Slayer: Academy, Manchester

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Slayer make their much-anticipated return to Manchester, Getintothis’ Danny Keightley reports on 90 minutes of cataclysmic, sweat-inducing riffing.


It’s very difficult to criticise Slayer, and very easy to praise them, since they stapled themselves in the ‘big four’ with compadres: Metallica, Anthrax and Megadeth in the early 80s – same as it is similarly easy to praise, and difficult to criticise their headlining set at Manchester Academy.
Supported by Swedish metallers, The Haunted, who whet the crowd’s appetite for sonic violence with an impressive drive of booming, hardcore thrash, as the monstrous Peter Dolving towers over the first few rows with his fists raised high in the air, yet there’s hardly any movement from the droves of anticipatory metal-heads who await Slayer with similarly clenched fists.
It’s actually been an unfortunate fortnight for metal; but a fortunate one for Slayer frontman, Tom Araya who (midway through the set) reveals the scar on his back from the surgery that’s prevented him and his boys from reaching UK shores for quite a while now.
As a result of this prolonged period of time without the metal veterans, the UK has been awaiting Slayer with devil horns thrust into the sky, and the ear-splitting chants for chaos – ‘SLAY-AH! SLAY-AH‘ which, reverberate around the room on several anticlimactic occasions before Slayer shuffle on stage, proud, tall, with Araya beaming a smile that hardly leaves his grizzled face the whole night.
The room is full of Kerry King lookalikes, tribal tattooed men in sweaty black vests, camouflage pants, and the kind of girls you don’t want to honk your horn at on a dark night.
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While it’s evident their energy on stage has diminished over the years – King seems mainly to show off a few gnarly glares to the audience and bob his head repeatedly, and Hanneman is a stagnant figure with a face almost concealed by hair – and while their backdrop; displaying their previous album covers, convulsing eyelids, and looped footage of frantic cells is borderline tasteless, Slayer live up to every expectation they’ve ever set, from the opening notes of World Painted Blood and the 90 minutes of cataclysmic, sweat-inducing riffing that follow until Slayer’s anthem and final offering Angel of Death in which the crowd overpower Araya with moshpit karaoke, as tumbling, half naked men rolling off each other into the barriers: Slayer are back, and hopefully here to stay.
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Pictures courtesy of Sakura Zilla.

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