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ConcertsJagermeister Music Tour Hits New York City!

Posted on Thursday, November 18 2004 @ 19:31:56 CST by Pete Pardo
Heavy Metal Sea of Tranquility Publisher Pete Pardo was amongst the masses at the recent stop at The Roseland Ballroom on 11/11/2004 to see blistering sets from Mastodon, Killswitch Engage, and headliner Slayer. This was a heavy metal triple bill not to be missed-read on for Pete's full review of the show!

The latest installment of the Jagermeister Music Tour crashed into town last Thursday to the delight over 1000+ rabid fans, most of whom obviously were more than ready for the legendary Slayer to lumber onto the stage and lay waste to the sea of humanity that squeezed into the Roseland Ballroom, a popular venue for hard rock and metal bands over the last ten years. While many longtime fans of Slayer were in attendance (those of us in the 30-and-over sector), there was a surprising contingent of younger metal heads at this event. Local band Adrenokrome opened the show with a quick 20 minute set of mostly forgettable, noisy hardcore, that hardly anyone seemed to notice, especially since there were no more than perhaps 200 people in the venue at the time.

At around 7:30, the mighty newcomers Mastodon hit the stage, and while it seemed at the outset that a good portion of the crowd were not overly familiar with the bands music, by about the third song many were looking at each other in positive agreement that these guys kick some serious ass! Mastodon's music this night was very heavy, even doomy in spots, with lots of instrumental interplay between the two guitarists, but most importantly the band exhibited tons of aggressive yet melodic arrangements. If you can imagine a cross between Black Sabbath, Metallica, King Crimson, Rush, and Motorhead, which is kind of how Mastodon comes across live. Kicking off with the groove-laden yet crushingly powerful "Iron Tusk", Mastodon delivered a hot set that got the 75% filled venue banging their heads with approval. With the exception of the rampaging "March of the Fire Ants", the rest of their set was filled with songs from their latest album Leviathan, like "Blood and Thunder", the complex "I Am Ahab", the bruising stomp of "Megalodon", and the raging "Island". This was a testosterone-fueled performance by a band that has all the chops, all the energy, and all the songwriting skills to take over the metal world. Add in an amazing drummer, a bassist whose vocals run the gamut from throaty growls, hi-pitched screams, and melodic shouts, plus two talented guitar players, and you have one angry Mastodon ready to break out of the Ice-Age.

Killswitch Engage took to the stage about 8:15, and delivered a 45-minute performance that was polished, full of energy, teetering on violent hardcore one minute and melodic arena metal the next. These guys, one of the few in the upper tier of modern metal acts that grace all the magazines and show up on MTV2, really have their sound working on all cylinders these days. New singer Howard Jones works the crowd very well, and varies his delivery with walls of blood-curdling shrieks and growls, as well as plenty of melodic, sing-along passages, which he handled so well on songs like "A Bid Farewell", "Breathe Live", "When Darkness Falls", and the powerful title track to their latest CD, "The End of Heartache", where he had the crowd singing most of the chorus. Guitarists Adam Dutkiewidz and Joel Stroetzel layed down plenty of crunchy metal riffs, with most of the lead work, fils, squeals, and solos going to Dutkiewidz, who is actually a pretty flashy metal player. Songs like "Rose of Sharyn" could have easily been a 1980's thrash anthem, while "Wasted Sacrifice" just steamrolled the crowd to near exhaustion. Killswitch Engage played a near forty-five minute set of songs culled from their new album, and the crowd was very into the whole affair and showed their appreciation loudly, but it was apparent that they were more than ready for the evening's headliner.

It's amazing how, nearly 15 years since I have seen Slayer last, that the band's fans have not changed one iota. All throughout the opening band's sets, many in attendance just walked around in a hazed, semi-violent state, shouting "Fuckin' Sla-aaa-yer!!!" over and over again, regardless of the great metal sounds happening on stage. In fact, while many in attendance surely got into Mastodon & Killswitch Engage, we know who the majority really came to see. The legends of thrash sauntered onto a large stage set up with plenty of dry ice, drum riser, and walls of amps, kicking into the raging "Disciple" from the God Hates Us All CD, and from that moment on there was no stopping this veteran juggernaut. The sea of humanity that made up for floor area in front of the stage became a surging maelstrom of flying bodies, as Kerry King & Jeff Hanneman laid down the brutal riffs to Slayer classics like "At Dawn They Sleep", "War Ensemble", "Hell Awaits", "Chemical Warfare", and of course the lethal "Angel of Death", among many others. Tom Araya was in fine voice, despite reports that he has been having some serious vocal problems on this tour as well as Ozzfest, and Dave Lombardo pounded the drums like a man possessed. This was metal played loud, violent, and accomplished with accurate precision, by a foursome of players who are professionals at their craft. Slayer's music hasn't really changed much over the years-and if you are not overly familiar with their music, many of their songs might sound a tad similar, as the band really knows only one style, full speed ahead, take no prisoners thrash metal. For the majority of the fans at Roseland, this fact was just fine. In a time when Metallica's music & popularity have waned, Pantera have broken up, and Megadeth are on their final legs, Slayer seems poised to continue on as Gods of thrash for as long as they want to.

Pete Pardo

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