Concert review: Slayer

Slayer-2013-hi-copy-1-jpg

also appearing: Lamb of God, Anthrax, Behemoth, Testament
Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio – June 7, 2018

It can be distressingly easy to take Slayer for granted. Can be, has been, continues to be. The band is both force of nature and fact of life, and has stood a silent, menacing vigil as the unofficially understood gatekeeper of extreme metal for well over three decades. If ever a metal band this side of, let’s say, Black Sabbath, could be said to have projected a palpable aura, it was Slayer, though not quite in a way they probably ever intended, despite the over-the-top illustrated deviltry that, blaring from both their garish album artwork and overpriced t-shirts beyond count, is the hallmark of their image. I sometimes picture them – or, more to the point, bald, bearded, stern, stocky, tattooed and temperamental guitarist Kerry King – as bouncers at some dingy club, or as symbolic hired muscle working a neighborhood poker game made up of aspiring metal bands and fans – stentorian, intimidating, unbending – ensuring only the worthy are ever dealt in. Continue reading “Concert review: Slayer”

Concert review: Anthrax

Anthrax - 2015

Newport Music Hall, Columbus, OH – January 27, 2016

People enjoy and continually return to live music for myriad reasons: they love its immediacy, its intimacy, or, by contrast, they are overawed by spectacle, or love the near unmatchable feeling of being one among many, sometimes among thousands, united in a common passion. Some want to hear a recording they’ve always loved duplicated perfectly on stage, while some explicitly desire to see it taken in new and unexpected directions. Some thrive on the inherent intensity that happens whenever a band is operating in high gear. Some want to literally bounce off of every person they can, while others internalize the music and move in their own deliberate and inimitable ways. Underlying everything is the simultaneous sense of renewal and strengthening of an already powerful bond between artist and listener, quite likely forged far away from the stage, often under the most personal of circumstances. Continue reading “Concert review: Anthrax”