Slayed, Once Again
Slayer with Clutch and System of a Down
at The Warehouse in Toronto, Ontario on June 11th, 1998

by: Adrian Bromley
While this date on the three week tour of North America was part of a warm up tour for Slayer before they headed over to Europe to play part of the European installment of Ozzfest [see Paul Schwarz's live review from the UK], you'd have never known it by the hype and the anticipation of the many metal heads waiting to see the veteran thrash/speed metal quartet in action.

A stuffed and sweaty Warehouse was packed for the return of Slayer in support of their brilliant and latest offering: _Diabolus in Musica_. It was quite evident from the start of the set, opening with "Hell Awaits", that this was going to be a 80-minute set of classic Slayer, peppered with some newer material off of _DiM_.

Vocalist/bassist Tom Araya screamed with power and intensity through opener "Hell Awaits", leading his band's aggressive charge as the mosh pit lit up like a firecracker. Fans surfed and charged the stage screaming along at the top of their lungs with fists pumping. The band skidded though other classics like "War Ensemble", "Die by the Sword", "Reign in Blood" and my personal fave "Dead Skin Mask" off of the _Seasons in the Abyss_ LP.

Though the sound was muffled at times and the guitars tuned in and out 'cause of bad acoustics and the cavernous Warehouse, overall it was a solid, sweaty set by Slayer. They opted to just play two new numbers off _Diabolus in Musica_ (the cool "Death's Head" and "Stain of Mind"), saving the rest of the new material for a much larger tour in the fall. In pretty good form that night, despite the venue, was the axework of Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King. These guys are two of the best in this business and they love flaunting it. They helped forge the metal genre with classic work and it still stands up a decade later.

Opening the show was Maryland's odd rock quartet Clutch and California hip hop / rock / hardcore ensemble System of a Down. While I missed all of but one song by System of a Down, I wasn't too impressed, easily classifying them in the same genre as Powerman 5000 and Limp Bizkit. Next up was the always exciting Clutch, on tour in support of their latest weirdo concoction called _The Elephant Riders_.

Clutch warmed up the ground and gained their support for the most part of their 40-minute set, swaying the crowd with new numbers like "The Elephant Riders" and "The Soapmakers" and kicking into the popular Clutch fave "A Shogun Named Marcus". I've seen this band open for numerous other acts (Sepultura and Marilyn Manson to name a few) and they always add something special to a show. They may not be liked by everybody, but they've got some killer grooves. There is no denying that.

So Slayer slayed this evening. Big suprise, eh? They are one of the only big veteran metal acts that can still deliver the goods and enjoy doing it. They live for metal and it shows. I'm just hoping to be able to get to see the next leg of this North American tour, which supposedly has Fear Factory as the opening act. I'm already there.

(article submitted 8/7/1998)


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