The Old Ice Hall
The 17th of March 2011
REVIEW AND PICTURES BY ARTO LEHTINEN AND MARKO SYRJÄLÄ
How should this article be started when both bands are truly living metal legends in every aspect? Seriously, getting both Slayer and Megadeth tour package called “European Carnage” to Finland was without a doubt the most desired metal event of the year. It seems that The “Big Four” touring festival will obviously not reach Finland but besides seeing these two bands at one gig appeared to be more tempting with the full mind blowing sets than a best-of set with a lousy 30 minute playing time at some major festival. As it is widely known, Jeff Hannemann has been forced to sit out of the touring commitments due to the furious bacteria and Exodus axeman Gary Holt has been recruited to help them out. If a suitable replacement hadn’t been found to step in, it would have caused a massive cancellation for Slayer all around the world. Judging by the messages posted by the people on different forums, seeing Holt doing the Slayer classics has caused an enormous interest toward Slayer. The old and chilly Ice Hall in the heart of Helsinki once again called thousands of metalheads to crush their heads to have a dead skin mask. The night offered a few surprises. First off, the Ice Hall wasn’t even close to the sold out! There were plenty of empty seats all around the venue. That was kind of weird as both the bands enjoy tremendous success on their own level. Both bands have however visited Finland on last summers festivals by performing in front of huge audiences. Obviously for that reason the old Ice Hall wasn’t packed but it still did well with with over 4000 tickets sold.
In the wake of the drumming intro by Shawn Drover, Ellefson and Broderick appeared on the stage and finally Mustaine himself showed up. The gig was started with “Trust” and was followed by a couple of older songs from the 80’s. “Wake Up Dead” sounded massive and heavy. The kids in the front appeared to be going to be totally bezerk as banging their heads brutality.
As for the list in general, even though the latest album ENDGAME has been voted the best of the year and praised in several media, but the setlist of the night mainly consisted of the material from bands most succesfull 1990-1997 era. Apart from “Headcrusher” and “How The Story Ends” selected from the excellent ENDGAME album. Besides, the audience is usually willing to hear the Megadeth classics and that’s what they surely got. Unfortunately, nothing was included from bands two previous albums THE SYSTEM HAS FAILED or UNITED ABOMINATIONS. So there were no surprises there with the exception of “Mechanix” which was played unexpectedly in the middle of “Peace Sells”. The choice of “Mechanix” definitely came out of blue as it hasn’t been played that often at the Megadeth shows though.
The gig before Helsinki in St.Petersburg, the main man of Megadeth, Dave Mustaine, had suffered from an unexpected sickness. However the man had recovered enough to play in Helsinki as gave no quarter with his performance. His stage presence and manners haven’t faced any radical changes in the past years. The man still spins his hair and lives up to the music and above all the playing of the solos. Chris Broderick has turned to be a right man in the a right place in Megadeth. His style and appearance breathes pure metal energy. Though Ellefson was out of the band for a while, his return has brought back that missing piece of the passion and intensivety to the band. Although he doesn’t rage on the stage as much as twenty years ago, his character belongs in the world of Megadeth for sure.
The gig rolled song by song and solo by solo. There were no obligatory speeches between songs which was welcomed and the music handled that part of the show. The sound succeeded in reaching the bearable level as not having that nasty distortion and messy quality what Slayer had.
Wake Up Dead
In My Darkest Hour
A Tout Le Monde
How the Story Ends
Poison Was the Cure
Tornado of Souls
Symphony of Destruction
Peace Sells / Mechanix
Slayer, the other legendary thrash metal group of the evening, kicked the night off by focusing on newer material and then followed with mandatory classics. All in all, the setlist of Slayer didn’t offer any tremendous and unexpected surprises as Megadeth did with “Mechanix”. The obvious choices such as “Post Mortem”, “Dead Skin Mask”, “Mandatory Suicide” have been an essential part of most of the Slayer gigs over the years. As for the newer material it had a strong role on the set with “Temptation” and “Payback”. The newer material definitely generates controversial opinions amongst hard core fans when listening for example “Americon” still sounding slayerishing thrashing brutal approach.
Megadeth had an enjoyable sound quality for their set, but the sounds for Slayer were kind of distorted and messy. Even small technical bloopers couldn’t be avoided. After the typical “WAR cry” by Araya, King was about to burst riffs out of “War Ensemble”, but no single fizzle was heard from him amps. A big grim smile appeared on the face of Araya who was rather amused about the small glitch.
Well Slayer was still Slayer even though Hanneman wasn’t there. But there are some things to be pointed out. The hired axeman Gary Holt of EXODUS definitely nailed his job with professionalism and attitude. However, he appeared to be a little bit invisible on the stage, whereas King’s role and character were dominating for obvious reasons. Even though Holt handled his job well by doing a brilliant job playing, he didn’t shine that well on the stage as he does in Exodus. It has to be remembered that being and replacing an important piece in a huge puzzle is always demanding for anyone. Another interesting point when standing on the side of Kerry King, Holt’s playing couldn’t be heard at all! When standing in the middle of the venue both the guitarist sounded like being off balance.
Araya’s neck problems are known amongst the metalheads. The man is no longer able to bang his head with that intensively as he used to a few years back. Unfortunately the years have been merciless and severe injuries prevent him from the ultimate head banging. But he has soldiered on and still keeps his metal persona up after all these years. The present day Slayer would be quite pale without Lombardo’s input in the band. His accrurate and punctual clock tight playing definitely keeps Slayer on track. Lombardo’s role in the world of Slayer is the most essential factor how “Angel Of Death” of thrash metal sounds.
As for the fans, the Finnish audience has occasionally been described as wild and insane. Those two descriptions can’t be adjusted to the crowd at The European Carnage. A couple of occasional pits started out during “Angel Of Death”, but generally the middle aged male oriented crowd would rather watch the band playing on the stage. Where were all the insane looking circle pits, walls of death and raging and wild Finnish crowd ?!
World Painted Blood
Dead Skin Mask
South of Heaven
Angel of Death
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