Pick Your Rock and Metal

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Slaying all in their path - Slayer return to Belfast triumphant

SLAYER have proven year after year that they have some of the most devoted fans in the world and after what has been a tough year for the band, it could have been forgiven to see them head towards the end of the World Domination European leg subdued as they played in Belfast on 13th August .

But just days after a headlining slot at Bloodstock and eight weeks after being in Belfast's Limelight1 for their first show of this double fix of old school thrash King and Araya were standing atop a tide of goodwill, riding each wave of support, each chanted lyric, each pit and each raised pint as if debutantes at a coming out ball.

Whereas in June we noted that at times they were a little restrained there was no holding back as the Slaytonic Wehrmacht rose time after time to acclaim the band that sees fashion trends and generally spits in their face - albeit after one flirtation in the 90s that all including themselves hated.

From the opening bars of World Painted Blood to the encores this was a run through of pure unadulterated thrash metal - judging by each smile thrown between band members to the cheesy grins amongst the audience this was a Slayer performance perhaps unequaled since their 80s heyday.

King, who last time out remained fixedly staring at his left hand, was now engaging with the audience with stares and pantomime villain looks at all the right moments.

Tom Araya seemed congenial and positively pleased to be doing the job he does best - growling lyrics of the utmost offence to 'normal' society and pounding his bass as if he hated its wooden look.

Noting in an almost offhand way that it was the second time in 2013 Slayer played Belfast - but not leaving out those who had seen the Californian speed metal monsters previously - he asked were there any "repeat offenders" in the audience, leading to raucous acclaim.

In their usual varied set each base was touched from Hell Awaits through to Hate Worldwide; from Mandatory Suicide to Angel of Death; and a quite simply awe inspiring Dead Skin Mask.

And, it was Dead Skin Mask that best summed up the night. A song delivered with menace when Slayer are average (which is still better than most bands best), tonight ...Mask was played with an intensity that would drive serial killers to a life of monastic reflection. There was power, barely under control, as it flayed the faces of the adoring audience: there was menace in each note, and it was where Holt and Bostapath rose again to the challenges the cynical few may have had. But most of all it encapsulated Slayer at its best.

Whether we ever see Slayer ever release another set of new material now remains moot - they have already achieved the hallowed heights few can ever wish for in the metallic pantheon of greats; and it was simply great to see them back doing what they do best - Slaying all in their path.

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