Slayer Unleashes All Heck at the Worcester Palladium

Denez McAdoo

The dark haunting sound of ominous rainfall cap both the beginning and end of the track “Raining Blood,” the musical centerpiece off of Slayer’s 1986 undisputed metal masterpiece Reign in Blood. But do not confuse this for some sentimental Gene Kelly waltz thorough the park, instead it is roughly the closest musical equivalent to a demonic possession, sounding as though it were regurgitated directly from the bowels of hell. Drummer Dave Lombardo creates a monstrous wall of thundering double bass drum as he plays his kit like he hates it. Bassist and lead vocalist Tom Araya spews bile and blasphemy across the ungodly twin lead guitar work of Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman who trade between massive spine-crushing riffing and inhumanly fast soloing like two ADHD kids cracked out on Mountain Dew and skittles. Unlike much of their imitators though, Slayer is capable of writing memorable riffs and lyrics that burn a permanent rot in your skull. And this is all done with the subtlety of a concrete brick to the face. Sure this sounds like a lot of hyperbole for a metal band whom to you average uninformed Jessica Simpson fan probably would just say that it all sounds the same anyways. But Slayer is different. They aren’t simply brutal, they are unrelenting, unforgiving and just plain old not nice. I used to have heated debates about what was the greatest speed/thrash metal album of all time. Almost with out question it would come down to a close draw between Metallica’s Master of Puppets and Slayer’s Reign in Blood (both released in 1986, what a very fine year). What makes or breaks it for me is the guitar solos. Now, no offense to Kirk “the jerk” Hammett, but Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman’s dueling atonal, almost avant-garde (think free jazz, you pansies), chromatic scale screeching, squealing, and almost indistinguishably blur of a guitar solo, makes Reign in Blood less musical, thus more metal, and ultimately most pure evil of the two. Oh yeah, also Slayer never sued their fans for using Napster. Instead Slayer retained their momentum by investing in their fans. They know that by never trying to make their music more accessible and radio friendly, they were able to preserve their hardcore fan base. Now, by hardcore fan base I am, of course, referring to the alcohol-rabid psychopaths and other depraved excuses for human beings that constitute the crowd at any given Slayer concert. Seriously, watch the fan section of any one of Slayer’s concert DVDs and you will be afraid to share the same planet as these lunatics. Accidentally stumbling into the mosh pit is like signing your own death warrant. Slayer have been continually releasing metal since 1982’s Show No Mercy, which they still show none of, 10 studio albums, two live albums, three videos, and one career spanning box set, later. Their latest DVD, entitled Still Reigning was just released on October 26 and it shows the band revisiting the music of their classic album Reign in Blood. This effort is welcomed and justified by the recent return of Slayer’s original drummer, Dave Lombardo who had been replaced by Paul Bostaph, formally of the band Forbidden, since 1994’s Divine Intervention. Though the band managed quite well with Bostaph behind the kit, the most recent and arguably best album with Bostaph being God Hates Us All (released on September 11, 2001… yeah THAT September 11), it is unquestionable that their best work was done with Lombardo, and fans are highly anticipating the band’s as of yet untitled upcoming 11th studio release which is currently being written and recorded. In the meantime, grab your Judas Priest denim vest and maybe a jock-strap (you’ll need the protection) and head to the hills of Worcester to catch Slayer live at The Palladium on November 13. They’ll be publicly brutalizing your eardrums along with Kill Switch Engage and Mastodon, whose new album Leviathan, something of a metal concept album loosely based around Moby Dick, totally destroys, so be sure to get there early and check them out. Hopefully by then Tom Araya will have fully recovered from losing his voice over in Münich, Germany back in

September, as several dates of the European leg of the tour had to be canceled because of it. It’s been reported that he’s doing fine so it should not be an issue. I’d hate to have to miss Tom’s paint-stripping falsetto at the beginning of “Angel of Death” so he better stock up on chamomile tea with honey and some soothing eucalyptus throat lozenges.