“Once more into to breach, dear friends, once more”. One more time into the Slayer farewell tour, I’ve been lucky enough to cover this tour more than once for Metal Nexus and for that I am thankful! This time I’m in Huntington, West Virginia at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena where they know how to host a rock show!
For this leg of the farewell tour Slayer has Lamb of God (who’s been with them throughout) along with Amon Amarth and Cannibal Corpse opening the show. These four bands will get any metal head’s black heart pounding, head swinging and horns in the air! Somewhere on the ticket for this show should be a whiplash disclaimer, I’m guessing a lot of necks hurt after this onslaught of sonic violence.
Speaking of violence and whiplash. The first band on tonight’s bill Cannibal Corpse is not for the faint of heart, not that this tour has attracted many of the faint of heart variety. Opening the night with “Evisceration Plague” and “Scourge of Iron” George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher had little say between songs just kept the Huntington crowd enthralled with his lyrics and what I can only call extreme headbanging. Closing out their set with “Stripped, Raped and Strangled” and “Hammer Smashed Face”. This was my first experience with Cannibal Corpse and one that I will not soon forget. It was impressive, no frills just straight forward heavy music.
Amon Amarth was another band that I had never had the opportunity to see live. They did not disappoint! Walking out to get in the pit to photograph the band, first thing I noticed on stage that you just don’t see at many metal shows was the bow of a Viking ship. I knew right then Huntington was in for a show, and the gentlemen/Vikings in Amon Amarth gave them that show! Starting the set off with “The Pursuit of Vikings”, “Deceiver of the Gods” and “As Loke Falls” vocalist Johan Hegg complete with Viking horn attached to his belt and the rest of Amon Amarth entertained the enthusiastic West Virginia crowd. Judging from the amount of Amon Amarth tee-shirts I saw in the crowd they had a lot of fans in attendance but I’m sure after their performance many new ones were made, myself included. Don’t pass on this band if given the opportunity to see them live.
With the familiar opening lines of “Omerta” echoing through the arena everyone in the place knew what was next, Lamb Of God! The music of “Omerta” kicked in and the place game unglued… as it should!! Next, before anyone could take a breath, Lamb Of God tore into “Ruin” followed by “Walk With Me In Hell”! Only a short pause then for Randy Blythe (vocals) to address the crowd then right back into the mayhem that is a Lamb Of God show. The entire set Randy is working back and forth across the stage delivering his lyrics while jumping off risers and steps not missing a beat, stopping occasionally on the middle riser to encourage the crowd to keep the circle pits going or to make those pits bigger. If you’ve never been to a Lamb Of God show circle pits are part of the show, almost a requirement if you’re down front. The biggest circle pits however are reserved for when Lamb Of God plays “Redneck” tonight’s closing song. Those pits are epic, if you can’t be in one you really need to be up high where you can see it, absolutely incredible!
Slayer, that’s it, that’s all I need to say. What do you say about a band that arguably started an entire genre of music, thrash metal? A band that when there name is mentioned evokes that genre of music. What more can be said about a band that’s been playing that genre of music since 1981? A band that has legions of fans of all ages, sold millions of albums, won numerous awards. Not much more to be said other than that on this, their farewell tour, they are still the kings of thrash and one badass band!
Starting this night in West Virginia off with “Repentless” and “Evil Has No Boundaries” Slayer shows why they are still the kings of metal! Yes over the years there are and I’m sure will be bands that bring metal music forward to the masses, but without Slayer do these bands exist? That’s a discussion for another article. This review however is about a 19 song set that Slayer gave the fans in Huntington, WV, fans that willingly and enthusiastically accepted what Slayer offered them. Slayer played songs from all over their extensive catalogue of music. The aforementioned “Evil Has No Boundaries” is from 1983’s ‘Show No Mercy’ album and “Repentless” from 2015’s album of the same name ‘Repentless’ others included in this impressive collection of songs “War Ensemble” “Chemical Warfare” “Seasons in the Abyss” and the list goes on of incredible work from over the years. The last four songs of the night are without a doubt what makes Slayer, well Slayer. Closing the night with “South Of Heaven” “Raining Blood” “Dead Skin Mask” and “Angle of Death”. I’ve said this before, if you have a chance to see this tour before it ends this year of the next, don’t pass on it. There will never be another Slayer.
Also if you have a chance to see a show at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena you will not be sorry. They are on top of their game and I will be back this year. Check out the lineup they have coming so far for 2019.