A lengthy queue has formed after our arrival, and swiftly grows out of sight around the corner, demonstrating that Slayers near thirty year history has diluted their appeal not one jot. This is clearly going to be quite some gig.
The Haunted
As with other recent Saturday gigs at this venue, the moment the doors are open, the support band is thrust blinking onto the stage. At what must feel an appallingly early time of day, with the vast majority of the audience absent from the hall until the set is finished, The Haunted, struggle manfully with room acoustics that prove to be highly destructive to their sound. Singer Peter Dolving’s lyrics become largely unintelligible the (insert adjective) guitars suffer too. Despite this, they have fans present, and by the end of their set in some number and a growing enthusiastic pit warms up for the main attraction. I get the feeling that these guys are defeated here by the room itself. I want to hear them again and hear them as they mean themselves to be heard.
Slayer take the stage and an audience that now pack the room to capacity roar in approval. The room that had seemed slightly subdued and thinly populated for much of the Haunteds’ set has changed character and the cheering throng greet the title song of World Painted Blood with enthusiasm. Slayer are immediately into their stride, the acoustics that did for the Haunted clearly not a problem.
Araya and Lombardo locked together powering along almost as one, the mighty rhythm section making the building rumble like an earth tremor (causing a funky little tsunami in our drinks glasses) whilst Hanneman and King trade guitar licks with the speed and aggression that defined the thrash metal style and have maintained their appeal across nearly thirty years. Moving a little carefully at times and minus the head banging Araya is happy, enthusiastic, and playing the way he always has. The feel of this gig defies the raw aggression of the music. It’s a celebration, a victorious meeting of old friends and new. It is reassuring to note the induction of a fresh young generation into the Slayer fold as parents have brought their teenage kids to this baptism of metal mayhem.
The old favourites starting with Expendable Youth are pounded out, and the audience shifts gear, wilder, more approving, more energetic. Both temperature and humidity rocket as the set blasts on juggernaut-like to the point that a goodly chunk of Birmingham could be powered by the sheer enthusiasm of this crowd. The air con is outmatched tonight. The pit that started out with such ferocity spending fifty per cent of the gig in mid air has beggared belief throughout. How in the name of all that’s unholy is this possible? The Slayer effect makes a mockery of gravity and thermodynamics tonight.
Before we know it, we are into the encore, and eventually Angel of Death. The cheering goes on, but the room has to be emptied. Standing outside in the street, steaming gently from our exertions and reflecting, Slayer still have it. Still the most aggressive, heavy, brutal ticket on the block, and the ability to make two hours seem like five minutes. They’ve overcome the acoustics of the room, Tom has clearly overcome the pain and discomfort of his recent surgery and as a band, lived up to the expectations of everyone present and reminded them of this bands pre-eminence. In a word – Awesome. Metallica…? Overpaid and over rated.
Review by Andy Enderby
Photography by Gobinder Jhitta

4 Responses to “Slayer + The Haunted @ O2 Academy Birmingham, UK – 29th May 2010”

  1. Wayne Fox Says:

    These are BY FAR some of the SICKEST gig photos I have ever seen.
    I am not worthy!

  2. Bianca Says:

    Ditto! Freakin’ awesome Gobinder!

  3. Gobi Says:

    Cheers Wayne!!! Your photos kick ass too mate, im looking forward to the next ones :)

  4. Gobi Says:

    & Cheers to you too Bianca :) Its nice to get such great comments from such an awesome photographer!

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