There’s no other way to say that name in a crowd of metalheads and not get that response. They are currently on the fifth leg of their farewell tour, and there was no way I was gonna miss this concert. I last saw them in San Antonio, Texas, last year, and this time, I traveled to Edinburg, which is about the same driving distance two hours each way. Bert Ogden Arena is a new venue in south Texas that has never been the center of a metal show until this May 7 stop. And what better way than to get baptized in fire by the all mighty Slayer.
This time around I was lucky enough to get the meet and greet package, courtesy of my wife, which l was so grateful for. Walking up to the venue I came across people lined up, some of whom had been there three hours before door time, dressed in battle vests displaying their favorite bands. As I waited in line to get my M&G package, I heard firsthand accounts of seeing Slayer over the decades and some instances of fans being first-timers. The actual meet and greet passed like a blur. Meeting these metal legends was pretty epic. Slayer’s Tom Araya even commented that he liked my tattoos, which left me exhilarated and giddy!
Opening up the pit first were the death metal legends Cannibal Corpse. Even though I have seen them numerous times, their face-melting riffage, break-neck tempo, and Corpsegrinder’s massive neck and voice left me feeling adrenaline filled. The 30-minute set was a surprise, but they managed to pack in some boot-stomping goodness by playing classics spanning their 30-plus year career such as: “Evisceration Plague,” “I Cum Blood,” and “Hammer Smashed Face” to name a few. Even with the early crowd, a sizable circle pit broke out letting those still coming inside know that they were in the right place.
Up next came the Swedes in Amon Amarth! I had never seen them before, and I was truly excited to finally catch them live. Boy oh boy, they did not disappoint. With the stage set up like a viking ship ready to conquer the world, Amon Amarth showed that they aim to spread their music across with world. Having just released their newest album Berserker, there was no question from the crowds response that they too were ready to take over the country. Their set included “The Pursuit of Vikings,” “First Kill,” and “Raise Your Horns.” Having watched their set, I know that I will surely catch them next time around.
Next, a band that needs no introduction: Lamb of God! LoG have established themselves at the forefront of metal music and are leading the charge into the future. They have been the main support each leg of Slayers final tour, and rightly so. As LoG took the stage, the crowd went into a frenzy, screaming and shouting like rabid animals finally set free. Starting off with “Omerta,” circle pits erupted throughout the arena and headbanging was all but mandatory. Frontman Randy Blythe is able to capture a crowd and bring them to the edge of delirium while the rest of the band sets the chaotic pace. Each time I see LoG, I can’t get enough. Other fan favorites included “Walk With Me in Hell” and “512.” Ending on the epic rager “Redneck,” I could see at least three different circle pits break out and fans yelling and singing in unison, leaving voices hoarse and necks strained.
Finally, with the curtains up and lights out, visions of four crosses appeared on the canvas, slowly turning upside down followed by the Slayer emblem rotate and bounce around as a warning to those in attendance. Hell was about to break loose! As the curtain dropped, black hearts stopped and the ritual began as the thrash titans took the stage. Flames erupted and a thunderous sound of aggression swept the crowd of over 6,000. Three decades have not slowed the titanic thrashers as witnessed by their speed and precision. Playing songs from their 12 albums at breakneck speeds without missing a step, Slayer are like mythical creature come to life whose only purpose was to play some of the most brutal and memorable music in metal history.
Give that this would be my last time seeing Slayer play live, it was bitter sweet. I felt excitement to the bone, yet I was also sad that there might never be a full tour again. I enjoyed the music to the fullest and let it sink into my being, feeling each riff in my veins, pound of the drums in my chest, boom of the bass, and sinister singing pierce my ears. As the night went on, I came to a conclusion that there will never be a band like Slayer ever again, and there doesn’t have to be. I take comfort in is knowing that I was lucky enough to have witnessed one of the greatest thrash bands in the world: FUCKING SLAYER!
Cannibal Corpse Setlist: Evisceration Plague, Scourge of Iron, Red Before Black, I Cum Blood, Stipped Raped and Strangled, Hammer Smashed Face (Photo Gallery)
Amon Amarth Setlist: The Pursuit of Vikings, Deceiver of the Gods, First Kill, Crack The Sky, As Loke Falls, Twilight of the Thunder God, Raise Your Horns, Raven’s Flight, Shield Wall, Guardians of Asgaard (Photo Gallery)
Lamb of God Setlist: Omerta, Ruin, Walk With Me In Hell, Now You’ve Got Something to Die For, 512, Engage The Fear Machine, Blacken the Cursed Sun, Laid to Rest, Redneck (Photo Gallery)
Slayer Setlist: Repentless, Evil Has No Boundaries, World Painted Blood, Postmortem, Hate Worldwide, War Ensemble, Gemini, Disciple, Mandatory Suicide, Chemical Warfare, Payback, Temptation, Born of Fire, Seasons In The Abyss, Hell Awaits, South of Heaven, Raining Blood, Black Magic, Dead Skin Mask, Angel of Death (Photo Gallery)