Slayer at The Academy, Dublin – Review
Slayer at The Academy, Dublin – July 1st 2014
For just over 3 decades, Slayer have unleashed a brutality like no other band has, securing their position as one quarter of ‘The Big Four’ of Thrash Metal. This is not a band to be underestimated or ignored, as proven by tonight’s sold out show. The various generations of Slayer’s career are to be found in tonight’s crowd, all equally as excited to see and hear what the band have in store for them. Tonight brings no support act, but it does bring a lot of AC/DC hits before the band takes to the stage (a fantastic choice to warm up this already ecstatic crowd, if I do say so myself). Will Slayer bring the brutality and signature heavy metal sound that they are so famous for?
The AC/DC ceases and the Academy shifts to total darkness. The crowd can’t take the anticipation and the chants begin: “SLAYER! SLAYER! SLAYER!”. The Thrash Veterans take to the stage, fully armed and ready to wreak havoc on this small, packed venue with ‘Hell Awaits’ opening this rampage. Frontman Tom Araya smiles knowing he already has control of everyone in the room, with guitarists Kerry King and Gary Holt marching across the stage, rallying the troops for tonight’s battle. Their set includes killer tracks such as ‘The Antichrist’, ‘Necrophiliac’, ‘Mandatory Suicide’ ‘Captor of Sin’, ‘War Ensemble’, ‘Die by the Sword’, ‘Spirit Black’, ‘Seasons in the Abyss’ and ‘Dead Skin Mask’. Slayer even give tonight’s crowd a taste of a new track, ‘Implode’, which goes down insanely well with everyone. If I could describe tonight’s pits with one word, I’d absolutely have to use the word ‘carnage’. People were flying across the room, and the majority of the downstairs standing area was a total battle field, allowing for no survivors. It was so hard not to watch those pits they were that insane. There wasn’t a lot of crowd interaction, but when you play a 20-song set list, there isn’t quite a lot of time for chit-chat, but the interaction that was there made the whole place explode, and made the fans’ night that bit more enjoyable; and that’s exactly what the interaction is for! Tonight’s set closes with the hard-hitting ‘Black Magic’, cueing Slayer’s departure from the stage. Needless to say, tonight is not over. The band return to the stage to wreck some more havoc with two more songs in the forms of ‘South of Heaven’ and ‘Angel of Death’. During ‘Angel of Death’, tonight’s Slayer backdrop disappears and a Heineken style backdrop takes its place. On this backdrop is the surname of Slayer’s fallen brother, guitarist and founding member Jeff Hanneman, who passed away last May. If that’s not an incredible tribute, I don’t know what is. It was a moving reminder that Hanneman’s legacy will always live on, and that he was most definitely with us tonight; his soul was in tonight’s brutality. ‘Angel of Death’ brings tonight’s show to a close, and everyone leaves sweating, being barely able to speak and dreading tomorrow’s whiplash and other injuries.
To answer my question earlier: yes, Slayer definitely brought the brutality and heavy metal sound they are so famous for. Instrumentally and vocally, I was so blown away; these are men that have perfected their live performance (after 30 years, I’d like to hope they had!). The atmosphere was second to none, with both the band and the crowd giving 110% the entire night. Their tribute to Jeff brought a moving element to what was in truth a very brutal night. Slayer came, they played, they conquered, and we hope to see them back in Ireland soon.
Review by Shauna Collins