June 19, 2015 Slayer Unleash Fury on The Paramount Huntington, NY 6-16-15
In 1981, Kerry King, Dave Lombardo and Jeff Hanneman formed a band. With the addition of Chilean born Tom Araya on bass and lead vocals, they went on to pioneer a sub genre of Heavy Metal known as Thrash. The band was called Slayer. Since then, Slayer has released eleven studio albums and two live albums. 1986’s Reign In Blood put them on the map and solidified them as one of the big four Thrash Metal bands of all time, in the company of Metallica, Anthrax, and Megadeth. Today, Slayer remains a vital part of Thrash Metal’s history and its future. Selling out shows around the world and showing no signs of slowing down, they have influenced countless others, and they continue to shape the world of Thrash Metal nearly thirty five years later. Following the untimely passing of founding member Jeff Hanneman in 2013, Slayer brought in long time friend and Exodus guitarist Gary Holt. That same year, Paul Bostaph, a former member of Exodus, replaced founding drummer Dave Lombardo. The band is finishing their eleventh studio album entitled Repentless. Repentless is Slayer’s first album on Nuclear Blast Records and also the first to feature both Holt and Bostaph. Like 2001’s God Hates Us All, the Thrash gods decided to unleash the album on September 11th.
Slayer made their much anticipated return to New York on Tuesday, June 16th when they seized control of The Paramount in Huntington Village for two consecutive nights. On a tour that started back in April in Birmingham, AL, Slayer spent some time crushing various festivals on their way to Huntington, New York, including Rocklahoma and Bonnaroo. The tour will see them head to the West Coast before working their way across the US and back to New York for a show at the Jones Beach Amphitheater in July a part of Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. Then they head down south to play Motorhead’s motorboat at the end of September before they embark on a European tour in October that will conclude on November 30th in London, England.
The streets outside of The Paramount Theater in Huntington were thick with Thrash Metal fans, not just Slayer fans, but fans of the genre that Slayer was instrumental in creating. The band’s far reaching influence could be seen in the diverse mass of people waiting to enter the venue, male and female alike, young and old, from all callings. The marquee blazed red with one word: Slayer. They would dominate the evening — no opener required. Upon entering the theater, one cannot help but to look up and take in the sheer size of the room. Balconies float high above on the left and on the right with a full service bar directly below each one, and to the rear is a mezzanine section with a bar of its own.
As the room filled and the temperature rose, loud chatter turned to a low rumble as the gathering looked up at the stage and saw inverted crosses flanking the drumset and an enormous banner imbued with the iconic symbol of Slayer. As it neared showtime, the crowd became quiet as if no one wanted to miss a moment of the show. The stage ran blue as the house lights faded, signaling the crowd to erupt. Then came the intro to “World Painted Blood,” and out walked King, holding his signature flaming BC Rich V with huge steel chain links hanging at his side. The crowd roared as Araya took center stage, an imposing figure softened by a big smile as he surveyed his fans. Once Holt and Bostaph were in place, the band ripped through “World Painted Blood” overlooking a swirling pit of their followers. They went on to “Postmortem” and “Hate Worldwide” with Holt and King trading blazing leads. Araya’s vocals were powerful and raw during “Die By The Sword” and “Chemical Warfare” as he pounded on his bass strings.
The chaos ebbed for a moment as Araya, suddenly alone on the stage, stood smiling proudly at the congregation. He stood silently for a bit before he began. He thanked the crowd for coming to the show and asked if they were having a good time. Their response made his smile grow slightly. It was then that he introduced “War Ensemble.” The pit churned, and fists raised with each sudden cut. Bostaph was thunderous and precise behind the drums, driving the band at a rapid pace. The sound pressure level grew as Slayer burned through “Mandatory Suicide,” “Necrophiliac,” “Spill the Blood,” and “Hell Awaits.” King, thrashing his head, chains bouncing at his side, delivered complex, fast chord progressions and threw a pick to the crowd at the close of every song.
Once again Araya spoke to the crowd, making sure that everyone was engaged and enjoying the show, and once again, the crowd responded with a huge roar, similar in scope to the huge roar at the end of every song so far. Next in the set were “At Dawn They Sleep,” “Altar Of Sacrifice,” and “Jesus Saves.” At times Holt and King would not only trade leads, but also sides of the stage. As Holt took his place stage right, the writing on his shirt became clear: “Kill the Kardashians.” Having already played what would be a full set for most bands, for Slayer this was the appetizer. The main course, the meat of the set, was yet to come.
Slayer packed the final third of their two hour set with some of their biggest songs including “Disciple,” “Seasons In The Abyss,” and “Snuff.” Before the next song Araya looked through the crowd and said, “Look at all the ugly faces !” As the crowd reacted, he said, “I mean that in the best way. I mean, we are all ugly, right ? Thanks for coming out, and I hope to see you back tomorrow.” Then, referring to the second night of their engagement, he said, “I wanna see some repeat offenders here tomorrow.” Araya recited some lyrics and introduced “Dead Skin Mask” to the excited crowd. Then the room erupted as Slayer began what is perhaps their most well known song, “Raining Blood,” from the album Reign In Blood. The pit swelled and engulfed all those in its path, raising the intensity even higher. The chaos continued with “Psychopathy Red” to close what was a brutal two hours of Slayer.
Responding to the ongoing din from the crowd, Slayer returned for their encore with the heavy and thudding “South Of Heaven,” followed by the neck breaking “Angel Of Death.” The crowd was not done yet, but Slayer has always left them wanting more. Ultimately, Slayer delivered an absolutely brutal performance of Thrash Metal to a packed house for the first of two shows that will be known in the annals of Thrash Metal history as the nights that Slayer conquered Long Island.