w/ Testament, Carcass
San Francisco, CA
March 22, 2016
There's been a ridiculous resurgence of heavy metal music and tours over the past few months, particularly here in the Bay Area. Perhaps one of the biggest tours to burst through the live music scene comes in the form of Slayer's 'Repentless' tour. The legendary thrash metal outfit are currently traversing North America, and they are decimating venue after venue with their traditional brand of thrash that's developed and grown into its own unique monster after twelve studio albums and countless world tours.
The show featured two openers, both with their own incredible history within the metal community. British group Carcass kicked off the show with a half hour set fueled by their intense brand of extreme metal, even with vocalist/bassist Jeff Walker having to perform the entire set sitting down due to a broken leg.
Local Bay Area thrash legends Testament took the stage about a half hour later for a ridiculously powerful and hard-hitting hometown set. The crowd clearly welcomed Chuck Billy and Co. with wide open arms. At least three crowd surfers were airborne during the entire set. The mosh pit never closed up, and the band's energy never came down at any point. They played as if their lives depended on it.
After about forty-five minutes of waiting post-Testament, the lights go out. Upside-down crosses, pentagrams, and the Slayer logo appear in flashes as the first track from Slayer's twelfth studio album, Repentless, plays over the speakers. With impeccable timing, the curtain drops as Kerry King rips into the album's title track. Drummer Paul Bostaph hits every note with ferocity. Gary Holt plays his guitar as if possessed by each sound wave passing through the air. Bassist and vocalist Tom Araya screams the vocals with menacing conviction.
While Slayer's discography does have differences and progressive elements throughout its twelve albums, the band's live show isn't about progression, and it's clear from the moment the curtain drops. It's about intensity, chaos, and heavy fucking metal. The band's twenty song set list spans nine of the band's records, with a majority of the material coming from Repentless.
The band play no encore, but instead power through "Raining Blood" (Reign In Blood), "Black Magic" (Show No Mercy). "South of Heaven" (South of Heaven), and "Angel of Death" (Reign In Blood). They remove their instruments, wave goodbye, and leave the stage. The chaos emanates from the stage and into the heavy, sweat-drenched air that permeates the crowd. Slayer came, conquered, destroyed, and retreated back to their fortress, preparing to do it all again the next evening.
This has been another Shameless Promotion.