When Metalheads descended upon Merriweather Post Pavilion on a Tuesday night in Columbia, MD, for Slayer’s “final tour,” they weren’t showered with heartfelt admissions or tearful farewells. Instead, in true Slayer fashion, the band literally chose to go down, or up for that matter, in hot shooting flames.
Fans were treated to a meaty 20-song set
with a hell-raising inferno of intense energy coupled with an impressive set of
pyrotechnics. Fireballs hurled up from the stage while smoke and blood-red
lighting enveloped the band. Tom Araya’s vocals were as sinister as ever while Paul
Bostaph, on drums, kept a fervent pace so Gary Holt and Kerry King could take turns
dueling out their mind-blowing guitar riffs.
And the openers, Cannibal Corpse, Amon Amarth, and Lamb of God were all impressive in their own right. Sweden’s Viking metal band brought the dragon-headed long boat, mead horns, and Thor’s hammer, which when swung by lead singer, Johan Hegg, sent the audience into a frenzy of chants, cheers, and moshing. Randy Blythe, the lead singer of Lamb of God, raised the energy levels even more with his feral pacing, ferocious vocals, and wild leaps around the stage. At one point, he thanked the audience for coming out on a Tuesday night, “when you could have been home watching America’s Got f***ing Talent.”
All of the bands displayed boundless energy, including Slayer, which makes it hard to believe that these heavy metal icons, the five-time Grammy-nominated, two-time Grammy-winning band, is really ready to call it quits. Then again, it’s also hard to believe that it’s been nearly 40 years since the incarnation of the band, back in 1981, and somehow the accolades still manage to keep coming. In 2015, Slayer was even officially recognized by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, when they were featured as part of the video exhibit Places of (Musical) Invention, Slayer: The Origins of Thrash.
So, if this really is the end, I’m just so glad I got to experience it live. Because really, I don’t need to watch another reality show to wonder if “America’s Got Talent”, I just needed to get my face melted off by one of the best thrash metal bands of all time.