Slayer and Lamb of God and Amon Amarth

(Originally Published on South Florida Insider)

Thrash Metal Legends’ Final Tour Rocks the Sunny Skies of South Florida – Review of the Slayer concert at the Coral Sky Amphitheater in West Palm Beach Florida

Photos and Story by: Gleb Barabanov

Slayer is widely known as one of the founders of the poplar “thrash metal” sound and the most brutal of the “Big 4” of Metal. So when I heard that the venerable metal veterans were hanging up the guns, I knew I had to make it to their last run of shows. The Coral Sky Amphitheater served as the perfect place to see the swan song of one of the greatest metal bands of our time, and the weather was wonderful – not too hot and not rainy. Metal fans of all creeds and ages descended upon the palace to witness what may be their last opportunity to see Kerry King and Tom Araya play.

The lineup was absolutely stacked with what would normally be 4 separate headlining shows worth of bands. Cannibal Corpse was the first act to play, and the Florida natives brought the heavy to a new level. George Fisher and his crew of death metal masters kicked off the night with Evisceration Plague and Scourge of Iron as the crowd started to pack in the seats, and the band did an amazing job warming up the early-comers. After a few more songs, with George wind-milling his way through each tune, the group finished up their time on stage with their most famous song, Hammer Smashed Face.

As Cannibal Corpse finished up their last song, the techs began to put together the impressive set for the next group set to play, Amon Amarth. The Swedish melodic death metal gods went all out for this tour, bringing out a giant boat in the middle of the stage and an enormous backdrop featuring the cover art of their latest album Berserker. As the techs finished setting up and fog began to fill the stage, Johan Hegg and the rest of the band began to emerge onto the stage and kicked into their first song, Pursuit of Vikings. The group sounded extremely tight and well rehearsed, and their Viking themed jams kept a moshpit going on the lawn for their entire set. After a few more songs, including their biggest hit Twilight of the Thunder God and Raven’s Flight from their latest album, the band played their last song of the night, Guardians of Asgaard, and began to disappear from the stage.

The techs began to disassemble the enormous set of Amon Amarth and set up the stage for the direct support, Lamb of God. They have been supporting Slayer for their last run for the entire time, and its good to see that they are kicking just as much ass as ever. With a giant Lamb of God flag embezzled with their logo behind them, the opening lines to Omerta began to play and Randy Blythe exploded onto the stage like a madman. Jumping around like a frenzied 12 year old given way too much sugar and not enough ADHD medication, the dreadlocked wizard blasted his way through old hits Ruin, Walk With Me In Hell, and Now You Have Something to Die For. Randy’s voice was as tight and brutal as it was the first time I saw them almost 15 years ago, and like a fine wine Mark and Willie’s playing abilities have only gotten better with age. Drummer Chris Adler is sitting this tour out it seems, but Art Cruz did an awesome job filling in for him, blasting away on the skins like there was no tomorrow. After a few more songs from their latest album, they finished their set with their two most famous songs, Laid to Rest and Redneck.

After what seemed like an eternal wait while Slayer’s crew got to work prepping for their set, the large black curtain covering the stage finally fell and large crosses began to be projected on the net in front of the screen. As the crosses turned upside down and morphed into the Slayer logo, the last veil finally dropped and Kerry, Tom, Paul and Gary ran out onto the stage and jumped right into their first song Repentless. Starting their way from the newest album and working their way backwards, they played older classic Evil Has No Boundaries and World Painted Blood from the 2009 record of the same name. Tom Araya belted out the lyrics to his songs like he was still 18 years old, his voice as vicious as ever. Kerry King and Gary Holt laid down the guitar parts to classic songs like War Ensemble, Disciple and Mandatory Suicide with machine-like perfection, and the group managed to touch on almost every album in their repertoire in the massive 20-song setlist. Drenched in classic Slayer red lighting and with crazy pyrotechnics going off around them as they played in front of a giant glowing backdrop of a combination of their album covers, the group masterfully executed their time on stage before bowing out with a killer combination of absolute classics Raining Blood, Dead Skin Mask and Angel of Death.

I have to say, as far as swan songs go, this one was definitely an absolute treat. The entire time I was watching the show, it felt like I was watching a part of history being made. As sad as I am to see one of my favorite bands go, I’m definitely glad that they were able to bring one last killer show to the shores of South Florida.