If you’re an Irish metal fan, you can be forgiven for thinking SLAYER are the only metal band in the entire world these days. After all, the group has performed here six times in the last year and there’s still tonight’s sold out Academy show to go. While other major metal bands appear to have shrugged off Ireland on their outings over the past few years – SLAYER have been coming back again and again to assault the holy hell out of us and up mid-week drink sales by 12.7% for the entire year. That’s impressive when you consider we live in Ireland.
Tonight’s crowd know the deal. People hang back around Fibbers, Gypsy Rose and the bars around Abbey Street. There’s no rush – no support so nothing to do but relax and avoid the possible elevator pong music that was forced upon us last year. By ten to nine however - the bars have deserted, the Academy is rammed and the familiar opening hiss of ‘Hell Awaits’ from Decade.. comes sneering over the PA.
No sooner or Slayer on that it seems they’re half way into their set. ‘The Antichrist’, ‘Necrophiliac’ and ‘Mandatory Suicide’ just explode out at furious (my favourite Slayer word) speed and power. Tom gleams at the audience, nodding his approval and waits for the roars to calm down before thanking us for showing up and kicking off ‘War Ensemble’ followed by ‘Disciple‘, ‘Post-mortem’ and ‘Hate Worldwide’.
The set is incredible – almost like it’s been handpicked by fans and Slayer sound as fast, filthy and furious as ever before. ‘At Dawn They Sleep’, ‘Die By the Sword’ and ‘Spirit in Black’ pave the way for new tune, ‘Implode‘, to fight it’s corner for a regular space on Slayer’s set. As the end starts to creep nearer, Slayer start whipping out fan favourites and Tom leaves the choruses to the crowd as we begin to drown out the PA. ‘Seasons In The Abyss’ and ‘Dead Skin Mask’ follow before the band finish their main set with ‘Raining Blood’ and ‘Black Magic’.
As with last year, the giant Hanneman banner drops and Slayer return to finish the night with ‘South of Heaven’ and ‘Angel of Death’. Slayer may have lost Jeff, the legend behind many of their most loved songs. They may also have fallen out with Dave - their founding member, drumming legend! But Gary Holt and Paul Bostaph fill those spots nicely tonight, as with last year and Tom and Kerry are still bad ass motherfuckers. Slayer are proving with every show that nothing can stop them and hopefully we’ll hear some more music from the current line-up in the near future. Failing that, we’ll probably see them again next year in the Academy – hopefully!