Canadian Carnage (Megadeth / Slayer / Machine Head / Suicide Silence) – Vancouver – June 24th, 2009

June 25th, 2009
by Lord of the Wasteland

Canadian Carnage

feat. Megadeth / Slayer / Machine Head / Suicide Silence

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

General Motors Place

Vancouver, BC  Canada

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***Live Review & All Photos By Lord of The Wasteland


Surprising many with an extremely limited run of four Canadian dates dubbed “Canadian Carnage,” veteran thrashers Megadeth and Slayer co-headlined with long-running Bay Area punters, Machine Head, and deathcore newbies, Suicide Silence, in tow to kick off one of the biggest metal lineups to hit Vancouver this year.  Apparently, the economic downturn hasn’t affected metalheads’ studded wallets either, as the $60-80 ticket price still yielded a pretty good turnout (6,000 people) for a Wednesday night thrash metal show.

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Suicide Silence is one of the most talked-about up-and-comers currently ravaging fans of the genre-dividing deathcore movement.  As much reviled as it is loved, the hybrid of old-school brutal death metal and hardcore breakdowns is the latest hot trend and Suicide Silence is one its frontrunners.  THE CLEANSING got the press abuzz in 2007 but with NO TIME TO BLEED due out June 30th, the Riverside, California-based quintet has some major expectations resting on its release.  That being said, a tour of this caliber is invaluable to expose a young band to a crowd not typically within its demographic.  With a 6:30PM start time, GM Place was still pretty empty as Suicide Silence hit the stage but that did not inhibit Mitch Luckner from playing to the small but enthusiastic gathering that nestled into the front barrier to catch the band’s half-hour set.  Drawing four songs each from THE CLEANSING and NO TIME TO BLEED, Suicide Silence made its presence known—if not just for the music but through Luckner’s spastic, pterodactyl-like, headbanging (it defies description and really must be seen).  “Lifted” and “Wake Up” seem like a good indication the band hasn’t mellowed from the heft of “The Price of Beauty” and “Bludgeoned To Death,” either.  While Suicide Silence may not be everyone’s cup of tea, look for the band to make major headway on the scene this year.

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SUICIDE SILENCE SETLIST

Lifted

Bludgeoned To Death

Wake Up

Unanswered

The Price of Beauty

No Time To Bleed

Your Creations

No Pity For A Coward

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As frontman Robb Flynn pointed out, Machine Head had not played in Vancouver in seven years and the Bay Area stalwarts left no stone unturned in its all-too-brief forty minute set.  Still riding high on the almost universal praise heaped on 2007’s career-defining THE BLACKENING (this writer’s easy choice for Best Album of that year), Machine Head clearly thrived on the crowd’s energy with Flynn instigating several lively circle pits and encouraging neck-snapping headbanging.  Dipping back into 1994’s BURN MY EYES for “Struck A Nerve” and “Davidian,” the band mixed newer material like set opener “Imperium” and THE BLACKENING’s “Halo” (featuring stunning clean guitar interplay between Flynn and Phil Demmel) and “Beautiful Mourning” flawlessly.  Drummer Dave McClain and beefy bassist Adam Duce, a stoic but integral component of Machine Head’s groove-based metal assault, owned “Ten Ton Hammer” but Flynn’s endless charisma certainly stole the show.  Still rebounding from the fallout of a career-ending nosedive that nearly derailed the band in 2002, Machine Head proved its worth leaving many in attendance asking when the band will return with a full headlining set.

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MACHINE HEAD SETLIST

Imperium

Ten Ton Hammer

Struck A Nerve

Beautiful Mourning

Halo

Davidian

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With Slayer and Megadeth sharing co-headlining status on this tour (the bands close two of the four shows apiece) and an hour’s set each, it was truly a clash of the titans (heh heh) over who could reign supreme.  For the Vancouver show, Megadeth got the closing slot giving fans that spent the better part of the previous two hours chanting Slayer’s name some early relief.  At this point, Slayer could come out and play their sloppiest set filled with their weakest material and still generate echoed cries of “SLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYERRRRRRRRRRRR!!” from the devoted throngs but leave it to the dark masters to toss in a few surprises.  With only three of the thirteen tracks coming from the band’s post-SEASONS IN THE ABYSS catalogue, Slayer leaned heavily on its classic material.  Of course, no Slayer show would be complete without “Raining Blood,” “War Ensemble” and “Angel of Death” but throwing in the rarely-played “Live Undead” and “Ghosts of War” from 1988’s SOUTH OF HEAVEN and “Psychopathy Red,” a new song from the band’s tenth studio album, WORLD PAINTED BLOOD, due later this summer, seemed to appease fans who were growing tiresome of what many have called a safe, predictable set.  Looking thinner and less grandfatherly than he has in recent years by shaving off his thick graying beard, vocalist/bassist Tom Araya announced he would do little talking between songs, taking small liberties by dedicating “Mandatory Suicide” to the Iranian people fighting to their death in the name of freedom and winding up the crowd with the verse to “Dead Skin Mask.”  The guitar team of Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman sizzled on the frenzied but ominous lead-in march of “Hell Awaits” and the classic leads of “South of Heaven” but everyone waited for the man beating the tubs—Dave Lombardo—to let out his war drums for “Angel of Death” (you know the part!) and the thunderous intro of “Raining Blood” to cap off the evening.  Rumors surround the Slayer camp that the band may pack it in following the touring cycle of WORLD PAINTED BLOOD but if the new record proves to be a high-water mark as 2006’s CHRIST ILLUSION did, look for the boys to soldier on through a few more battles.

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SLAYER SETLIST

Darkness of Christ (Intro)

Disciple

War Ensemble

Jihad

Chemical Warfare

Ghosts of War

Psychopathy Red

Live Undead

Dead Skin Mask

Hell Awaits

Mandatory Suicide

Angel of Death

South of Heaven

Raining Blood

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As many lesser bands can attest, the only thing worse than following Slayer is opening for Slayer, but leave it to Dave Mustaine to excite a weary crowd.  Megadeth’s creative nucleus remains as out-spoken as ever (thanking the other bands, Mustaine stumbled over Suicide Silence’s moniker before simply dismissing them…ouch!) and the public feud between Mustaine and Kerry King (as well as another between King and Robb Flynn) fuelled plenty of press for both bands over the years, but with differences apparently cast aside, no bad blood surfaced on stage.  Like Slayer, Megadeth has a new record—ENDGAME—set to drop in September and fans were treated to the first public rollout of new material in “Headcrusher,” a classic thrash piece reportedly influenced by a Medieval torture device, that required printed lyrics taped to the stage as a fail-safe measure.  The band’s twelve-song set was as noteworthy for its inclusions (“Rattlehead,” good; “She-Wolf,” bad) as its trimming of recent set staples like “Sweating Bullets,” “A Tout Le Monde” and “Tornado of Souls” but make no mistake, Megadeth was on fire.  Mustaine leaves a lot of the soloing to Chris Broderick (ex-Jag Panzer) these days but can still shred on “Wake Up Dead” and “Holy Wars” like a man possessed.  Performing live, Shawn Drover, nestled behind his gigantic drum kit and hanging veil of cymbals, does more than copy Nick Menza’s hard-hitting style by adding his own tasteful fills to songs like “Hangar 18” and the lockstep groove of “Symphony of Destruction.”  But leave it to Mustaine to steal the spotlight with a show-stopping version of “In My Darkest Hour,” a song that remains powerful even twenty years after it was written, and the relentless speed metal of “Rattlehead,” an early track from 1985’s KILLING IS MY BUSINESS…AND BUSINESS IS GOOD that is so full of piss and vinegar that Mustaine’s trademark snarl and flagellating riffs defy his 47 years. 

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MEGADETH SETLIST

Sleepwalker

Wake Up Dead

Hangar 18

Skin O’ My Teeth

Rattlehead

Kick The Chair

In My Darkest Hour

She-Wolf

Headcrusher

Symphony of Destruction

Peace Sells

Holy Wars…The Punishment Due

Continuing the upswing of thrash metal, Megadeth and Slayer got out of the studio to dust off the cobwebs and introduce some promising new material for its ever-growing legion of fans.  While the ticket price was a bit on the high end, no one could deny that all four bands brought their A-game to give fans plenty of bang for their buck and prove that heavy metal is a driving force in music today.


***Thanks to Jessica at Live Nation, as well as Dean at Roadrunner Records and George at Century Media Records for the photo passes.


Megadeth—Official Site

Slayer—Official Site


Machine Head—Official Site


Suicide Silence—Official Site


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