Slayer destroy Mayhem Fest with mix of old and new tracks
Many wondered if Slayer would be able to handle top-billing for the 2015 Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival this year. Whether the strength of their name proves strong enough to pull adequate crowds in terms of ticket sales remains to be seen, but their performance never came under question. On July 1, at The Ford Amphitheater in Nampa, the Slayer legend proved its mettle in spades.
With the band’s long-awaited twelfth studio album, Repentless, coming out later this summer, fans turned out for a heavy dose of classic Slayer and hopes to hear some new songs as well. Repentless marks the first album recorded with Exodus guitarist Gary Holt who has taken over for founding guitarist, Jeff Hanneman, who passed away in 2013. It also marks the return of drummer Paul Bostaph who last appeared on the band’s 2001 album, God Hates Us All. Repentless is scheduled for release on September 11; coincidentally the same date that God Hates Us All was released 14 years ago.
Slayer brought their unique brand of thrash in brutal fashion, opening with an intro of “Delusions of Saviour” before beginning the sonic bloodletting with of their new title track, “Repentless”. Flames shot up behind bassist and vocalist Tom Araya as he led the Mayhem congregation. Guitarist Kerry King held demonic court with his heavy riffs and imposing presence. The band treated the crowd to two more new tracks with “Implode”, released last year as a teaser, and “When the Stillness Comes”.
The quartet played only one track from the band’s previous album, 2009’s World Painted Blood, tuning up King’s “Hate Worldwide”. From Christ Illusion (2006) they ripped through “Jihad”, and from God Hates Us All the performed the Grammy-nominated, “Disciple”, as well as “God Send Death”.
The remainder of the set was classic, old school Slayer, churning out classics like “Dead Skin Mask”, “Chemical Warfare”, “Hell Awaits”, “South of Heaven”, “Raining Blood”, and “Angel of Death”. Deeper cuts included “Mandatory Suicide” and “Ghosts of War” from 1988’s South of Heaven album.
In all, Slayer fans had nothing to complain about. Hanneman and former drummer Dave Lombardo may be gone, but Slayer is larger and beastlier than the sum of its parts. The band delivered on every front in merciless, unapologetic form; remaining forever, repentless.
All photos © 2015 Katarzyna Cepek Photography or Suzette Mansfield @ Eyerock 2.
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