We recently had the chance to attend the Chicago date of Slayer’s 2013 North American tour at the Aragon Ballroom. You can check out our review of the show, after the break.
It has been almost 7 years since SLAYER had done a headline tour in the United States. Even longer than that since they headlined one of their landmark territories: Chicago, IL. This fall season that changes, The only thing different this time the legends of thrash metal are carrying on without guitarist/founding member Jeff Hanneman(R.I.P.) who passed away this very year on May 2nd. “The show must go on” is cliché, but strikingly relevant and so the show goes.
Australian lads 4Arm kicked things off to a packed house full of the most rabid fans in all of metal and maybe in all of music. From when the lights went out for this 4some, the fans wasted no time in DEMANDING for SLAYER, but the dudes weren’t phased one bit as they crammed as many tunes in a half hour as humanly possible. They definitely fall in common with the Metallica/Testament breed of thrash ‘n’ groove with catchy choruses that got the attendees to throw ‘guitar hands’ in the air. A MUCH better sign of that then getting “SLAYER’D” off the stage any day of the week. Although it was still early, their reception from such a demanding crowd was well received. Kudos, especially opening this gig!
The heaviest of the heavy comes from France?! YEP! The name is Gojira and the very second the distortion rips, it feels like you’ve been decked in the face by a young Mike Tyson. Ironically, the lyrical message from these gentlemen is very positive, and is that of raising awareness of what is going on in our world. Classic tune ‘Backbone’ was when the crowd had their coffee and got waking up. I’ve said it before about Gojira live and I’ll say it again, the sound produced between all the instruments live is so heavy it feels like it is going right through you. Closing epic Vacuity maybe their ‘smoke on the water’ in terms of simplicity but its effectiveness through the speakers is bludgeoning and will leave you breathless. To reference Devin Townsend: Heavy as a really heavy thing!
SLAYER. The name and music need no introduction. By far and large, one of the most prominent names in all of music even after 3 decades. The set for this current tour is dedicated to their fallen bandmate Jeff Hanneman and draws exclusively from their first 5 albums. Filling in on guitar for Jeff was Gary Holt of Exodus fame. Long time drummer Dave Lombardo recently replaced by the return of Paul Bostaph(Testament, Exodus) and rounded out by mainstays Kerry King and Tom Araya. ‘HELL AWAAAIIITTSSS”! One of several of the classic lyrics from the Bay Area quartet. The pits were as fast as a speeding bullet, and the crowd was like a walking Red Bull advertisement with the amount of energy they thrived off of. A classic set calls for some deep cuts as the band brushed the dust off rarities like ‘Captor of Sin’ and ‘The Antichrist’. This was a die-hard fan’s wet dream come to life. Gary Holt has done justice in Jeff’s name by absolutely flooring it when playing his leads and his written songs. Somewhere out there, Hanneman must be raising a Heineken showcasing his approval. A nice little bonus was the band covering ‘Strike of the Beast’ from Exodus which was fitting considering half the current SLAYER line up is or was in Exodus at some point. As usual, It wouldn’t be a SLAYER show as well without the staples per say ‘Mandatory Suicide’, ‘War Ensemble’, and of course the 1986 milestone anthem for the ages, ‘Angel of Death’. “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” the classic scream heard around the world on said song that changed the game forever had these fanatics going out as if this were their farewell tour. Let’s hope it isn’t so because this current version of SLAYER sounds hungry, visceral and loaded with a lot of diesel to keep the machine going for another several years. If you have any skepticism of seeing this band after their recent loss, I highly encourage you to give it a 2nd thought and catch them. To take from a classic quote “never judge a book by its cover” so open this one up and enjoy!
Information about this review…
Tour: Slayer’s 2013 North American Tour
Bands: Slayer, Gojira, 4ARM
Reviewer: Nicholas Wier
Date: November 15, 2013
Venue: Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, IL
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Joshua Weidling Owner/Founder
I'm the Founder & CEO of Digital Tour Bus. I started the company in my dorm room during my freshman year of college. I have a degree in Business Marketing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Outside of music, I'm an avid watcher of South Park, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Community and Parks & Recreation.