Concert review: Slayer

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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”

Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister: An Appreciation

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I foolishly tasked myself with the impossible, to attempt to sum up Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister for posterity. My head was spinning at the news of his sudden loss – at the age of seventy following a very public year in precisely the wrong sort of spotlight, and a late cancer diagnosis kept sensibly private from everyone but those who most needed to know – and the tears were still uncomfortably fresh. If the world this morning after is full of shocked music fans who surely felt themselves existing on an intimate, “need to know” basis nevertheless, that only serves as another bit of evidence of how far the man’s reach extended and how deeply his impact was felt. Ian Fraser “Lemmy” Kilmister was so many different things to a sneaky large segment of the music-going public: a figurehead, a fountainhead, a guru, a gadfly, a hedonist, an evangelist, a hellraiser, a barnburner, a stoic professional and rock and roll raconteur all rolled into one, with countless miles of astonishing history behind him and a cheering crowd before him each and every night. Continue reading “Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister: An Appreciation”