Aggroculture
CoC reviews Slayer with Hatebreed and Diecast
February 2nd 2002, Clive, Iowa, at the 7 Flags Event Center

by: Aaron McKay
Let's forget that this event took place on the precipice of a milestone birthday for me and let's forget that I've seen Slayer live in concert well more than ten times with dozens of opening acts from Overkill to Testament to the Clash of the Titans where they recorded _Decade of Aggression_ in Lakeland, Florida. More than all of this -- Slayer has -never- been better than they were this night!

Better why, you might ask... The obvious starting point to this evening that was aggressively infused with toxically high doses of musical wonderment -- the opening bands. Having -always- been an incredibly huge fan of Diecast's ruff 'n' tuff, tight crunch 'n' punch sound, I was thrilled beyond reason when these fuckers were added to a tour that would expose them to a wider, receptive audience.

This Now or Never Records outfit erupted on stage in a fashion equal to bands with -twice- Diecast's longevity. My concert going gang and I were just making our way through the 7 Flags Event Center doors when Diecast was first pounding out their lead song. Immediately if not sooner, the four other people I came with -- and myself for sure -- were caught up in the riveting potency of this band's presence like the slow motion bullets ripping through the air in the movie "Matrix". Sometimes mistakenly referred to as "tough guy metal", Diecast is far beyond this inadequate characterization. Even before February 2nd, I was a Diecast fan, but since then I've transcended that designation, too! I've actually spent more time listening to Diecast's newest effort, _Day of Reckoning_, since bearing witness to their awe-inspiring live show than I have clocked off sleeping this month, for shit's sake. They were, no question, a perfect opening choice for an ultimately flawless evening.

Hatebreed graced us next with their potent strength and power amalgamation. Not nearly as comfortable with their material as I was with Diecast's, Hatebreed took only a matter of seconds to make true believers out of everyone in attendance that memorable evening in Clive, Iowa. While I loathe to sweepingly characterize a class act like these guys, Hatebreed is about as "back to the basics" hardcore outfit as you'll ever find. Like I mentioned, it was mere seconds after the stage change until Hatebreed's crushing, world-collapsing pressure had the crowd thrashing to tight, hard hitting rhythms -- Hatebreed style. Another prime choice opening act for Slayer.

After a beer or two more, I was primed for the last of the Big Four. Once upon a time there used to be a platform of metal heavyweights braced by a quadrangle of support: Megadeth, Metallica, Exodus and Slayer. Two of these bands have inexplicably lost their edge, there other two have a story, but I'll wait on one of those points for just a minute.

Slayer's commanding presence filled the 7 Flags Event Center like so much wet cement poured into a swimming pool. "God hates us all" emblazoned in red on the black stage curtains behind the band became distinctively evident as Slayer expelled a flawless version of the track off the new effort boldly embracing that potently descriptive phrase -- "Disciple". Things got better from there. Slayer peeled off a perfect mix of time-tested material like "Chemical Warfare", "Angel of Death", "Mandatory Suicide", "Postmortem" and "South of Heaven" complete with a peppering of soon-to-be favorite Slayer material. Their sound after more than twenty years of this is refined yet raw, but never, ever boring or wanting for power. Slayer has refined their technique into a rare and priceless gem and their sound quality tonight was far, -far- beyond reproach.

As for the last mentioned of the Big Four, Mr. Araya informed the crowd this fateful evening that earlier that very day Exodus vocalist Paul Baloff passed away. We've lost too many of metal's greats in recent months and Mr. Baloff was the most recent. Tom Araya's news was received heart-felt and heavy by this reviewer and Slayer's befitting tribute was well-received and recognized by a receptive crowd.

Many, many pieces made this night's puzzle of events one of the most surreal and memorable Slayer concerts on record for me. The venue was sensational, the bands were class A top-notch, and the performances were first rate, but the sad news that night of metal's loss of Mr. Baloff (on the heels of the widely respected and beloved Chuck Schuldiner of Death) was something not soon forgotten by anyone there or removed that evening.

A -big- thanks to Slayer for their dedication and commitment in finally getting to play live in the Des Moines, Iowa area after a few failed attempts in the past; you have my utmost thanks, gentlemen. While expressing this personally to the band would have been -all- the birthday present I would have needed, I wasn't that lucky. If you know anyone associated with Slayer, however, please let them know I thought -- beyond any doubt at all -- that they've never, ever have been in as fine a form than they were in Clive that night! Whoever said Iowa AGGROCULTURE was as boring as the state's scenery?!

(article submitted 12/4/2002)


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