Published Aug 11, 2014Slayer are now an impossible band to review. The high priests of American thrash occupy an unfuckwithable position in the minds and hearts of metal fans all over the world; screaming "SLAYER" at a fellow metal head is a universal greeting. But, what we have left of Slayer, as a functioning band, is becoming thin. Since the death of Jeff Hanneman and the departure of Dave Lombardo, the core identity of the group has been shaken, and a lot of the raw energy, the danger, has gone out of their set.
There is still no question, as was evident during this performance, that they are absolute masters of their instruments and aesthetic, but there was a distinct disconnect between the rabid love and ferocious adoration that the huge, roiling audience was throwing off and the weary control of the energy emanating from the stage. There were a few great moments, like when from under the blistering white light of a spotlight that drew a swarm of summer night insects, Tom Araya noted that he was one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, and brought Pestilence with him. But even these few shiver-inducing instances, and the pit's ravenous love, couldn't quite obscure the feeling that a light was going out.