See You in Hell: Slayer’s Farewell Tour with Lamb of God, Amon Amarth, and Cannibal Corpse
Toyota Music Pavilion – Irving, Texas – May 8, 2019 | Words by Mike DiQuinzio | Photos by Brian K. Ullrich
Slayer’s farewell tour, now in its second year, brought the most metal party of the year to the Toyota Music Pavilion in Irving, Texas. Cannibal Corpse and Amon Amarth got the crowd warmed up, but it was Lamb of God – offering main support for the second year in a row – who used every minute of their set to assure the guys in Slayer that they have been paying attention for the past 36 years.
Lamb of God has perfected the art of the opening slot by removing the peaks and valleys of their headlining set and going right for the throat for 50 straight minutes. After a pre-recorded intro segued into the brutal groove of “Omerta”, Lamb of God proceeded to brutalize the crowd with standards like “Ruin”, “Walk with Me in Hell”, and “Now You’ve Got Something to Die For”. All of these, which they have undoubtedly played thousands of times each by now, were delivered with an energy that made them feel as exciting as when they were new. Frontman Randy Blythe roamed every inch of the stage for the entirety of the show, which itself was slightly ironic as he sang about his own incarceration in the auto-biographical “512”. Their nine-song set ended with their breakthrough “Laid to Rest” and the now-traditional, bittersweet Pantera shout-out of “Redneck”. Lamb of God’s spectacular set proved unquestionably why they are the only band able to play before Slayer and not be forgotten after they’re done.
Slayer’s career-spanning set touched on every era of the band’s existence by including at least one song from almost every album (sorry, Diabolus in Musica fans). Opening with “Repentless”, Slayer did what Slayer does for the ensuing hour and a half: destroy the venue. “South of Heaven”, “Disciple”, “War Ensemble” – all the “hits” were included – but it was the rarities that Slayer exhumed from their catalog that made this night so special. “Temptation”, from Seasons in the Abyss, and “Gemini”, the nearly forgotten original composition from their under-appreciated punk covers album Undisputed Attitude, were greeted with equal parts excitement and disbelief, as if we thought they forgot how to play these songs long ago. “World Painted Blood”, “Payback”, and “Mandatory Suicide” kept the mosh pit in a constant swirl, but everyone seemed to pause at the end of “Postmortem” in hopeful anticipation of its proper conclusion, “Raining Blood”. It came later, with Slayer instead transitioning into “Hate Worldwide”.
Slayer’s understanding of how to market their band has reached a near-KISS level at this point, evidenced by the apparent “You want Satan? We’ll give you Satan” visual component of their show. This has always been the most misunderstood and tongue-in-cheek aspect of Slayer, and it was turned up to 11 on this night. From the moment the lights went down, everything from inverted crosses to pentagrams accentuated songs about Hell and evil, while fire erupted from the rear of the stage whenever the lyrics called for it (“Born of Fire”, “Hell Awaits”). Whether you praise or condemn them for it, Slayer knows what their fans want, and they made damn sure no one left the venue wanting.
The legendary “Angel of Death” brought their 20-song set and nearly four-decade reign to a close for the DFW crowd. As the band shed their instruments and wholeheartedly thanked the crowd for their devotion over the years, it was hard not to reflect on the past 90 minutes without being saddened by the realization that this was the last time we would experience this band live. Whatever the future holds for Slayer, farewell or not, their legend is untouchable and no one who saw this show would dare argue otherwise.
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