It has only been eight months since Slayer last dropped a tonne of unprincipled decibels on the faithful minions of Calgary; eight months since the world's most grisly band pledged to return to the thrashing masses that bought-out the February show in less than a day. Araya, Hanneman, King and Bostaph-- names that will live in infamy on the Devil's shortlist of gnarly superstars--were here once more, doing a ruthless show on September 11. However, this time there were considerably more people loaded in for the thrashing mess of long hair and tattooed flesh, where generations collided to pay homage to one of the greatest metal bands of all time.
Held at the Stampede Corral, Slayer with guests Down the Sun, Soulfly and In Flames exhausted every wicked thing that heavy metal has to offer. Pressed against a considerably enormous man dressed in black, I staked out my spot against the security rail and watched as the untamed masses of the metal community wrestled security guards, forged entrance stamps, and leapt fences to reach the floor. The lights faded, and chanting began as deep red smoke crawled across the stage and the merciless Slayer appeared. Presenting the patented growl and fiendish double-kick, Slayer put forth everything in a frenzy of classic titles from earlier albums, like "Seasons in the Abyss" and "Reign in Blood," mixed with a caustic show of new titles off the latest album God Hates Us All.
Admirably, Slayer have remained warlords of the metal empire, a land impervious to the trends of today's changeable modern rock. As the rock scene sways weekly from genre to genre, Slayer remains the steady backbone of anvil heaviness, content to endure the changes. Today, more than 15 years since coming together, Slayer still musters a surfeit of five-chord power, remaining faithful to its fascination with the violent, socially-skewed lyrics that laid the blueprint for apocalyptic neo-metal.