March 14, 2016
Calgary, AB, Canada
Photos and review courtesy of J. Dirom Photography
When one of the “Big Four” tours comes to town, you know that the fans will be out in numbers. Slayer‘s world tour in support of their twelfth album Repentless, shows that the California thrash metal giants have transcended generations of metal fans. The front row was packed with young faces, throwing horns in the air and cheering well before the band took the stage. Many of these fans along the barrier would not yet have been born when Slayer released, Show No Mercy or Reign of Blood, and in some cases Divine Intervention. It is a testament to the influence of Slayer’s influence on the genre.
Slayer is the preeminent thrash band, continuing to inspire those around them.
The stage was hidden behind a large white curtain. Chants of “Slayer” grow louder, as the crowd throws fists and “horns” into the air. The lights dim. The crowd erupts .
“Delusions of the Savior” starts to play softly. The white curtain turns red, which appears to swirl, thanks to the smoke filled stage behind. White crosses appear upon the red, which begin to spin slowly. The background then transitions to black, and white pentagrams spin around. Finally the Slayer logo appears slowly across the stage.
The curtain drops, and light explodes from the stage, as the crowd simultaneously erupts. Slayer launches into “Repentless”. The crowd feed off the energy, and in moments people are surfing the crowd. Guitarists, Kerry King and Gary Holt flanked either side of Tom Araya, as Paul Bostaph sat high above. As the band moved into “Postmortum”, it was evident that Slayer is the fast, intense, locomotive of thrash, they have always been, and quite simply can’t be stopped. Kerry King mesmerized the crowd with his speed and fluidity, at times dropping into a power stance, only to switch to playing with both hands on the neck of the guitar. His trademark heavy chains hung from his pants, as he wielded a flaming flying V complete with chrome tribal design.
Gary Holt was equally spectacular on guitar, as well as making a statement with his “Kill the Kardashians” t-shirt. Holt would often step forward with one leg on the monitor, as he unleashed on the crowd.
Araya kept pace with his bass, as he screamed into the microphone. The crowd continued to mosh in approval. The band covered a great deal of material from their expansive album history from War Ensemble , to Raining Blood, and Angel of Death.
A musically intense and visually spectacular show, Slayer keeps their triumphant stranglehold as the titans of thrash metal.