Slayer with Gojira and 4ARM, Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden, NJ, November 29, 2013

December 10th, 2013
by Infamous Butcher

Slayer / Gojira / 4ARM

Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden, NJ
November 29, 2013

Review by InfamousButcher, Photos by SheWolf

 

Slayer Tour Poster

There’s been a lot of change in the Slayer camp in 2013. February saw the departure of drummer Dave Lombardo and tragically, the metal community lost thrash icon Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman in May. The band has decided to soldier on with former drummer Paul Bostaph and Exodus guitarist Gary Holt, who has been playing with the band since 2011 due to Hanneman’s contracting flesh eating bacteria. There’s been a lot of uproar about Slayer touring with a different lineup and whether they should be doing it at all. In November Slayer began a North American tour with French prog metallers Gojira and Australian thrashers 4ARM. How would the new lineup sound and would the same ferocity and intensity we’ve come to associate with the mighty Slayer still be there? Have nothing to fear, come with me my metalheads and I’ll show you that all is still awesome and mind-blowing with FUCKING SLAYER!

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Tonight’s concert is at the Susquehanna Bank Center, a large amphitheater type structure with covered seats in a semi-circle and a lawn. There is also a decent sized pit area in front of the stage. The lawn was closed off since it is fucking November, so the seat capacity is about 7,000. The place filled up well for Slayer and was nearly sold out. Sound quality is quite good, I’ve seen tons of bands here since the place opened in 1995, everything from Ozzfest to Mayhem Festival to American Carnage.

Slayer has a huge following for good reason. If you’re not a fan then you’re just not a true metalhead to me. They were the first metal band to really push the boundaries of extremity with their blistering, feral sound and controversial subject matter. Most importantly, they are the best live metal band of all time, if you haven’t seen them, you haven’t lived! Slayer is the only band that I know of where you can be at any type of metal concert and there is a chance someone will start a Slayer chant and get a response. Hell, it even happened to me wearing a Slayer t-shirt in Times Square in NYC! You could be almost anywhere and someone could yell out FUCKING SLAYER and all metalheads will respond!

4ARM

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First up tonight is Australia’s 4ARM, a great 80’s style thrash band. I couldn’t’ be happier that this style is making a comeback; there are so many good new bands. 4ARM’s sound has elements of Anthrax, Overkill, and Testament, but their music also has their own stamp on it. Frontman Danny Tomb delivered killer vocals and riffs while new guitarist James Munro deftly handled the solos. Bassist Andy Hinterreiter and dummer Michale Valfiotis handled the low end with precision. The band was tight and powerful and you would have thought they had been playing together for decades. Standout tracks included “Raise a Fist”, which got the crowd going a bit, and the  fast and furious one two punch of “I Will Not Bow” and “Spent and Bled”. 4ARM was a perfect way to start off the evening. I recommend that all old school metalheads pick up a copy of their recent release “Submission For Liberty” it’ll quench your metal thirst!

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Intro: Sinn Macht Frei

1. While I Lie Awake

2. Raise A Fist

3. The Oppressed

4. Dying Time

5. I Will Not Bow

6. Spent and Bled

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GOJIRA

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Up next was the popular Gojira, a French band which blends groove, industrial, and progressive metal. The guitar sound was distorted and trippy, but I just couldn’t get into it. To call their music death metal is absurd, the vocals are way too light. The band was technically impressive but I just wasn’t digging what they had to offer. I dunno, I usually don’t like the newer trendy metal bands.

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1. Explosia

2. The Axe

3. Backbone

4. The Heaviest Matter of the Universe

5. Love

6. Flying Whales

7. L’Enfant Sauvage

8. Toxic Garbage Island

9. Vacuity

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SLAYER

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By 9:30 the crowd was hungry for the type of destruction that only Slayer can provide. Behind the red curtain we could see Tom, Kerry, Gary, and Paul take their places as the familiar eerie intro for “Hell Awaits” (JOIN US backwards over and over again) blared over the PA system. The curtain dropped and Slayer launched into a brilliant rendition of “Hell Awaits” as the crowd went into berserker mode! The sound was thunderous, violent, and evil, thrash metal perfection! Tom commanded the stage at center, strumming his bass and screaming and shouting like a lunatic in need of some Thorazine! With a full beard going gray, he looked like a menacing metal veteran. His voice was loud and impressive throughout the set. Kerry and Gary fucking shredded, cranking out amazing riffs and searing solos. Paul’s drumming just fucking hammered us, I was damn impressed with his speed and precision, he has assimilated back into the fold quickly. The stage was adorned with inverted crosses and cool Slaytanic artwork! I was blown away by the onstage carnage and it would only get better as this 90 minute set was the best possible mix of songs Slayer could ever conjure up!

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The show had been advertised as a classic Slayer set, and boy did they fucking deliver! Early set highlights included blistering renditions of “The Anti-Christ” (ETERNITY MY SOUL WILL ROT!); rare HELL AWAITS tracks “Necrophiliac” and “At Dawn They Sleep” (KILL! KILL! chorus was awesome!), my all-time favorite Slayer tune “Postmortem” (DO YOU WANT TO DIE?!?), which was followed by “Altar of Sacrifice” (LEARN THE SACRED WORDS OF PRAISE, HAIL SATAN!) and “Jesus Saves”. Tom paused only twice during the set to address the crowd, first to point out that there are women at Slayer shows now so be careful who you are slamming into when moshing. The second time he gave the crowd some pointers on moshing etiquette: it’s all about love (!), have fun, no cheap shots or trying to hurt people. Amen to that!

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Later in the set we got SEASONS IN THE ABYSS classic “Hallowed Point” (NO REGARD OF HUMAN LIFE OR THE BLOOD SPILLED!) and as a nod to Gary, an incredible version of Exodus’ “Strike of the Beast”. We were getting closer to the finale, and with Slayer there are so many fucking classics it takes several “must hear” songs to wrap up the show. A savage “Raining Blood” kicked things off with its timeless metal riff before we were cursed by “Black Magic” (A FORCE OF SATAN’S MIGHT!). Then for the encore, a huge Jeff Hanneman banner that looked like the Heineken label filled the stage, which was illuminated with green lighting. It read Angel of Death – Still Reigning 1964-2013.Tom never said anything onstage about Jeff and people have criticized that, but you have to understand that is not the type of band that Slayer is. They don’t say much onstage, they just shred and destroy, being emotional (other than rage) on stage just isn’t who they are. The final two songs were flawless performances of “South of Heaven” (THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL IS THE HEART OF A BLACK SOUL) and the best Slayer song of all time, complete with Tom’s ear piercing scream, “Angel of Death” (FRIGID COLD – CRACKS YOUR LIMBS!).

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In the aftermath, everyone was in awe of what they’d seen, drained physically but feeling fucking invincible. This was one of the very best shows I’ve seen in 2013, and I’ve seen a lot. Slayer has received a lot of criticism for continuing without Jeff and Dave and lots of people have boycotted this new Slayer lineup. They are mistaken. Nobody is a bigger hard ass than me, and I’m telling you the show was fucking amazing! Long live Slayer, the greatest metal band of all-time! When the next tour comes to town and the new album comes out, I am all over both! FUCKING SLAYER!!

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1. Hell Awaits

2. The Antichrist

3. Necrophiliac

4. Mandatory Suicide

5. Captor of Sin

6. War Ensemble

7. Postmortem

8. Altar of Sacrifice

9. Jesus Saves

10. At Dawn They Sleep

11. Die by the Sword

12. Spirit in Black

13. Hallowed Point

14. Seasons in the Abyss

15. Strike of the Beast

16. Dead Skin Mask

17. Raining Blood

18. Black Magic


Encore:

19. South of Heaven

20. Angel of Death

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