Words by: Michael Barrett
Photography by: Jason Hodgins
Monday nights aren’t often the most exciting, as we all know. Typically, we spend Monday evenings at home, trying to relax after the first day of our work weeks and preparing to grind out the rest of it. However, the twelfth day of September was unlike any Monday night I’ve ever experienced.
With some dumb luck I found myself shoulder-to-shoulder with hundreds of fans screaming, “SLAYER! SLAYER! SLAYER!” all sweaty and pumped up at the Sound Academy for Slayer’s North American Tour with Anthrax and Death Angel.
Once Anthrax finished their set and left the stage I could feel the energy of the crowd turn up another notch. Randomly timed cries of “SLAYER!” could be heard from every direction. Hordes of burly men swarmed the bars on either side of the venue, all trying to get one or two (or five) more pre-Slayer set drinks to make sure they were good and ready to unleash their pent up energy.
It was all a very manly experience. Sure, there were likely all genders represented at the show but the vast majority of the crowd were large, sweaty dudes. This fact along with the brand of music Slayer dished out, for some strange reason, I can only describe as, “meaty.”
A brief intermission between Anthrax and Slayer sets passed when rumbling from the stage began. The crowd came alive again and packed the stage front.
Slayer’s headlining set began with the title track from their 2015 release, “Repentless” and followed up with “The Antichrist” from their first album release, Show No Mercy. The crowd sang along to popular tracks like “God Hates Us All”, and “Disciple“, and “Postmortem” as the band made their way through the first third of their setlist while building a frantic metal energy their fans have come to know and love.
The backdrop on the stage was a storey-tall version of their newest album cover, a Christian Jesus with empty, hollow eyes that seemed to reflect the missing presence of Jeff Hanneman (RIP). Something could be said about the presence of Satanic imagery in the modern day but this element is true to Slayer-form. If you aren’t on board with self-indulgence, anti-christian expression, and masculine energy then perhaps this wasn’t the concert for you. However, these are elements Slayer has come to be known for and except for the omission of a few of my personal favourite tracks, this show was just about everything you’d expect from the thrash icons.
The show continued on and Slayer kept their crowd fully engaged. Towards the end of the set we were treated with mega-classics like “Dead Skin Mask”, “Raining Blood”, and “South of Heaven”. The crowd, including myself, seemed to know every word to these songs and belted them out in solidarity. It was a ton of fun singing along with Tom Araya, that raunchy old man never ceases to amaze.
To cap off the show, Slayer performed the iconic fan favourite “Angel of Death” much to the delight of myself and my fellow crowd members. The mosh pit near the stage reached it’s peak, you could see several people crowd surfing, and everyone seemed to be getting their fill while relinquishing their pent up energy. Slayer then finished by thanking us for joining them and paid homage to their fallen band member with a new backdrop resembling a famous German lager that read, “Hanneman – Anti Christ – Premium Quality.”
Overall, it was a great performance put on by the metal legends. Their fans left the venue satisfied and paid back in full for their time and ticket purchases. I’d like to thank Slayer, the fans, and The Heavy Press for a great night.
When the Stillness Comes
You Against You
Fight Till Death
Dead Skin Mask
Born of Fire
Pride in Prejudice
South of Heaven
Angel of Death