The show was billed as The Unholy Alliance tour and I cannot think of a better description especially for a tour that take the most exciting Metal bands of today (Thine Eyes Bleed, Children of Bodom, Mastodon, and Lamb of God) and partners them up as openers for the one and only Slayer. The show in my area would be at The Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford NJ, and tonight it was labeled as the "theatre". When they do this, areas of the venue are cordoned off by large black curtains. These drapes make the venue just a little more intimate. I first experienced this during the last Slipknot tour and was amazed at this aspect of the place with this setting being used.
Read on for Ken Pierce's full report of the show!
Thine Eyes Bleed: Sadly, I missed their entire set and the result of this would be the very early start time for the show. When you have five bands performing this is the risk you take and a venue is under different restrictions from a nightclub so that was that. I did hear a couple of good things about them from surrounding people who rushed in to the place to get the best spot for the night and I will be looking into their CD as soon as I can get my hands on one.
Children Of Bodom: The Finnish invaded New Jersey for this show and would be the only representation of Metal from Europe tonight. CoB is truly one of the most exciting bands to come around in a long time and their popularity grows with each and every album. Led by Alexi Laiho, these Metal rabble-rousers deliver a level of technical Metal mixed with some solid keyboard arrangements and grinding guitars. If you need an album by these guys to look into, I suggest Follow the Reaper or Are You Dead Yet? as those are two of my favorites. Its also been discussed that a live DVD is on the way, and while it will not bring the true feel of this band in the concert sense you do get a solid idea of the vibe that happens.
Mastodon: The reviews have referred to Mastodon as being one of the most important Heavy Metal bands to come around in recent memory and finally I was getting to see them perform. It seemed that every show they were on I had either just missed them or I was not attending. Finally, I got to see what many of the Metal legions were buzzing about and its true, the band defies a lot of the convention one normally is finding and really gives their fans and anyone watching something to enjoy. The band is set to release their follow-up to the Relapse Records release Leviathan very soon, and with this release will also find them securing a major label deal. Let's hope it does not ruin a good thing, as this news often comes with a level of commercialization. Mastodon is a band who has justifiably crawled from the underground into acclaim and I don't want to see them lose anything that makes them special as a result.
Lamb Of God: The popularity and impact of LoG just seems to grow and grow by staggering proportions as months go by. Having been lucky to see them perform over the past year at the "Sounds Of The Underground" 2005 and as support for Slipknot I can say that this band was consistently delivered and shown that every new follower is justly deserved. The grinding power of their material and the membership having two Brothers in the group has led to some comparison of the band being a modern day Pantera, and perhaps the band is following in the footsteps of the legendary thrashers. Still, the band is very uniquely their own identity when you look at it, with wild and intricate guitar work that gets accompanied by some highly technical drumming. The energetic lead vocalist and the bands ability to instill a wall of mosh shows that if you are down in an area you don't belong then you are in some serious trouble as their set progresses. The bands live effort Killadelphia is available on CD and DVD and their follow-up is due to arrive shortly. If you are still curious about this Metal band for some reason, then get
Slayer: Where does one begin to talk about Slayer? The band became the absolute definition of Metal and the aspect of the Thrash genre as a whole over 20 years ago. Despite the critics and the non-believer, the band has consistently toured and had only one major line up change when Dave Lombardo stepped down from the drum throne. He returned as a fill in player for several months and this stay was extended until he finally rejoined the band as a fulltime member. Slayers legions are a force to be reckoned with and their shows often are a testament to this fact. My last time seeing Slayer was at The Roseland Ballroom, so it was cool to see them in an arena setting once again. So many Metal bands have been doing the mid-sized venues as the number of supporters had changed and not been able to fill a place like the Continental Arena anymore. The theatre setting works and the general admission floor would provide a more than suitable area for the mosh pit to grow from. Tonight would also be interesting for while walking about the parking area I saw people my age who were bringing their kids to the show - it was truly something I never expected to find at such a performance. With all the killer bands performing before them you knew Slayer would deliver harder than ever and this would be the case for the most part. I had to give Tom Araya a lot of credit, for he had just recovered from an operation and its not too easy to walk around much less belt out the Slayer songs after a procedure like that. Guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman flanked either side of the stage, which was continually showing upside down crosses while Dave Lombardo commanded the kit like no other drummer in Metal can. Their set list was not really one full of surprises and consisted mainly of the expected tunes you get at one of their shows. The band also made sure to focus a little attention on their forthcoming album Christ Illusion as they delivered the song "Cult". The track alone is bound to cause some level of controversy among the media and this will surely prove to many that Slayer has not swayed from their course but instead grown upon it and taken it to the next level. I did feel the Slayer set went by a little fast but that is a normal feeling I get when I see them as they blistering speed knock you down when they play, and while I had this feeling, the band still delivered some 14 songs. I admit also to a little bit of a disappointment in the crowd on the floor. In the past when I have seen Slayer, the entire floor in most cases becomes the pit. This would not be the case tonight with only select sections breaking off in that fashion. Perhaps the times are changing in their audience or perhaps the younger fans are not sure what to do yet. The new record comes out soon, so you owe it to yourself as a Metal fan to keep the music of Slayer alive. You do not want to make Kerry King unhappy do you?
Slayer Set List
South Of Heaven
God Hates Us All
Seasons In The Abyss
Dead Skin Mask
Reign In Blood
Angel Of Death
Official Web site: www.slayer.net
Official Web site: www.lamb-of-god.com
Official Web site: www.cobhc.com
Official Web site: www.mastodonrocks.com
Official Web site: www.thineeyesbleed.com