Slayer / Suicidal Tendencies / Exodus
The Sands Bethlehem Event Center
November 26, 2014
Review by InfamousButcher, Photos by SheWolf
Some forces are just unstoppable. 33 years after their formation, thrash metal titans Slayer continue to lay waste to audiences worldwide and put together killer tours. When it was announced that Slayer would join forces with thrash / crossover pioneers Suicidal Tendencies and old school thrash masters Exodus, who recently had singer Steve “Zetro” Souza back in the fold, fans started foaming at the mouth! I love this throwback shit – feels like the late 80s all over again! Onward to Bethlehem to be part of the destruction! Bring on the FUCKING SLAYER!
Tonight’s venue is at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, PA, about 45 minutes from where I live in the suburbs of Philadelphia. What a great place for a metal show! The relatively new venue holds about 3,500 people with a huge general admission / pit area, plenty of room to thrash around! However, this is a modern venue, so the gap between the stage and the pit prevents stage diving. There is also a second level with seats if you don’t want to be in the scrum. Sound quality is great, loud and no distortion, good acoustics. Stage is large with plenty of room for the band members to stalk the stage.
Like fucking clockwork, Exodus came on right at 7:30 and tore into 2 songs from their new album BLOOD IN, BLOOD OUT. Having vocalist Steve Souza back at the helm is like a night and day difference for the band, gone is the metalcore style of Robb Dukes and back is the classic metal frontman Zetro! Steve was all over the stage, delivering powerful vox and showing impressive range. Guitarists Gary Holt and Lee Altus cranked out killers riffs and searing solos while drummer Tom Hunting fucking hammered us! The 30 minute set also included classics “Bonded by Blood”, “The Toxic Waltz” (first song to really get the pit moving!), and “Strike of the Beast”. Great set that left me hungry for more; it was way too short for a band of Exodus’ caliber. The new material is among the heaviest Exodus has ever done and I need to pick up a copy! All hail the return of Zetro!
Promptly at 8:15 (no fucking messing around with the set times!), Suicidal Tendencies drummer Eric Moore led the chant of S – T, S – T to fire up the crowd. With a burst of groove, funk, and energy Suicidal took the stage and launched into old favorite “You Can’t Bring Me Down.” Singer Mike Muir was like a whirling dervish, never staying still as he delivered the vocals and gestured to the crowd. Unfortunately, the song sounded more like rap than the original recording and I knew I was in trouble. Suicidal blends metal, rap, and groove and nowadays they seem to lean more towards rap, probably to appeal to a bigger audience. Other songs included “I Saw Your Mommy” which seemed to go on for like 10 minutes and “Possessed to Skate”, a skateboarding song. ST just ain’t up my alley.
- You Can’t Bring Me Down
- War Inside My Head
- Possessed to Skate
- I Saw Your Mommy
- Cyco Vision
- Pledge Your Allegiance
At 9:30 behind a blood red curtain we could see Slayer moving around as the intro for “World Painted Blood” played. The crowd screamed and roared SLAYER SLAYER SLAYER over and over with an occasional FUCKING SLAYER for good measure! Then the curtain dropped and the aural assault began! Sensory overload people! Tom Araya stood at center stage, yelling and screaming and strumming his bass with that maniacal glint in his eyes, his huge beard giving him an even more menacing appearance. Gary Holt and Kerry King ran amok shredding all over the place, these guys are among the best shredders in the business, and boy did they fucking deliver with stabbing riffs and wild screaming solos! Paul Bostaph provided the blast beats and fills with gusto, awesome! This is how thrash metal is supposed to sound people, angry, loud, and fast! GODDAMN THIS IS FUCKING AMAZING!
Without stopping Slayer went right into one of my all-time favorites “Postmortem” (WANTING TO DIE IS YOUR REASON TO LIVE!) with its sinister chugging tone. Then it was back to newer material with “Hate Worldwide” (I STAB YOU RIGHT BETWEEN THE EYES!). I can’t stress this enough. The set list was more than any hardcore Slayer fan could ask for. Highlights included “Chemical Warfare” (FUCK IT UP! Holy shit they played this fifth?!?), “Spill the Blood” (never got that live before and it was out-fucking-standing! COME WALK WITH ME THROUGH ENDLESS TIME!), “Hell Awaits” (still evil after nearly 30 years!), “At Dawn They Sleep” (KILL KILL KILL KILL! I love that part!), “Altar of Sacrifice” (gives me goosebumps!), “Jesus Saves” (maybe the best thrash transition ever going from “Altar” to “Jesus”), “Snuff” (MURDER IS MY FUTURE!), and “Disciple” (I REJECT THIS FUCKING RACE!).
After the first 5 songs, Tom paused and commented how great it is to see all these smiling faces out in the crowd at shows! I know why – it’s because Slayer delivers the goods and gives the fans exactly what they want! Metallica plays shit like “Nothing Else Matters” and “Sad But True”. Megadeth opens with “Trust” and plays shit like “A Tout le Monde”. SLAYER WOULD NEVER DO ANY SHIT LIKE THAT! Slayer opens with “World Painted Blood”, goes into “Postmortem”, and then plays “Chemical Warfare” 5th! How do you like them apples? Us hardcore metalheads like ‘em just fine!
As “Altar of Sacrifice” started, I made my way into the pit and was impressed with the level of violence! I moshed and headbanged while singing LEARN THE SACRED WORDS OF PRAISE, HAIL SATAN! After an excellent “Jesus Saves” I was sucking wind and soaked in sweat! I had to pace myself the rest of the way rope-a-dope style. It was rough and tumble out there, but nobody was doing karate or trying to hurt people, which was cool.
Slayer is infamous for how their shows wind down with classics. Tonight they changed up the order a bit and threw us a curveball that I really dug. “Raining Blood” (TRAPPED IN PURGATORY!) kicked things off and the pit was insane! Then came the surprise – “Psychopathy Red”, a rare cut from WOLRD PAINTED BLOOD! COOL! The familiar brooding “South of Heaven” was next (THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL IS THE HEART OF A BLACK SOUL), and of course the final crusher was Josef Mengele’s medical journal “Angel of Death” (PRESSURE IN YOUR SKULL BEGINS PUSING THROUGH YOUR EYES!). My bucket was completely spilled, I had no energy left as “Angel of Death” wound down and was hoping nobody would hit me too hard because I would have fell right on my ass! As I went around the circle pit I realized everyone else was pretty spent too. Afterwards I felt like I had been in a 15 round fight with the heavyweight champion of thrash!
We were all completely blown away by Slayer’s hour and 40 minute set, hell it was even better than last year’s set that commemorated Jeff Hanneman. People are completely off base saying Slayer is finished without Jeff Hanneman and Dave Lombardo. Gary and Paul are not just fill ins. Gary has been a part of Slayer for more than 3 years and Paul is a former member that spent 9 years and 3 albums with the band. Slayer is still the best live band on the planet as far as I am concerned! Don’t miss them when they wreak havoc on your town!
- World Painted Blood
- Hate Worldwide
- Die by the Sword
- Chemical Warfare
- War Ensemble
- Mandatory Suicide
- Spill the Blood
- Hell Awaits
- At Dawn They Sleep
- Altar of Sacrifice
- Jesus Saves
- Seasons in the Abyss
- Dead Skin Mask
- Raining Blood
- Psychopathy Red
- South of Heaven
- Angel of Death