The time neared ten o’clock, the room filled with the smoke of many different hydroponic species, and the mullet count had hit 14 (margin of error = 1 1/2 mullets) as Slayer, the almighty gods of speed metal calmly took the stage. It’s just a shame that the performances of 3 bands with serious abilities were marred by poor sound.
Slayer didn’t waste any time getting into their new material, ripping out “Disciple” as their first tune of the night. The blast-beats and throat-slitting guitar fury that makes Slayer so powerful was on full display, as lunatic/tank/mastermind Kerry King sliced at his strings like he was cutting a Thanksgiving turkey. The double-bass drumrolls seemed to never end, and Slayer dove right into a fan favorite, “War Ensemble”.
The funny thing about a Slayer show is that the curtains just don’t match the carpet. Lyrics soaked with hatred, religious mockery and NC-17 violence take over their music, but between songs, you’d expect singer/bassist Tom Araya to be grooming a pet poodle named Bitsy. As he peers into the crowd with a toothy smile, he’ll ask calmly and genuinely “Are you guys having fun tonight? I hope so. Thanks very much for coming out,” and then grind into a newbie “Exile”, by ranting “You self-righteous fuck/Give me a reason not to rip your fucking face off/My hate is contagious/You’ve tried my tolerance/I just want you to die.” With lyrics like that (and the most committed, loyal fanbase in music who loves those very themes), it just seems as if you’d want them to talk it up a bit more between songs. Tell me you’re going to rip my face off! Don’t sing it in a song. I can hear that on the CD! I suppose that his good-guy filler serves the same role as the articles in Playboy or Penthouse; a gentle precursor and segway to all the filth and destructive material your brain can handle.
The leaders of the Slaytanic cult tore through old and new, with their biggest reactions coming from their new track “God Send Death” and oldie “Dead Skin Mask” even had the bouncers headbanging.
Two up-and-comers in the metal biz showed their stuff earlier in the night. Chimaira (pronounced kim-ear-uh, and is phonetically spelled on all their merch) was the most dark and guttural of the nights acts. Swirly-haired vocalist Mark Hunter has his grumble down pat, as he obviously has spent hours upon hours listening to Deceide and Cannibal Corpse to hone his growls. Complete with choreographed guitar twirls, Chimaira should do well in the competitive metal world.
American Head Charge was the middle man of the night, but the ruthless Boston fans acted like they wished AHC never had taken the stage. Having 7 guys in a band is a tough feat in itself, especially when you’re crammed onto a small club stage with bad acoustics. Way too much sound coming from too little an area plagued AHC, though their energy nearly made fans forget that you couldn’t decipher the guitars from the vocals. On a separate note, the US Army should look into sending guitarist Dave Rogers into Afghanistan caves. The mohawked maniac is fearless, intimidating and has that Manson-esque gleam in his eyes.