Copenhell - 2012

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Good old Slayer was the first headliner of Copenhell anno 2012, a safe bet maybe, but certainly also a popular one.

“Do you enjoy your freedom?”
- Tom Araya (bass/vocals)

The answer to this comment was not surprisingly a loud cheer, upon which Araya turned more serious and said that freedom is a pretty expensive thing, and used this little exchange as an intro for Mandatory Suicide. But this wasn’t until some way into the set, and we are getting ahead of ourselves…
In the beginning, there was an intro to which the members could walk on to the stage, before launching into South Of Heaven. Jeff Hanneman was still sitting touring out due to the long time recovery needed for his arm, and once again we saw Gary Holt (Exodus) replace him on guitars, something that hasn’t exactly hurt the bands performances in the past.
Well, what can be said about Slayer that hasn’t been said a million and more times already? The band was going from one song to the other in a rather typical best of set which they are known to do, and Araya was happy to speak between songs. Performance-ways it was once again Holt that kept the flag high, but he was actually given good competition from Kerry King; it was as if the new blood injection with Holt had sparked some much needed new life into the old thrash machine.

As the band was giving a good, although run-of-the-mill concert, the real treat here was the festival audience! Beers were still running cold (we were later told that we had drunk 20000 litres of beer on the first day alone), and everyone was in a fantastic mood (did I mention 20000 litres of beer).
Shouting, headbanging and swinging arms with raised devil horns was the main dish of the day, but that didn’t hold people back from also getting into some good old mosh and crowd-surfing action. It’s really hard, not to say impossible, to pick out any fan-favourites in the nights set, as they were more or less all fan-favourites, but of course people do tend to give it up just a little extra for songs such as Angel Of Death and Raining Blood. Apart from those, Seasons In The Abyss also saw a great deal of headbanging going on, more so even than in many of the other songs, and Dead Skin Mask is, even after so many listens, still a favourite of mine when it comes to Slayer.

In all honesty though, you can’t say with a straight face that this was very good. What it was, was a show where almost everyone in a very diverse metal audience can agree on the lyrics and the need to shout along to each and every word. This is what made Slayer good, not the performance of the band, but the performance of the audience. A safe bet that paid off in crowd-pleasing.

Setlist (incomplete):

South Of Heaven
World Painted Blood
War Ensemble
Mandatory Suicide
Seasons In The Abyss
Angel Of Death
Dead Skin Mask
Raining Blood

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