It's a rare celebration for a disengaged tribe...
It’s a lost world we enter tonight, one where grown men can openly play air guitar and bum-fluff-faced nerds can rub shoulders with beefcake psychopaths. Inched out of modern cultural context by the all-consuming wave of coffee-table rock and mobile phone accommodating club-wear, the metal aesthetic is an alienated old-skool, only relived by the condescending post-modernism of girly rocker chic. Not that tonight’s throng good give a flying-v for the outside world though. [a]Slayer[/a] are in town – predatory precursors of grind-core and lofty legends of American speed-metal.
Perhaps it’s the overload of brooding electricity tumbling from [a]Slayer[/a]’s monolithic speaker stack, or perhaps it’s the sea of sweaty condensation spraying from the moshpit’s mangled forest of hair, but tonight the SFX resembles some sort of Satanic sauna. But such is the physicality of [a]Slayer[/a]’s show, as they lay on the anti-social politics and fearsome riffola, still intact from their mid-’80s collision of breakneck hardcore and doom-laden thrash-scapes. Nu-school stoner-rock stalwarts such as Queens Of The Stone Age will, no doubt, verify that [a]Slayer[/a]’s impact is based on more than mere primordial testosterone and the cartoonish hell and damnation imagery of metal. And although their music is weighed down with a bounty of apocalyptic schtick, [a]Slayer[/a] are also artful in their extremity, and sonically, their druggie tempo-scaling theatrics are of uncompromised and experimental merit.
They slash and burn through ‘Jesus Saves’ and ‘Angel of Death’, the backbone of tracks of their 1986 opus, ‘Reign In Blood’, and the morbid grinds of ‘Mandatory Suicide’ and the title track of 1988’s ‘South Of Heaven’.
Bassist/frontman Tom Araya growls like a incensed caveman, and the twin axe assault of Jeff Hannemen and Kerry King conjure a tempestuous assault of heavy-chuggin’ and shrill-like twiddling. The blinding strobes merely augment the pure, unrelenting drama of it all.
It’s a rare celebration for a disengaged tribe. But in the outside world, life goes on oblivious. Metal has long since been hijacked by comedy grunge bands and MTV jock-rock whores. And they’re selling Mvtorhead t-shirts in Miss Selfridge.