thrash metal. The unmistakable opening riffs from guitarist Kerry King and penetrating rhythms incited a mass of energy as Araya quickly growled in his trademark vocal style.
|Photos by Erik Hess|
Slayer's earlier material "The Antichrist" and "Necrophiliac" provided a similar wallop as the wailing leads from King and Holt shot directly toward the unstoppable mass of bodies. Legs and elbows flew through the air like jagged debris at a garbage dump. Sporadic crews of security were consistently dragging victims from the crowd out to safety only to be confronted with more debauchery from the audience. Clearly everyone was savoring every millisecond of Slayer's nonstop, pounding onslaught.
Moving forward in their catalog, the twin lead intro of "Mandatory Suicide" and its straight-ahead rhythm once again only served as orders for more head-banging and magnificent energy release as Araya's vocal descriptions of warfare echoed through Holt's strenuous lead guitar and Bostaph's rolling bass drums.