Metalcamp - 2011

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Using Slayer as a headliner felt like a safe choice, as they are mighty popular and you know exactly what to expect. If anything, this band is predictable, yet still I went up to see them as they, well, they are Slayer. I mean, you can’t compete with that when it comes to famous metal bands!

As was expected, I wasn’t the only one at the show; in fact, I do believe this was the biggest gathering of people I had seen so far at the entire festival! Maybe business as usual for a band like Slayer, but I was still impressed by the big turnout.
Not only was the crowd a large one, it was also fittingly wild to behold; everywhere there was thrashing and moshing going on, and headbanging was at its peak for the day! Now, anyone who has visited a Slayer concert (and by this time, who hasn’t?) knows that this is what you get at these occasions, there’s nothing new about that. However, there were of course also the people who had come to the show to have a good laugh, like the guy who had written ”Kerry I’m pregnant” on a big sign, and crowdsurfing towards the stage was also what I first thought was a large inflatable boat, but as it came closer I saw was in fact an inflatable bath, complete with a palm tree and everything! The guards had their work cut out for them as they tried to rid this of the crowd and then make it disappear (yeah, right) beside the stage...

There was one thing which really caught me with my pants down however, figuratively speaking of course, and this was the change in the line-up. Sure, I had read earlier on somewhere on the internet that Jeff Hanneman would be absent due to a medical condition (he had contracted the flesh-eating disease allegedly from a spider bite), but I didn’t think this would affect the show in any particular way; after all, they had found a stand-in in Gary Holt of Exodus so the sound wouldn’t be any different, and to be honest, Hanneman has never done anything to heighten the live-experience either.
I have seen Exodus live as well, quite recently actually, but it didn’t really hit home with me so I wasn’t really expecting all that much from Mr. Holt either, but man was I mistaken! To put it short, Holt kicked ass!
Honestly, I have never seen such a lively Slayer gig such as this, and it was all at the hands of Holt; he even managed to make the rest of the band look more alive. King tried hard to keep up, and even though he didn’t quite reach it, he was still far more animated than he has been for the last many times I have seen the band.

The production value of this show also seemed a bit higher than the average show at the festival, what with the lights and sound being just that more worked out. The one thing missing a lot of the time was good front-lights, but on the other hand they had a little fun with the colours during Raining Blood; when Tom Araya sang the line ”The sky is turning red”, well so did the lights. All of them. Quite fitting actually, and a simple yet nice touch.
During the end of this song another surprising event took place, although a rather short one; a man, highly likely a crowd-surfer, rushed the stage, and actually made it all the way up before he was quickly taken care of by the guards! He was probably just out to have some fun, but on the other hand you never know when you have a new ’Dimebag’ Darrell situation on your hands...
When the final song had rung out, Araya said thank you and good night, which were basically the first words he had uttered during the entire show. Even so, the band members seemed to enjoy the response they were given, and there seemed to be no end to things they threw out for the hungry fans; Araya even made a little videoclip of us with his iPhone!

Thanks to Gary Holt (and a couple of beers), this show went far above and beyond anything I had imagined from a Slayer concert.
I know I will probably be stoned to death for this by all of the ’true’ fans out there, but I say good riddance to Hanneman, and for God’s sake keep Holt in the band!

Setlist (incomplete):

World Painted Blood
War Ensemble
Stain Of Mind
Dead Skin Mask
Hallowed Point
The Antichrist
Mandatory Suicide
Chemical Warfare
Seasons In The Abyss
South Of Heaven
Raining Blood
Angel Of Death

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