November 18, 2014 Slayer, Exodus & Suicidal Tendencies thrash Phoenix, AZ 11-15-14
Earlier in 2014 Slayer teamed up with Suicidal Tendencies and Exodus for a handful of shows that had fans singing praise. Simply not enough to quench the savage desires of the Metal community, a full blown tour with the three Thrash Metal leaders was announced for the fall, this time for a seventeen-date stretch across America. Presented by Scion, the tour kicked off on November 12th in Oakland, CA and blazed a trail to the desert city of Phoenix, AZ on Saturday November 15th to host the Comerica Theater. A swarm of fans came out in full force for this unrelenting Thrash Metal triple-bill.
As a tribal-like gathering piled in, filling the pit and seating area, original Thrashers Exodus hit the stage first. Considered by many fans as a rebirth of the band with Steve “Zetro” Souza back on vocals for the first time in a decade pit, excitement was running through an already pretty sweaty crowd. Supporting their new acclaimed album Blood In, Blood Out, Exodus kicked off the night delivering a half-hour set that was in fans faces, balls out, heavy Thrash Rock. Performing some of their greatest material like “Bonded by Blood,” “A Lesson in Violence,” and “Strike of the Beast,” the band had everyone’s horns in the air and heads bobbing the entire set. With guitarist Gary Holt blazing through each song with ease, it was just a prelude to his full-set later in the evening performing with Slayer. Exodus are still one of the most well-respected American Thrash Metal acts around and it is wonderful to see them apart of such a epic tour such as this.
Next up, Southern Californians Suicidal Tendencies hit the stage right around 8:15 PM in front of a huge backdrop of their 2013 studio album 13. Released in a year that saw the likes of Black Sabbath and Megadeth also release albums respectful titled “13,” it seems to be most fitting for Mike Muir and team, because it had been thirteen years since the band released an album of all-original new material.
They kicked everything off with a rendition of “You Can’t Bring Me Down,” with some really kick-ass guitar solos from Dean Pleasants. Considered the fathers of Crossover Thrash with Muir as their leader, the band seemed as agile as they did back in 1981 when it all started. Speaking about looking fear square in the eye, refusing to be a slave and picking one’s self right up when calling, they went into songs “Freedumb” and “War Inside My Head.” With the crowd pumping their fists and chanting all lyrics throughout the entire set, it was a sight to see as the band wrapped things up with 1988 tracks “How Will I Laugh Tomorrow” and “Pledge Your Allegiance.” Suicidal Tendencies put on an adrenaline pumping set that had everyone gasping for air before the final thrashing of the night with Slayer.
The time was coming for Metal titans Slayer to take over Comerica Theater. Considered by the Extreme Metal world as the holy grail, Slayer has attained massive success with a battering attack that has dominated over three decades now. Sustaining the loss of longtime band-mate, and friend, guitarist Jeff Hanneman, the current line-up of the band consists of mainstays Tom Araya (vocals, bass) and Kerry King (guitar), along with Garry Holt (guitar), and a returning Paul Bostaph (drums). Gearing up for their eleventh overall studio record to be released sometime in 2015, this tour is the perfect wind-down for 2014 and the turnout of followers in support is proof of such.
Around 9:30 PM with AC/DC’s “Thundertruck” filling the air, the anticipation grew for Slayer. Adding to the mood, a curtain draped over the stage glowing with blood red lights with what seemed to be a Slayer kaleidoscope intertwined in the lights. Moments later the band’s silhouettes appeared behind the curtain and all at once the curtain dropped and Slayer exploded with “World Painted Blood.” As a traditional Slayer set up, a pentagram with four giant white inverted crosses hung from the ceiling. Rattling out an attack of classics like “Postmortem,” “Die by the Sword,” and “Chemical Warfare,” there was little interaction between Slayer and the fans, allowing the Metal to do all the talking. With Araya choosing his words in between songs sparingly, he asked if they were ready and enticed them by declaring they were just getting started. With that, they launched through another half-dozen songs including “War Ensemble,” “Mandatory Suicide” and yet another song about hemoglobin, “Spill the Blood.” There was the occasional relief from the breaking your neck momentum, namely during hypnotic arpeggios that open up “Seasons in the Abyss.”
Setting things up flawlessly, Araya’s final interaction with the crowd was when he stated, “I feel your love. Have you ever felt so much love that you could die for love? That you could kill for love?” Then they blasted into “Dead Skin Mask” and concluded the set properly with “Raining Blood” and “Psychopathy Red.” For what seemed to be like a performance that few by in a millisecond due to the velocity, Slayer came out for a final two song encore of “South of Heaven” and “Angel of Death” honoring the late Hanneman with a backdrop of giant Heineken Beer logo customized to read “Hanneman 1964-2013, Angel of Death Still Reigns.”
This was a historic evening with wall to wall outstanding Metal, mosh pits-o-plenty, and a Mohawk head banger surfing the crowd to the stage then tried to continue to mosh with security. As always, Slayer works the crowd so exceptionally well to lose control and join the dark side. Catch this tour as an early Christmas present before it is over.