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Metal/Prog Metal Concert Reviews

Slayer

Live in Milwaukee, WI, July 2006

Review by Travis Jensen

There is an old hard-core saying that goes "If you can't take a joke, then f**k you." I believe that the same could apply to anyone who doesn't like Slayer. These guys need no introduction, as they are known worldwide to speed metal freaks and the like in any town they stomp through. They are now in their third decade of touring and still have what it takes to fill any arena or concert venue. In fact, I was in Wal-Mart a few days ago, wearing a sleeveless shirt which brandished my Slayer logo tattoo on my left shoulder when all of a sudden I hear "Cool tattoo" from a guy 10 years my senior who worked in the automotive department. He went on to tell me that he saw Slayer 5 or 6 times during the 1980's. My point with all of this is that I am one of the first of two generations (of what will soon be three) of all Slayer fans.

At the show, I saw the wide range of their fan base and I find it cool that the songs that I listened to 20 plus years ago are the same ones that intrigue the impressionable youth that I saw at The Rave. Some of the concert-goers had to be freshman in high school, while some were my age and older, of course. One of the true tests of the success of any band is longevity. There are very few bands from the '70's and '80's that are still putting out successful albums that draw a large dedicated following. Slayer! What else can I say about them that you may not already know? I believe that every red-blooded American metal-head should see them at least 3 times. This is how you get the true meaning of what this group is all about. Slayer has never sold out or compromised their music and what they believe in.

Travis Jensen
 
Travis Jensen
   
Having Dave Lombardo back in the line-up, beating the skins unmercifully is (in my opinion) the bloodline that completes what Slayer has been and still is. I have always been a fan of his and have both Grip Inc. CD's, but having him back behind Tom Araya is where he really belongs. Kerry King is an extraordinary presence for what has been considered by many as the greatest speed metal bands of all time and it still shows. His guitar style is still just as fast and brutal as it ever was. I particularly like the huge tattoo done in old English lettering on the inside of his left arm, which is the title of their last album titled "God Hates Us All". I managed to get a guitar pick, which now hangs as one of my most prized necklaces. On the pick is Kerry King's own personal website. Tom Araya has been and always will be the spiritual godfather of speed metal in my opinion. He has set the pace for what this type of music has become today. He has a little grey in his beard, but the fire within him still commands a striking figure. Jeff Hanneman still has the riffs of the guitar god that he always was.


Travis Jensen
 
Travis Jensen
   
One of the things that I particularly like about these guys is that every time I see them, it is a different show. They have such an extensive selection of songs that they can pick and choose from a different set of songs for every date on the tour and not play the same set twice. Do you like the new stuff or the old stuff? It doesn't matter because it all rocks just the same. They opened up with "South of Heaven" and then into some new tracks, so during the first few songs I tried to stay at the task at hand (shooting the accompanying photos). As they played on I found myself thrashing with the crowd more than anything else, especially during "Reign in Blood" and the "Angel of Death" finale. I do wish, however that I could have listened to the soon to be released CD, as there were a couple of new ones that the crowd and myself weren't familiar with. It really didn't matter much though because they were your typical hard-hitting Slayer tunes that we will soon come to add to the ones we already love. My only criticism is that they only played for about an hour and fifteen minutes or so. Even after you hear the repetitive chant of the band's name over and over again through the crowd and your eardrums are blown, you can never get enough Slayer.

Travis Jensen
 
Travis Jensen
   
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.
You'll find concert pics of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
 
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