On what is slated to be their final tour after more than 30 years of leading the thrash metal genre, Slayer bow out with a big bang. Taking to London’s SSE Arena Wembley as the first stop of their farewell run across the UK, here’s what we learned from watching the titans live.
If you only ever see one thrash metal band live in your life, make this one it
You’ll have to be quick though, as they’re currently on their Final World Tour. And they definitely pull out all the stops for it – it is an epic, emotional and explosive performance. Loud, fast and relentless. The undisputed heavyweight kings of fast thrash metal deliver unrivalled intensity, where songs are interspersed with ludicrously aggressive guitar solos, deep off-beat and punchy drum breaks and the hellish wails of 57 years-young singer Tom Araya.
The lighting and fire choreographies serve to turn up the heat and perfectly complement the breakneck pace of the music. The show’s closing moment, finished with fans’ favourites Raining Blood and Angel of Death, and a touching yet unspoken tribute to founding member Jeff Hanneman. After all these years, and nearing the end of their career, they’re still at the top of their game.
The fans are as much of an attraction as the show itself
The sea of black moves in unison, like a wave and almost like in a trance, hypnotised by the speed of the music. More hectic moments include crowd-surfing, and the head-banging and body-bashing mosh-pit, making us grateful to be seated and allowing us to observe (and to a certain extent, envy) the fun that is being had from a safe distance. People are here to let their hair down (literally and metaphorically), and enjoy the camaraderie not often present in other genres. The band too, recognise the fans’ contribution, showing their gratitude by repeatedly thanking the audience for their ongoing support and making their decades-long career the success it has been – touching and humbling at the same time.
The lineup creates a sense of excitement and anticipation
There is a very palpable build-up, with carefully selected bands that get the crowd going from early on. Heavy (metal) hitters like Anthrax and Lamb of God warm up the arena that’s almost full from about 7PM, giving it a greater sense of occasion and fanfare. By the time the headliners come on, spirits are already high and the audience are already pumped, adding to the overall experience. It’s a full evening of perfect metal, for old and new fans alike. The after-glow is indisputable and invaluable and you end up beaming. Even those new to Slayer, catching them on their final tour, can’t help but embrace the experience. All in all, it’s a rewarding experience and a masterclass in live performance.
At the time of writing, Slayer continue their farewell tour across the UK.
Catch them on the following dates:
5 November 2018 – Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
7 November 2018 – Arena Birmingham, Birmingham
9 November 2018 – Manchester Arena, Manchester
10 November 2018 – Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle
12 November 2018 – SSE Hydro Arena, Glasgow
Remaining tickets for Slayer are available now through Ticketmaster.co.uk.