Review of Slayer at Jiffy Lube Live

On Sunday, June 10th of 2018 the Slayer farewell tour came to Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Virginia. The tour was supported by some other great bands as well. Testament started things off, then Poland’s blackened death metal band Behemoth played (it was the band’s main man, Nergal’s, birthday) followed by Anthrax and then Lamb of God was direct support. I’m not going to get into all of their sets mostly because this post is about Slayer and secondly, I got there during Anthrax’s set. However you can see a few clips at the end of this post from Behemoth’s set that they posted on social media. Anyways, this is a concert review so of course the big question is, how was the show?

First off, like all Slayer performances, the show was a lot of fun. Slayer did a sort of career retrospective set list, which is a bit different than a “best hits” style set list in that it contained songs off 11 of their 13 albums. Only Diabolus in Musica and the mostly punk covers album Undisputed Attitude weren’t represented in the set list (see the full set list here). They left a few classics off, most notably “Spirit in Black,” “Die by the Sword,” and the medley of “Altar of Sacrifice” and “Jesus Saves” that has been a staple of their live set for decades. However they did play “Blood Red” which hasn’t been in their touring set list in many years.

It seemed like almost every metal head from our area was at the show to see Slayer one last time. I ran into some of the dudes from Darkest Hour, Ant Scot was crowd surfing in his wheelchair throughout the day and Randy Blythe even brought out local politician/metal head Danica Roem on stage for a moment during Lamb of God’s set. It seemed everywhere I turned I ran into another regular from the local scene, and I still didn’t see half the people I know were there from seeing their posts on social media after the show.

Most of the bands played in the daylight but it was dark by the time Slayer took the stage after 9pm. They had some great pyro effects including open flames that lit up metal Slayer logos on stage, and giant fireballs that would shoot up behind them in time with the music. While the current line up is only half of the original members, Tom Araya and Kerry King, I had seen this same Slayer line up with Paul Bostaph on drums and Gary Holt of Exodus filling Jeff Hanneman’s shoes twice before. Once in November 2013 (read our review of that show here) and again in March 2016 (read our review of that show here), both times at the Fillmore Silver Spring. What blew me away at those shows was how tight the band still was despite the line up changes. Slayer is probably best known for having written some of the most classic songs of the entire heavy metal genre but they are also known as a band that is incredibly well rehearsed and tight live. They rip through blisteringly fast songs totally in sync with each other and they make it seem easy because they have practiced them so many times. It was impressive that they could keep that up with two new members, something many bands that have that kind of well rehearsed chemistry fail to do after major line up changes. However that tight chemistry wasn’t quite there this Sunday night in June. Gary Holt had some technical issues and had to swap his guitar out a few times, including during the beginning of “Hell Awaits” which left what might be Slayer’s best intro riff sounding off. Most glaring however was Tom Araya fudging or possibly completely forgetting the lyrics to some of the songs. I might give this a pass if they were songs off the later albums but, for example, in “South of Heaven” he repeated a verse that doesn’t repeat and in “Angel of Death” he completely missed an entire verse of lyrics. This didn’t ruin the show by a long shot, it certainly didn’t make me suddenly stop loving those classic songs but it was the first time I’d ever seen Slayer so out of sync live. I’ve seen them live many times before. At the 9:30 Club, the long gone Nation/Capital Ballroom, the Baltimore Arena and the previously mentioned Fillmore Silver Spring. I’ve seen them before at Jiffy Lube Live on Mayhem Fest and even back when it was still called Nissan Pavilion I’ve seen Slayer play there as part of several Ozzfests. This Slayer performance was the first time I had seen a tiny crack in the foundation starting to grow.

Slayer played for about 90 minutes with none of that lame pre-rehearsed encore nonsense. They just got up there and ripped for an hour and a half straight while everyone went nuts. Gary Holt was sporting a “Kill The Kardashians” shirt and brought out his guitar that is painted in his own blood a few times (backstory on that here). However the most memorable part of the show might be what happened after it just ended. After the end of the set Tom Araya wandered around on stage just soaking in all the fans still screaming wildly for the band despite the set being over. He eventually found a mic and thanked the fans for all the memories. I’m not sure if he did that at every stop on the tour or just ours, but it was quite a touching moment, not something Slayer shows are generally known for. Still coming down from the adrenaline rush of a live Slayer performance, it was a sobering reminder that this was the last time we’ll be seeing Slayer in our area.

I am sad to see Slayer go, but this performance showed us why they are retiring. It seems like Tom Araya’s heart just isn’t in it any more, something that has been hinted at in interviews in other metal publications. I’d rather see them go on their own terms than just become a sloppy caricature of the incredible band they are. I did thoroughly enjoy the show though, despite its flaws. I’ve long held that no metal head can sit still while songs like “Raining Blood” or “Angel of Death” are playing and this show was certainly no exception. Bang your head, throw the horns, jump into the mosh pit, you just gotta go crazy for Slayer! But it is the end of an era, the first band of the Big Four of thrash metal to retire. I love this area’s metal community and it is always bittersweet to see one of the legends bring everyone out to headbang to their tunes for one last time.

Below you can see the photos I shot of Slayer from the photo pit (click them to see them larger) and below those are some images and videos of Behemoth that were posted to their social media, including the audience singing “Happy Birthday” to Nergal.

Slayer at Jiffy Lube Live 6/10/18

Kerry King of Slayer

Tom Araya of Slayer

Kerry King of Slayer

Tom Araya and Kerry King of Slayer

Kerry King of Slayer

Ant Scot crowd surfing

Bonus photo I shot of Ant Scot crowd surfing into security

Bristow, Virginia. We are in the middle of the set. The show is fuckin' intense… I see a guy on the wheelchair crowd surfing! There's a moshpit from the very start of the show and ppl r totally INTO it. Obviously we feed on that energy and return it with twice as much strength! Ryan, our tour manager suggests that he goes Instagram live for the new song "Wolves ov Siberia". I agree, why not, right? He follows me into the stage and I'm announcing the song yet I see him standing behind my back regardless. Weird. As I approach the mic music dies and there's a robotic announcment coming from the speakers all over the place: "Ladies and gentlemen this is not time for "Wolves ov Siberia". Not yet. Today is the day to celebrate your fuckin' birthday, Nergal"! And then Gary Holt, Randy Blythe, Kerry King and the boss of all bosses, Mike enter the stage with a bottle of Jagger serving shots! Holy fuck! It took me few seconds to realize what's goin on… From the speeakers I can hear "Stoooo lat" from the legendary movie "Rejs"… Randy encoured ppl to sing "Happy birthday" and shortly after 10.000 ppl are chanting along the theme. What can I say? I was blown away and hyper-surprised and it was worth waiting 41 years for THIS haha !!! Would love to send regards and massive thank you to my band mates and Wolfpack crew for making this all happen! BEST wishes EVER!!! Love u ALLfuckers!!!! @drandallblythe @behemothofficial @garyholt_official @orion669 @brovarius.victorius @slayerbandofficial @slaywhore @paulbostaphofficial @shark_________________________

A post shared by Adam Nergal Darski (@nergal69) on

The same video as above, but this version is longer and includes the “Happy Birthday” song.

Thank you sooo much for last nite Bristow!!!!

A post shared by Behemoth (@behemothofficial) on

Live photos of Behemoth and Cannibal Corpse

The Behemoth and Cannibal Corpse dual-headlining tour stopped at the Fillmore Silver Spring on Monday, March 2nd, 2015, and it was a great show! Death metal fans were treated to two titans of the genre and the bands didn’t disappoint. This was the first time I have seen Behemoth since the band’s main man, Nergal, recovered from cancer. I have to say the Polish band’s stage show has really improved since the days they used to open for other bands all the time at Jaxx! Behemoth played a lot off the new album, The Satanist, but old fans were treated to some older classics like “Chant for ΕΣΧΗΑΤΟΝ 2000” as well. Cannibal Corpse put on a brutal show as always. While I don’t think they were bad I still think they’re a better show in smaller venues where the band is closer to the audience and the place is a packed, sweaty mosh pit from stage to exit. Still, they’re always tight and it was cool that they mixed things up by closing their set with “Devoured By Vermin.” The lighting for Cannibal Corpse wasn’t the best for shooting but I did get a few shots, Behemoth was much brighter and had a lot of stage props as well (including Nergal’s mic stand that he must have purchased from Cobra Commander’s yard sale). Unfortunately I didn’t get there in time to catch openers Tribulation and Aeon, the latter of which I really wanted to see, but early start times aren’t the best for week nights in this town with the crazy traffic we get. Anyways, I hope you enjoy the photos I shot below of Behemoth and Cannibal Corpse.

Cannibal Corpse:

Cannibal Corpse at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Alex Webster of Cannibal Corpse at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Paul Mazurkiewicz of Cannibal Corpse at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Behemoth:

Nergal of Behemoth at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Nergal of Behemoth at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Behemoth at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Nergal of Behemoth at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Behemoth at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Nergal of Behemoth at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Behemoth and Cannibal Corpse ticket give away

Behemoth and Cannibal Corpse at the Fillmore Silver Spring

When two of the titans of death metal have a tour coming to our area you know we get excited here at DCHM. And when we get excited about a show we like to get as many people out to it as possible. So this week we’re giving away a free pair of tickets to see Behemoth and Cannibal Corpse at the Fillmore Silver Spring on Monday, March 2nd, 2015. To enter: just leave a comment on this post telling me the name of your favorite death metal band. At 5pm EST this Friday, February 27th, a winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries to win the tickets. Be sure to enter using a valid email you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that. If I haven’t heard back from the winner within 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. If you can’t wait to see if you win or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets from Live Nation for $35.50 here.

Last year Poland’s Behemoth put out one hell of a come back album with the release of The Satanist, quite an accomplishment considering, Nergal, the band’s mastermind, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010. After a successful bone marrow transplant he has recovered from cancer and is ready to bring his musical vision on The Satanist to stage for us. As if that wasn’t enough, the kings of gorey death metal, Cannibal Corpse, will be co-headlining this tour as they terrorize audiences (and stir up brutal mosh pits) with their songs about murder, zombies and violent torture. In addition to that we’ll also get the chance to see two up and coming death metal bands from Sweden as Aeon and Tribulation open up the show. That’s a ton of death metal for one bill, will you be able to survive? Be sure to check out these videos by each band below and tell me what your favorite death metal band is in the comments!

Behemoth – Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer

Cannibal Corpse – Kill Or Become

Aeon – Aeons Black

Tribulation – Apparitions

Review of Behemoth gig at Jaxx

So Friday the 8th of January 2010 I went to Jaxx in West Springfield, Virginia, to see the Polish blackened death metal band Behemoth play. Well, this was actually the first time I’d been to Jaxx since I saw God Dethroned play there back in October. A lot has changed with the look of the club since then, but I’ll get into that later, this is a review of the Behemoth concert after all.

I got there kind of late and didn’t get a chance to see any of the openers, Septic Flesh had just finished their set as I walked in the door. I’d have watched them play but really I’d have liked to see Shining, who was originally on the tour as well only to drop off due to visa complications. The parking lot was completely full and even the lot in front of the Giant across Old Keene Mill had a lot of cars parked in it for the show. Although it sucked parking so far away (the temp was in the lower 20s) it was good to see such a turn out for the show. The last few metal shows I’d been to at Jaxx didn’t have really big crowds. This night the entire club was pretty crowded, which made it kind of stuffy and hot with my coat on, but it was bearable and nowhere near as bad as that sold out Morbid Angel/Behemoth show in 2006 when the air conditioner didn’t work. After what seemed like a very long drum kit set up and sound check, the lights finally went down a few minutes after 11pm as Behemoth took the stage.

They came out onstage and the crowd was ready. People were excited as the band ripped through songs from Evangelion and Demigod. The last time I saw Behemoth play they were opening for Dimmu Borgir at the 9:30 Club and they didn’t play many songs from older albums, which is of course what I wanted to see. Not that I don’t enjoy their newer material, but I certainly prefer some of their older less polished sounding songs. Now I knew they wouldn’t play anything like Lazy Pomorza, but I was glad to hear them play 3 songs from the Satanica album (instead of just the staple Chant For Eschaton 2000). They only played 1 song from Thelema.6 though, Christians To The Lions. Regardless, the show was a pretty decent mix. Certainly more focused on more recent material but not completely forgetting their older songs either. One thing I wasn’t expecting was a killer (but short) drum solo by their drummer, Inferno. It only lasted about a minute but it was pretty impressive. They did do the generic encore thing, which was kind of weird since the back stage area is much more open now. Behemoth’s main man Nergal came out with some sort of Roman centurion looking wooden or metal (hard to tell in the lighting) mask as they played their final song of the night, Lucifer. Kind of strange I suppose but better than that weird ‘evil teddy bear’ mask he put on for the final song last time I saw them. The show ended about 15 minutes after midnight and people started filing out into the cold right after, though the merch stand was really busy for a while.

After the show I hung out a few minutes because I didn’t want to deal with the herd of people all heading out to the door at once. It gave me a good chance to check out some of the changes to the club’s interior. The walls have all been painted orange, though the ceiling is still black. They got rid of the bar on the side by the merch stand which opens up some more room for the under 21 people. The big black drapes that hid the backstage area from the audience have been completely removed, which really makes the room seem bigger. The raised bar area around the dance floor has had new railing put in that looks much nicer, though you can’t really notice it when it’s darker. It looks like the lighting rig has had an update too. There were some new lights that looked sort of like LEDs or something, as well as a couple things that looked like rotating balls of laser pointers (not too impressed with those, hope they didn’t cost much). The club certainly does not look like a hive of scum and villainy, and comes across much more welcoming, organized and professional looking. This change certainly helps the club move past being just a ‘metal club’ to a venue that can host concerts in several genres. A part of me wonders if they’re trying to phase out the metal all together, but I think if they get more head counts like this they won’t be phasing out the metal any time soon. The place has sure come a long way since the owner posted on their website about possibly trying to sell the place in January 2008.

Not everything was an improvement though. I don’t know if it had to do with changing the shape of the interior space or maybe just a bad ear during the sound check, but the audio mix during Behemoth’s set was terrible. The vocals kind of mushed into the midrange guitar parts and the high end tones were getting drowned out by the kick drums. It didn’t seem to me that any of the audio equipment had really changed, though I really don’t know for sure. Hopefully it was just a fluke as I’ll be back to Jaxx this Friday to see Pentagram and The Gates Of Slumber. Also, though the lighting seemed to be upgraded, it’s almost all backlighting. This makes it hard to see any of the band members (besides the drummer in the back) when the spotlight isn’t on them. As you can see in the video below, most of the time they just appear as silhouettes. The stage sure is lit up, but the band members aren’t (at least not on the side facing the crowd). Combined with the fog machine, it was starting to look like just a big blur of stage lights. I’ll be interested to see what the place looks like for Kreator in March as they bring some great stage lighting with them. Overall the changes aren’t bad at all, though I’m sure some of the more die hard metal heads who have been going there for a while will take some time getting used to it.