Concert Review: Slayer at Mayhem Festival in Atlanta
The crowds at Atlanta’s Mayhem Festival survived the onslaught of heavy hitting bands who rocked the Jaegermeister and Sumerian Records stages. As evening crept closer to Slipknot’s closing bell, the crowd found their feet and displayed the horns when friggin’ Slayer mounted the stage. I can’t think of a better band to setup the closer of the evening than the inspiration of death metal and one of the ‘Big Four’ bands of metal. Slayer embodies the essence of metal, and this Atlanta crowd came out to be socked by the California band who has been dropping jaws for over 30 years.
Shrouded behind a veil of secrecy, the curtains dropped along the edges of the stage as the guitars raced unchecked. The stage was a very interesting setup. A metal shield was hoisted above the stage emblazoned with the Slayer name on their trademark sword infused pentagram all lit up in flames. The flames didn’t stop there. There was a bank of flames that leapt from behind the stage, as well a tower of faux speakers that breathed fire. This added infusion of heat had to take the 90 degree temperatures to an excess of 100 onstage. While it was a cool effect to supercharge the music, the boys had to be sweating balls.
Slayer opened the evening at full scream and racing guitars with their Grammy-nominated “Disciple.” The song was the solo inclusion from the 2001 release God Hates Us All. The band shuffled up the setlist to highlight the music from different stages of their career. Fans of Reign in Blood were undoubtedly happy with four tracks including “Angel of Death” and “Raining Blood.” The remaining albums shared around a pair of songs a piece.
Lead guitarist Kerry King stole the show. The flame tattoo coursing down his arm coupled with his savage ax, billy goat’s gruff and chains dangling from his hip made him the hardest man on the stage. His eyes housed such an intensity as he laid into the guitar. This is not to say that guitarist Jeff Hanneman didn’t have his moments with his signature Captain Morgan pose or that frontman Tom Araya didn’t exude an undeniable measure of cool. King just had that intangible ‘it’ factor, if you will, that drew you to him like a moth to the bug zapper.
Slayer performed up to their billing, giving the Mayhem faithful a fervent dose of metal favorites to chew on. Between seeing Anthrax earlier in the day, and Slayer helping Slipknot close the evening, I feel a Big Four reunion and subsequent tour are a must for 2013. They came together for the Indio show in 2011. These guys all hit the road on their own, so how hard can it be to get them all on the same schedule to blast out the arena circuit? You could probably even make the argument that they could sell out stadiums to meet the unquenchable demand of the metal heads across the nation. So this is the official call out to some enterprising young tour promoter out there to iron out the inevitable wrinkles and make this dream tour happen for the fans.
Slayer Setlist : Mayhem Festival at Lakewood Amphitheatre in Atlanta, GA
July 14, 2012
2) War Ensemble
3) Die by the Sword
4) Hate Worldwide
5) Mandatory Suicide
6) Altar of Sacrifice
7) Jesus Saves
8) Seasons in the Abyss
9) Hell Awaits
10) Dead Skin Mask
11) Angel of Death
12) South of Heaven
13) Raining Blood