Slayer at Manchester Academy
30th May 2010
Review and photos by Frank Ralph
Third time lucky for the Slayer faithful.
This was actually my first gig since the passing of Ronnie James Dio, and it was really nice to hear classic Rainbow being belted out through the PA before Slayer took to the stage, as today was the date that the Dio memorial was taking place in LA.
It was even nicer to note that the customary chants of Slayer! Slayer! Slayer! were saved for the gaps between tracks, as everyone enjoyed the moment and respected the meaning of the songs.
It’s safe to say Slayer don’t have fans as much as they have disciples, and the Slayer faithful have had to be very patient of late whilst Tom Araya has dealt with the toll of the last 30 years. This gig was originally due to take place last November and has been postponed twice while the front man has had career saving back surgery.
As Slayer take to the stage the atmosphere is unbelievable, more so than any other time I have seen them. Opening with Hate World Wide it is the audiences cue to go absolutely apeshit – not that they needed one.
The sound is so powerful in the Academy tonight, with the twin assault of Hanneman and Kings’ shredding guitars creating a cacophony of noise, and even later in the set (when I retreat to the back for a well earned drink) you can still physically feel Araya’s bass and Lombardo’s drums beating in your chest.
The limitations that Tom’s back surgery have left him with are clear for all to see, with a ‘no head banging’ rule imposed for his own safety, the moments between lyrics mean he almost looks lost – as if he really wants to cut loose. It does mean he is fully focused on his vocals and the delivery of War Ensemble and Jihad in particular are faultless.
The only the glaring omission in tonight’s set list was Dead Skin Mask, but tracks like Seasons in the Abyss, Mandatory Suicide and Raining Blood (performed on a stage flooded with red light) mean that nobody should need any more proof that Slayer are THE most important metal band on the planet.
They keep the energy up for an hour and a half and close with a triumvirate of South of Heaven, Silent Scream and Angel of Death. It was such an epic end to a great night.
When people talk about the ‘Big Four’ Slayer often get overlooked in favour of Metallica, and sometimes Megadeth in the grand scheme of things. I however would put them in the top spot every time, and when they share the stage for the first time ever in Bulgaria on June 22nd I will be shouting for Slayer the loudest from my cinema seat.
Hate World Wide
Beauty Through Order
Seasons in the Abyss
South of Heaven
Angel of Death