On Saturday, March 5th, the Fillmore in Silver Spring hosted a sold out show headlined by the masters of demonic thrash, Slayer. This bill was pretty stacked as the two support bands, Bay Area thrashers Testament and UK based melodic death band Carcass, have both headlined the Fillmore in the past. The line to get in wrapped around the building early and the place was already pretty packed before the first band took the stage.
Carcass started things off with a short set, they only played for 40 minutes, but managed to get through 10 songs in that time. The band didn’t talk much between songs and really made the most of their time. Their set consisted of songs from Heartwork (2), Necroticism (3) and their latest album, Surgical Steel (4) plus “Genital Grinder” from Reek Of Putrefaction. Their set was short but sweet and the band kept it tight, you really weren’t going to see a better set from these guys in just 40 minutes and I wondered how Testament would look by comparison going on after such a great set by Carcass.
Testament followed with a set that wasn’t quite as energetic as the one Carcass played but the audience still went nuts for it. Vocalist Chuck Billy was doing his best air guitar throughout the set while Alex Skolnick showed off his impressive actual guitar skills. Testament’s set consisted of just eight songs with a focus on their best hits from the 80s and 90s. They are always entertaining live and Testament can still shred but I still think of the three bands that played they were the least compelling. Testament’s set was also 40 minutes and when they finished a big curtain went up in front of the stage while Slayer set up.
Finally the curtain fell and Slayer launched into “Repentless,” the first of five songs they would perform off their newest album of the same name. I know the current Slayer line up has its doubters but I’m not one of them after having seen both the original line up and the current one several times now. The band is still very tight and intense live and this night was no exception. Paul Bostaph really punches it behind the kit and Gary Holt is always very animated on stage; you can tell he’s having a blast up there. He brought out that crazy looking guitar that is painted using several pints of his own blood too (see photo below). When Slayer played the Fillmore Silver Spring last, in November 2013, their set list was a sort of “best hits” while Saturday’s show certainly had more of Slayer’s material from the past decade in there. That said, they played for an hour and 45 minutes so there was plenty of time to get many of those classic older Slayer tunes. The final four songs they played are pretty hard for any metal band to match, “South Of Heaven,” “Raining Blood,” “Black Magic” and “Angel Of Death.” Some people were hoping for an encore after that but seriously, what more could you ask for? Slayer might be older and have a different line up now but they really haven’t lost a step or any of that demonic intensity they’re known for and this show just proved it, once again.
Below are my shots of the bands that night, you can click on any one of them to see it full sized or click here to see the entire set (including photos of the set lists).
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