Slayer Make New York City Return with Gojira and 4arm
After a 25 years absence, Slayer returned to New York City’s Madison Square Garden, playing The Theater on a frigid Thanksgiving Eve. The packed house of metalheads were clearly thankful to see these metal icons along with future legends Gojira and supporting band 4ARM.
With the passing of guitarist Jeff Hanneman, the night had a bittersweet feel to it. We all remembered and banged our skulls to the legendary riffs he provided throughout his years in Slayer. Legendary Exodus guitarist Gary Holt couldn’t have been a better fit to honor the deafening guitar melodies that we all know and love.
With Dave Lombardo no longer behind the drum kit, former Slayer percussionist Paul Bostaph stepped in. Bostaph showed true force behind the skins and the pummeling vibrations could be heard and felt throughout the venue.
Vocalist and bassist Tom Araya graced the stage looking like a heavy metal Santa as he belted out old favorites such as ‘Hell Awaits,’ ‘Necrophillac,’ ‘Altar of Sacrifice’’ and numerous others which got multiple pits erupting.
Guitar icon Kerry King provided blistering riffs that left ears ringing (likely until late December when you break out your Slayer Christmas sweater). It was a true treat for thrash diehards, to have King and Holt share the stage together. Even Testament guitarist Alex Skolnick was spotted in the crowd rocking out to the amazing guitar work.
Fans were on their feet throughout the entire set and lost their minds as when ‘Seasons in the Abyss’ began. The crowd sang in unison: “Close your eyes / Look deep in your soul / Step outside yourself/ And let your mind go / Frozen eyes stare deep in your mind as you die / Close your eyes / And forget your name / Step outside yourself / And let your thoughts drain / As you go insane / Go insane!"
Fans on the floor completely obliterated the foundation of the theater during the classic ‘Raining Blood.’ After which, a tribute background to Hanneman served as a backdrop for the closing stages of the set that included ‘Black Magic’ and ‘South of Heaven.’ The night aptly ended with the unrelenting sounds, piercing riffs and burning shrills of the infamous ‘Angel of Death.’
As for the rest of the night, supporting French metal outfit Gojira showed why they are one of the best metal bands out there today. To experience the band live is to experience raw and wild energy. At the beginning of their set, Joe Duplantier's trance-like state felt like the calm before the storm as he unleashed: "Jealously will crush you to the bones / Unless you open up and let it go!" as fans moshed to 'Explosia.'
Gojira provided mind-numbing force and infectious sounds throughout. Not to mention drummer Mario Duplantier was something beyond human while pounding away on the drums. Gojira are headliners in their own right and will be headlining the Theater at MSG soon enough.
Australian thrash metal band 4ARM kicked off the epic night with heavy riffs of their own. It’s evident from their pounding set that they are heavily influenced by Slayer. The band has been touring in support of their latest release ‘Submission for Liberty.'
When Slayer first announced their North American tour dates, Araya stated, “We're going to give the fans what amounts to decades of aggression," and with support from Gojira and 4ARM they sure as hell did.
See Slayer, Gojira + 4ARM at the Theater at MSG in NYC: