Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Slayer's Reign Ends on a High

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Slayer's Reign Ends on a High

Article excerpt

Byline: SIMON RUSHWORTH

CHRISTMAS came early for fans of old school thrash metal and this relentless, repentless Slay ride delivered from start to finish.

In the week Newcastle switched on its festive lights, tis already the season to be merry according to Tom Araya and Co - just as long as that Season's In The Abyss.

And as Huntington's finest raced through a riotous back catalogue at the Metro Radio Arena for one final time, all that was missing were the Reindeers In Blood.

As a reassuringly destructive set gathered pace, Slayer's decision to call time on their 37-year career appeared increasingly premature. Founders Araya and Kerry King played with the passion and zeal of men half their age as they plundered bruising anthems from the band's punishing past, and capitalised on a full arena production. Rarely has Slayer's criminally underrated musicianship been afforded such an opportunity to shine with King and Gary Holt cutting through the familiar noise to rain down landmark riff after landmark riff within a pin-sharp mix.

Set opener Repentless revived those sweat-soaked pit dwellers already encouraged to let loose by support bands Obituary, Anthrax and Lamb Of God, and the obvious call to arms left those present in no doubt that this long goodbye to one quarter of thrash metal's Big Four would take no prisoners.

Araya - for all his vocal angst - appeared genuinely touched that so many devotees of a genre in flux had thought it appropriate to grant Slayer the most rabid of send-offs. The moments when he took to the mic to express his heartfelt thanks only served to heighten the sense that the band's decision to step down from ear bleeding duty was misjudged.

But the dye has been cast. The verdict passed. And, as always, Slayer's resolution is unbreakable.

There's no doubt the passing of Jeff Hanneman - Slayer's very own Angel Of Death - hit his band mates hard and perhaps it has become too difficult to plough on without the much-missed shredder. …

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