Slayer, Gojira, 4ARM, The Hollywood Palladium, October 28, 2013
The legendary Slayer was in the City Of Angels, performing two sold out shows at the Hollywood Palladium. Their first North American tour since the passing of guitarist Jeff Hanneman, the entire night would be a perfect salute to their metal brother in arms, as well as celebration of the past, present, and glorious future of the thrash metal genre. Thrilling the metal masses since 1981, Slayer 2013 remains a tremendous force of nature to be reckoned with, clearly demonstrating why they are one of the most influential bands on the planet today.
The support acts were impressive and garnered a good deal of audience praise, featuring the dark and skillful metal reveries of Gojira and the thrashing incantations of the up and coming 4ARM. As the crowds packed the Palladium out to the rafters for Slayer’s second night within the wilds of Hollywood, you could feel the anticipation in the air as we all awaited what was about to become the most ferocious metal show of 2013!
4ARM is a mighty thrash metal collective from Australia who has been making a HUGE impact here in the States and beyond. Their list of tours is absolutely staggering, as they have supported the likes of Metallica, Black Sabbath, Megadeth, Anthrax, Machine Head, and Testament. Now touring across the country on a five week trek with the iconic Slayer, 4ARM proved to be the perfect opening act, kicking off the evening on a wildly intensive note. Songs such as Raise A Fist, The Warning, and Spent And Bled clearly demonstrate a band writing the next epic chapter within the history of the thrash metal genre. The musicianship in the band is tremendously solid, featuring the participation of Danny Tomb on vocals and guitar, Michael Vafiotis on drums, Andy Hinterreiter on bass, and James Munro on guitar. A devastating commencement from a band that is clearly ready to take on the world by storm. Don’t be surprised to be seeing 4ARM headlining their own shows in the not too distant future.
The metal across the world theme would continue, this time with an appearance by Gojira from France. A notable act on their own right, Gojira supplied a dynamic to tour that was inspiring to behold. Adding a progressive element to the show, many in the audience were already familiar with Gojira’s exhilarating extreme metal artistry. Touring in support of their latest masterwork L’Enfant Sauvage on Roadrunner Records, Gojira filled the Palladium with their atmospheric wall of sound, and had many in the crowd mesmerizing by their technical prowess. One highlight of the show was when Gojira dedicated standout track The Heaviest Matter Of The Universe to Jeff Hanneman. Other songs performed in their set included Backbone, Flying Whales and the compelling title track to L’Enfant Sauvage. The Gojira lineup consists of Joe Duplantier on guitar and vocals, Mario Duplantier on drums, Christian Andreu on guitar, and Jean-Michel Labadie on bass. For a band to captivate the attention of fans awaiting the mighty Slayer is nothing short of a miracle, and Gojira pulled off the feat with a massive amount of intrigue and innovation.
The crowd went absolutely through the roof and the mosh pits were sent into overdrive when Slayer took to the stage and opened with the classic Hell Awaits. It was announced that the band would be performing their “Old School Slayer Night” set throughout the entire tour, and the crowd was more than ready for the sonic chaos that was about to ensue. Even the sacred photo pit in front of the stage was turned into a mosh pit as the crowd surfing over the security enforced walls was becoming pretty intense early on. The mayhem continued with The Antichrist, Necrophiliac, and Mandatory Suicide sending the throngs into a state of thrash metal bliss. It had been 25 years since Slayer official played the Hollywood Palladium, and this return was nothing short of an all-out triumph.
All members of Slayer were in top form! Bassist and lead vocalist Tom Araya performed with a remarkable energy and skill that musicians half his age only wish they could achiever. One could clearly see Araya was enjoying himself, smiling and totally interacting with the diehard Slayer fans. Guitarist Kerry King continues to prove why he is one of the genre greats, his trademark axe work and imposing stage presence leaving an indelible impression. Drummer Paul Bostaph unleashed a powerhouse performance, like a relentless machine on overdrive ready to possess your soul with its deadly precision. Famed Gary Holt from Exodus continues to fill in on guitar, lending his own amazing skills to the mighty Slayer legacy.
And the anthems from the past kept arriving in full force – War Ensemble, Seasons Of The Abyss, and Dead Skin Mask kept the room spinning into oblivion – showing just how effective and powerful these tunes remains even today. Raining Blood and Black Magic would close out the show, leaving the Slayer maniacs screaming the band’s name, wanting to hear a whole lot more. And Slayer were more than happy to oblige – first with an astounding rendition of their classic song South Of Heaven and then cementing it all into posterity with Angel Of Death. A banner saluting Jeff Hanneman was unfurled during the encore, making these two final songs a lasting testament to the memory of the illustrious musician and the boundless impact he continues to have on the world metal arena. And thus the audience was sent back out into the streets of a Hollywood night, screaming “SLAAAYYYEEERRR!” to all the inhabits along Sunset Blvd., possessed with lifetime memories of what was surely the most gripping metal event of 2013! Presented by Live Nation!!!
(Review by Ken Morton – Photos by Edward Brandon)