Diary of a Metal Fan: Slayer – The Anticipation, The Show & The Aftermath
Written by Matt Drummond
It’s 1:14 PM, show starts at 7. Regardless, the concert is in your sights and anticipation is boiling inside you. Now multiply that by about a million, and that only starts to scratch the surface of my anticipation for a Slayer show. In depth song discussions quickly give way to empty beer cans and noise complaints. Neighbors barricaded in their homes, hearing the louder and louder chants of “God Hates Us All.” The decent into the abyss has begun and it’s not even show time.
2016’s Repentless tour has once again solidified Slayer as undisputed gods of metal. Yes, maybe I have a biased opinion, but if you were lucky enough to witness Slayer on their latest tour then I’m informing you of information to which you’re already aware. The flawless execution that Slayer portrays on stage is unparalleled by any other band today. When you take into account the age of the band’s members and what they are able to achieve both in the studio and onstage is truly remarkable. Having the opportunity to see Slayer twice on this tour, once in Chicago with Carcass and Testament, and once in Indianapolis with Death Angel and Anthrax, the thrash legends crushed once again.
The feeling when the lights go out and the “Slayer!” chants start is an experience unlike any other. For people like me who have seen Slayer more times than we can count I know what’s about to take place. For the first timers, an experience unlike any other is what’s on tap. For years the opening to a Slayer show remained consistent. The harrowing sound of ‘Hell Awaits’ would fill the room and it was every man for himself. With ‘Hell Awaits’ now finding it’s home toward the end of the set list, joining classics like ‘South of Heaven’, ‘Raining Blood’, and ‘Angel of Death’, a new opener has now taken the reigns. ‘Delusions of Savior’ offers a similar haunting intro and an explosive transition into ‘Repentless’. It’s hard to beat opening with a Slayer classic, but this new intro still packs a Slayer punch and lets first timers know that what’s happening is heavy metal history.
One aspect of the Repentless tour, which made me smile, primarily at the Indianapolis show, was the amount of younger audience members in attendance. I noticed parents who had their kids with them (which is amazing), as well as teenagers coming out to witness metal royalty. I have no fear that the music of Slayer will ever forgotten; that would an irrational concern, but seeing the legend of Slayer passed down by parents to their children is a way to ensure a proper acknowledgment of not only the music, but the band’s legacy.
One major difference between the Chicago and the Indianapolis shows was the people. Chicago has sustained an unflinching base of Slayer fans, and when you go to a Slayer show in Chicago the audience will be predominantly people from Chicago. Indianapolis on the other hand seemed to have Slayer fans from all over the states in attendance. Hell, I even met a guy from Australia. This isn’t a knock on the dedication of Slayer fans in Indianapolis, but rather a show of respect for Slayer Nation. It doesn’t matter where Slayer decides to “plug-in,” the Slayer Nation will show up in full force.
Playing roughly 20 songs at both shows I attended, Slayer unleashed a ferocious bombardment of songs stretching their entire career. Yes, they played a lot of songs from new album Repentless, but they also continue to punish concert goers with old tracks like; ‘Black Magic’, ‘Postmortem,’ ‘Chemical Warfare,’ and ‘Fight Til Death,’ just to name a few.
“You’re here because you love the music, and we’re here because we love playing it.” -Tom Araya
That’s a direct quote from September 20th, and it is so true. We as Slayer fans understand each other while nobody else on earth does. Seeing Slayer play live is an honor each and every time, and I never take it for granted. One day it’ll be over and that’s a day I dread, but for now I just embrace every moment. What Slayer has done, and continues to do, will not, and can never be repeated. If there’s any advice I can give to a metal fan, it’s make it to a Slayer show, it will change your life. Slayer leaves it all on the stage and the fans are wild, so enter the venue at your own risk and show no mercy!