What could be considered a “dream tour” by metal standards hit Columbus on Tuesday March 8, bringing out most of the head-banging faithful and nearby regions along with anyone adorned in a black band shirt to the former LC Pavilion.
Two bands that played the Clash of the Titans tour in the ‘90s proved they’re still loud, touring machines bringing a brutal, hellacious onslaught to metal heads everywhere three decades into their careers. Besides a decade break, Carcass has wrecked stages and earplugs with their anatomical toe tag friendly anthems of e-roticism. Testament have kept the bay area thrash flag waving high since the early ‘80s and Slayer have kept hell on record since ’81.
The grind-gore masters from Liverpool and the legacy thrash kings brought their ear-rattling, mosh pit noise to Express Live. If there had been one more iconic metal band with ‘80s origins, it would’ve been an updated Big Four show.
As many loud, screaming die hard members of the Slaytanic Nation yelled Slayer at the top of their soon-to-be-hoarse lungs showed, Slayer cannot simply be said, mentioned or stated. Those six letters must, by loyalty, be screamed at top volume. The remaining core of Kerry King and Tom Araya still play with vicious sinister intent. King still brings the screams, cries and torment of the dead out through his guitar and Araya can still belt out the ominous yelling force that is the voice of Slayer. No one can replace Jeff Hanneman but Exodus founder Gary Holt has held his own on the Slayer stage with the tenured hands of Paul Bostaph pounding the drums. The bands 22 songs hit several records, excluding Divine, Undisputed, Diabolus and Christ Illusion in favor of the “classics,” God Hates and newer material.
The godfathers of gorified surgical grind started the show, stage draped with the tools of the trade as antiseptic light prepped and sanitized the crowd for musical surgery. “1985” the year of their blood-borne creation started. Blood red, lime green, and yellowing white light permeated the stage. Painting musical pictures of songs that told gruesome tales of hospital procedures and postmortem practices at the morgue. Speaker screens showed visuals of open air surgery and the bloody results of organ slicing and removal.
The eight song set started with Surgical Steel and “Unfit for Human Consumption.” “Buried Dreams” gave the first helping of Heartwork as the body bags thrashed and contorted with old-school rapture on “Incarnated Solvent Abuse.” Jeff Walker growled out the bloodlustmord on “Cadaver Pouch Conveyer System.” “The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills” ran its death course, sucking the life away daily. “Captive Bolt Pistol” played out death by bullet in long-descript grizzly detail. Drums hit a vintage dose of rotting Necroticism and “Corporal Jigsore Quandary.” The show ended with works of art painted black, bleeding dark “Heartwork.”
Testament returned to Ohio accompanied by the speaker shaking roar of Chuck Billy. Eight songs seemed to go by too fast, but at the speed they played, one couldn’t complain. With the neck-snapping velocity, stage delivered, crowd received and the whiplash guitar work of Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson, it was a headline show moshed in the middle. The dark roots of thrash began with a double dose of The Gathering on “Do Not Resuscitate” and “Legions of the Dead.” The Dark Roots of Earth rose up as they went Low on “Dog Faced Gods.” It was back to the late ‘80s for “The New Order” and “Practice what you Preach.” Billy pointed to the crowd in front, making the familiar sign. The next one was for all the brave souls up front going “Into the Pit.” “The Formation of Damnation” ended the nights holy thrash sacrament.
The white curtain went up as the crowd anxiously awaited the forefathers of thrash. Lights went out as white crosses appeared on screen, slowly turning inversion red, followed by revolving white pentagrams flying through each other joining into the old-school logos. “Delusions of Saviour” played as the curtain fell, stage lights spraying the crowd with the colors of hell. The Repentless banner hung over the stage with banners of devils and demons surrounding it.
The first riffs of “Repentless” banged out as the evenings soundtrack to the netherworld began. The Reign hit early on “Post Mortem” with the first taste of Seasons on “Born of Fire.” A battery of spotlights hit from all directions as Araya screamed God hates us all and “God Send Death.” The pit opened with glorious violent design for “War Ensemble.” Columbus got its first breather as hell’s background was illuminated with an eerie fluorescent glow as yellow spotlights hit King for the beginning of “When the Stillness Comes.”
Committed unrepentance continued with “You against You.” South of Heaven rose from the stage for some “Mandatory Suicide.” World Painted Blood spread a little “Hate Worldwide.” “Chemical Warfare” was waged with control taken unrepentantly with “Pride and Prejudice.” Since the day it was released, every terrorist knows “Paybacks” a bitch motherfucker.
A blue and purple haze filled the stage as the abyss was revisited on “Seasons.” The devil’s calling card started as guitars jammed out the evil of “Hell Awaits.” As Araya put it, it was time for a love song, (not 213), a Slayer love song. If there was ever a sing along, it would start with, ‘Dance with the dead in my dreams.’ For a man’s criminal morbidity that inspired Psycho, Leatherface and Buffalo Bill, he won’t keep you long.
There was no sanctuary for a “World Painted Blood.” Guitars started the eerie tormented guitar wails of the place where no good soul goes. The drums pounded the three beats every fan knew as symbolic blood rained from the stage. Show No Mercy made a late appearance performing “Black Magic,” ending with the boogie down/fuck yeah of “Angel of Death” as the old-school logo banner dropped revealing a tribute to Jeff Hanneman.
Images by Mike Ritchie