It was in 1981, when four teenagers wanted to play the fastest music there was yet known in the history of rock n roll. Four hungry teenagers, ready to explore their dark side and with a variety of influences from punk to rock n roll they went and created what is now known as Slayer. Fast forward 35 plus years later, a death of the creator of multiple amazing songs, Jeff Hanneman and addition of legendary guitarist Gary Holt and phenomenal drummer Paul Bostaph Slayer is at their final days. They kicked off their End of Days tour in San Diego, Ca. moving upwards to Five Points Amphitheater in Irvine, Ca. bringing with them the brutal sounds of Behemoth, legendary Bay Area thrash metal Testament and New York area thrash band Anthrax complimented by Richmond, Virginia’s all American metal band Lamb of God.
The sold out show, as expected was vivid, fans raged to the sound of legendary thrash metal band Testament. They kicked of their set with their newest track titled “Brotherhood of the Snake”, a neck breaker and the moshpit started hot and furious from the get go. It was on stage, where you witness the magic of pure heavy riffs by both knee debilitating guitar masters Alex Skolnick and founder Eric Peterson. Both guitarist showcased an infuriating riffage, from speed metal to heavy tones, Alex Skolnick would be caught interacting with the fans. Eric Peterson connects with his band and brings the pain on stage. Mean while the magnificent drummer, Gene Hoglan, smashed your brains out with his double pedal, and explosive drum work. Not once did he rest. On bass Steve DiGiorgio slaps the depth with his powerful bass, swaying that long blonde hair side to side captivating fans. The vocals were a relentless display of power by Chuck Billy, carrying his mic and bonding with his comrades on stage is exciting to see. He delivers a riveting set of vocals through out the entire show. Chuck Billy throws at the crowd shirts, and goodies making sure his fans enjoy the show. Testament are an exemplary band and they deliver such a neck breaking performance, their set is fast and furious fitting as many songs as they are able to in a 35 minute set, priceless.
The masters of blackened death metal, Behemoth went on stage, introduced by an ominous track, they ripped a new hole in hell. The mastodons conquered Irvine, California with their malignant metal, their first track was “Ov Fire and the Void”, a soul burning song that has no mercy on their listeners. As if it was not enough, they followed that track with “Demigod”, a song which has not been heard live in Irvine or California in a while if ever. The quartet emerges from the darkness, bring hell with them and unleash their demons on stage. Their energetic set made fans crowd surf and mosh heavily. Behemoth is currently working on their new album, and with their rise to the major leagues since their release of Pandemoniac Incantations back in 1998, their fan base has grown to gigantic proportions. Seth and Nergal deliver such vicious attack on guitars. Meanwhile, Orion rages heavily on his bass, and backing vocals roaring like an enraged demon. Together the string masters decapitate fans with technicality, melodies, heavy riffs and of course Nergal demonic vocals. Behind his throne, Inferno erupts with power, relentlessly, he executes a brutal foot work and catastrophic drum work. It had been a while since he played live with Behemoth as he stayed home to take care of his family man duties, respectable and honorable, he jumps back and slays. The set was too short if you ask me, Behemoth deserves an hour set, in order for their energy to be infected on those souls who had just arrive mid their set. Behemoth has been conquering America for quite some time, from executing souls at the Chicago Open Air Festival last year, to touring heavily with Slayer on the Repentless tour, now they have exposed more fans to their contagious sound. It is no doubt that Behemoth, have become goliath of their genre, with Metal Blade records behind them, and their malignant sound Behemoth will continue to mesmerize fans of all ages.
Anthrax played a phenomenal show, followed by Lamb of God who together alone can make all fans go nuts. Anthrax, from New York delivered some classics, and thrashers also know as “Bros” loved the set list. There were fans from all ages, 12- 50 years old, all gathered there to witness what Slayer had to offer as their adios amigos tour.
Slayer kicked off their set with “Repentless”, followed by “Blood Red”, the fans started the pits, and fires as an offering to their metal masters. Long live Slayer, the crowd chanted “Slayeeeerrrr, Slayeeeeeer, Slayeeeeer!” and the venue shook. The final tour set list had an unexpected track in its ranks, “Dittohead” was played fast, and the fans all were left in awe. Some had no idea what song it was, but they still moshed as if it was their last time. Well with Slayer playing in the background it was. Slayer could have added to the list “Piece By Piece”, or “Aggressive Perfector” to add a bit more originality. Nonetheless, Slayer played with savagery and did not hold back on the furious guitar solos by Gary Holt and Kerry King, despite the rain they delivered their skull crushing speed metal. Tom Araya was in top shape, screaming louder than before stood at the front where he belongs. The Slayer logo set in flames added an extra demonic, or may I dare say Satanic feeling to the show. Those giant moshpits were like tornados sucking in anything in their way, throwing out the broken weak metal heads. At the guest relations sections, you would see fans with head injuries, still smiling as they were taking their trophy home one last time hailing the masters of thrash metal. The sound was brutal, the track “Payback” was invigorating and everyone in the venue lost their mind. It was behind the fire where you could see Paul Bostaph delivering those grenades on drums. He executed his throne like a king, and relentlessly evoked the demons within the crowd. Slayer played no more, Tom Araya stood at the mike and emotionally thanked the fans and said with a bitter sweet feeling “Goodbye”, and walked off. No more needed from the Slayer frontman, as he had already sang his guts out. The fans witnessed their last Slayer show and will have a killer set list to remember this, as they tell their grandchildren who Slayer was and what they stood for, all metalheads!
By: Jose Barrientos
Photos By: Jose Barrientos