Slayer

support Megadeth
author MST date 21/03/11 venue Scandinavian Congress Center, Århus, DEN

Denmark is perhaps too small a country to expect a show by The Big Four, but on this spring Monday we were lucky enough to get half of them, namely Megadeth and Slayer. The venue was the Scandinavian Congress Center in Århus, and as the name implies, this did not seem like a typical music venue. The entrance was terribly small, there were people with tickets who stood in the line to buy tickets because there wasn't really any way of knowing which queue led where, and if you were lucky enough to talk to an employee (you had to get in first to get anywhere near them) they didn't really have any answers to your questions. So we (MH and I) got to the entrance to find out we had to go somewhere else to get our press passes. We finally got in an hour after the show was supposed to have started, and half of the queueing mob was still queueing. Luckily (sort of) Megadeth were even more delayed, and the show started an hour and fifteen minutes later than expected, which coincidentally seemed to be the time that everybody was inside.

Megadeth

Before I say anything about Megadeth's performance, a disclaimer on behalf of frontman Dave Mustaine's vocal performance and my perception of just that is in order. Let's start with the former: On March 18th, before Megadeth's gig in St. Petersburg, Russia, Dave Mustaine suddenly needed a doctor because of some extreme pain he was having. It turned out to be kidney stones, and Mustaine was told by the doctor to cancel the show. He decided to get on stage and play as much as he could for his fans, which summed up to an astounding 6 whole tracks in agonizing pain.

What does this have to do with anything? Well, whether the aforementioned incident, old age or nothing was the cause Dave definitely didn't sound right to me. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't all awful. His low and mid-scale notes sounded exactly like they should; the hoarse, often spoken vocals of Dave Mustaine are a trademark to Megadeth's sound. Unfortunately, the high notes that are widely featured especially in songs from the older records sounded awful. It was as if he was completely unable to hit them, and knew just that, so he tried some high-pitch clean singing which just sounded completely wrong and ruined the songs for me. Guitarist Chris Broderick helped out a lot on those high notes, but it just didn't salvage the musical experience.

Luckily, Dave Mustaine remains the guitar magician that he has always been. Apart from Mustaine's vocals, everything sounded exactly like it should. We were treated to a strong setlist that included songs spread out across their vast discography. I would've appreciated some songs from the "The System Has Failed" album, but there were classics like "Hangar 18" with its easily recognisable sing-along chorus, plentiful energy and awesome solos, the ballad "A Tout Le Monde" which also demanded Mustaine doing some high-pitch vocals, the fun live favorite "Sweating Bullets" and the last song and eternal classic "Symphony of Destruction". The band generally played one to three songs at a time, then took a small break in which Mustaine would switch to a different guitar (he played 4-5 different guitars during the show) and some crowd interaction in the form of little speaches would take place. Guitarist Chris Broderick and bassist David Ellefson are the action of Megadeth, because Dave more or less stands still through the entire gig. Broderick was all over the place and Ellefson often got the crowd cheering and shouting.

Before the band left the stage for good, it was time for an encore. Starting with "Peace Sells", the band got the audience going again. But it didn't stop there. Following "Peace Sells" was a rather special version of "Holy Wars... The Punishment Due" from the "Rust In Peace" album that concluded a good show. Mustaine's rather passive approach to playing live and the fact that his voice simply didn't work as it should makes me unable to call it any more than simply good though.

7

Setlist:

  • 1. Trust
  • 2. In My Darkest Hour
  • 3. Hangar 18
  • 4. Wake Up Dead
  • 5. Head Crusher
  • 6. A Tout Le Monde
  • 7. How the Story Ends
  • 8. She-Wolf
  • 9. Poison Was the Cure
  • 10. Angry Again
  • 11. Sweating Bullets
  • 12. Symphony of Destruction
  • --Encore--
  • 13. Peace Sells
  • 14. Holy Wars... The Punishment Due/Mechanix

Slayer

And then came Slayer. Starting with the titletrack to their last album "World Painted Blood", Slayer immediately kicked everything to shreds with a fierce amount of energy and an awe-inspiring confidence on stage. Tom Araya's vocals were superb, Kerry King was a god on the axe and looked like a homicidal maniac throughout the set and Exodus guitarist Gary Holt did a very good job filling in for Jeff Hannemann who is recovering from having contracted a dangerous disease that required acute surgery. There were some tiny problems with the sound though: it sounded as if the two guitarists had been assigned to a set of speakers each. This meant that where I was standing, I was almost unable to hear King's riffs when Holt was playing a solo.

But apart from that little minus, Slayer's performance was a demonstration of power. There were a lot less breaks than Megadeth had, and the crowd went berserk to Slayer's moshpit-friendly tunes. The setlist pretty much just consisted of their legendary albums from 1983-1990 and their 2009 effort and a little surprise. Following "World Painted Blood" was "Hate Worldwide" from the same album, and then we took a trip twenty years back to the albums called "Show No Mercy", "Reign In Blood", "South Of Heaven" and "Seasons In The Abyss". Apart from these old albums and their last record, only one more song was played: the excellent "Payback" from 2001's "God Hates Us All". This is an extremely fast song, both musically and lyrically, and the band played it almost flawlessly, which resulted in a crowd that went completely mental.

The show was finished off by an encore of ancient legends: the band came back on stage to the sound of the intro to "Raining Blood" and tore the place up. The song prematurely (and sadly) ended too early, replacing the ending solo with the second encore track "Black Magic" from the band's 1983 debut "Show No Mercy". The final song of the show was, naturally, "Angel Of Death". Judging by the amount of lunacy in the moshpit during that final song, the crowd was ready for more, but "Angel Of Death" finally ended an excellent show that left no necks unharmed. And to our danish readers: Spil noget med Slayer!

Setlist:

  • 1. World Painted Blood
  • 2. Hate Worldwide
  • 3. War Ensemble
  • 4. Postmortem
  • 5. Temptation
  • 6. Dead Skin Mask
  • 7. Silent Scream
  • 8. The Antichrist
  • 9. Americon
  • 10. Payback
  • 11. Seasons in the Abyss
  • 12. Snuff
  • 13. South of Heaven
  • --Encore--
  • 14. Raining Blood
  • 15. Black Magic
  • 16. Angel of Death

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