Slayer at The Academy


Usually I’m at the venue way too early. I walk around The Academy, to check out the tour buses and the trucks. Then I stand in the queue, soaking up the pre-gig atmosphere, for about half an hour. Then I stand inside waiting for it all to start. But with the date changes, this should have been the 20th of November last year, the ticket said doors 7:30pm, I was there just gone 7 and everyone had already been let in. Maybe this was a good thing.

This meant that I only had 15 minutes to wait, at my spot in front of the mixing desk, before the lights went down and The Haunted came on. It has to be tough for all opening bands, but opening for Slayer has to be even harder. I hadn’t heard of them, or any of their music, before. But my god they were loud. I don’t know if the sound guy was using all of the 24 Marshall cabinets across the back of the stage but it certainly sounded like it. I could feel my clothes flapping against my chest. They played well enough but I think after a while all the songs seemed to sound the same. Lots of devil horns thrown by the band and hurled back by the crowd as a tribute to Ronnie James Dio.

Set List
World Painted Blood
Hate Worldwide
Expendable Youth
War Ensemble
Beauty Through Order
Seasons in the Abyss
Hell Awaits
Mandatory Suicide
Chemical Warfare
Raining Blood
Aggressive Perfector
South of Heaven
Silent Scream
Angel of Death

I’ve wanted to see Slayer since I started going to gigs again but they only ever seemed to play the M.E.N. with about 4 other bands I hadn’t heard of. I can’t believe that they’ve been going for nearly 30 years. I remember the review in Kerrang! for Show No Mercy, an album/CD that I still don’t own, which said that it was practically unlistenable. Then Geoff Barton, yes the huge KISS fan Geoff Barton, reviewed Hell Awaits when it was released on import in 1985 and gave it a maximum five K’s. Looking back at the music I was buying at the time it was all hair metal: W.A.S.P, Motley Crue, Ratt, the album I bought after Hell Awaits was Asylum by KISS. Of course I’d bought everything by Venom and was looking for music in a similar vein.

Stage time for Slayer must have been 8:30pm because everything was ready. Guitars tested, microphone checked, blue lights and smoke. Each time the interval music stopped there was a huge roar from the crowd and the Slayer chant started. Then some more music would play and we’d have to wait again. That must have happened at least 4 or 5 times until the stage lights went out, the Slayer logo appeared on the video backdrop and the band ripped into World Painted Blood. A testament to the strength of the new album to open the set with the title track.

From that moment on it was like having a sledgehammer slammed into your chest for nearly 2 hours, but in a good way. Tom thanked the audience for the good wishes he’d received. He sang and played perfectly, of course, but from the concert DVDs I own I could tell that he wasn’t banging his head or thrashing his hair around as much as he used to. I’ve never seen so many black, band logo t-shirts in one place before. A packed Academy isn’t big enough for a pit but there were plenty of people crowd surfing, so the security guys in front of the stage certainly earned their money. There was hardly any between song banter from Tom although he did ask if we liked beer that we should probably try drinking it instead of throwing it about.

With the main set over the encores ended with Angel of Death and the crowd was doing most of the singing. Tom thanked us all, Jeff was throwing guitar picks, Dave came down from the drum riser and handed out drumsticks and Kerry pointed to some new ink down the inside of his left arm. Just an amazing couple of hours. Long may Slayer reign.

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I’ve just read the review of the Leeds show in Kerrang! magazine and found out that Kerry was checking a guitar tabs book of Slayer songs for one of the old tracks from Show No Mercy. And also that Tom had forgotten the words to one song, I think it was Angel of Death. That would explain the sing-along-a-Slayer sections to Angel of Death at the end.

  • Posted on Sunday, 30 May 2010
  • Tagged with gigs music