The most compelling work of the year was in doom metal, for the most part. From Electric Wizard to Yob to Castle and Witch Mountain the playing field was mostly ruled by thunderous, brontosaurus footprint sized-Sabbathian black worship, with the exception of Ex-Trouble singer Eric Wagner’s White Metal doomers The Skull (who nonetheless bettered most of the competition anyway). That said, thrash held down the legacy (Testament pun intended) of the genre well. It was a banner year for thrash, one of the best in memory. From Shrapnel’s charged The Virus Conspiracies to Iron Reagan and Hammercult to Exodus’ frenetic and feral reunion with Steve Souza (and Kirk Hammett, for that matter) there was much to get whiplash over.
The most anticipated thrash tour of the year was Slayer‘s return Stateside with Exodus and Suicidal in tow. The Albany, NY date at the Washington Avenue Armory was no let down, a high energy mug fest that made you remember all the reasons why you fell in love with these bands in the first place. It was a communal strafing air blood raid but instead of a Copter or drone strike it was riff after riff falling like hail.
Click HERE for the review…SLAYYYERRR!!!
Exodus were in fine form, Steve seeming really happy to be back amongst the ranks of a band he had so many classic thrash releases with. Gary and Steve on stage was pretty awesome to see, with new stuff fitting in well with the obligatory yet still so crucially awesome “Toxic Waltz”.
Suicidal Tendencies were as billigerent and yet unifying as they have always been, the crowd going nuts when they played. “You Can’t Bring Me Down” had people bouncing off of each other as the bassline grooved so hard. Mike Muir hyped up the crowd with “you can do it” speeches and you couldn’t help but feel all the history between the bands. Any self-respecting metal fan has to be a real cynic to not still appreciate these bands.
Slayer flipped crosses and fingers to naysayers, shredding through a high octane set pretty remarkable for dudes their age. There is still a reason for Slayer and the songs speak for themselves.The spectre of Hanneman and the abscence of Dave Lombardo couldn’t help but be noted, as both have been such a part of Slayer history. Nonetheless, the Holt and Bostoph power was just as vital, lending serious attack to a teeth shattering “Hate World Wide” and the classic hellish anger of “War Ensemble”, the latter of which has lost none of the ferocity it has always had (even amongst Slayer’s vast songbook).
I Look forward to the future of these bands (especially more Slayer/Terry Date collaboration).Let’s look at these 11/25/14 Matt Slater photos and celebrate the long past of thrash ambition in these band’s combined wakes.