Hordern Pavilion, Sydney; 17th April 2007
Slayer have finally returned to our shores touring Australia as part of their Christ Illusion World Tour together with Mastodon and very special guests Mortal Sin as Sydney support. For Mortal Sin this success comes of after their more than successful mini tour of Europe and Wacken Open Air appearances last year as well as most recently being one of the headlining acts at this years Aussie Metal Stock Festival which packed 30 other local talents over 3 days and 3 nights of metal. Slayer however have been touring now for months across South and Central America, Europe and will continue on in Europe again after the completion of Australasian tour in April. The Sydney show was completely sold out and expectations ran high among everyone.
Shortly after work I meet up with mates Gavin and Chris at Bar Broadway in the city for a quick round of booze and reflections. As soon as our other mates Oliver and Sem arrived, we were ready to roll out. Having known that Mortal Sin were a very late addition to the line-up, 7:30pm start, we wasted no time and with Oliver`s help drove to Fox Studios which is a rather glamorous location near the venue. Glamorous most other days, but today it was all about underground and heavy music as darkness descended. It was a magnificent site, metalheads poring in from all corners, most of whom had Slaytanic t-shirts and denim jackets on. Local people who dressed trendy obviously picked a wrong night to be out and about as they could not go anywhere without being surrounded by black and for them it must have looked like something horrific was about to go down, to them or to their precious spot. Little do those ignorant fools know (proven fact), most of us are not violent people yet those communities tend to interpret us as being dangerous to most. Since Oliver knew the area all too well, he very quickly found free parking near by, six minute walk from Hordern Pavilion, which was the sold out 5500 capacity house of tonight`s concert. We had to say goodbye to cheaper alcohol as the outside two pubs were extremely packed so after a short wait in line we entered Hordern Pavilion to check out the atmosphere inside the gates.
After being checked for weapons and the like, we walked in and found ourselves standing in another line, this time for the ice cold beer which was being sold for about $5ea at the time by big boob blonde working there. Not long after, we heard what seemed to us to be a burst of very loud bangs coming from the inside speakers of the venue so we had to quickly tip our drinks into plastic glasses provided by this rather large (or is that fat?) security guard as we rushed in to find Mortal Sin already playing one of their new songs, Tears of Redemption. Crowd numbers were relatively big for an opening band who were only recently added to the bill not 20 mere days before the night, showing us just how big and respected the band was among the local community (and Australian scene has got many of them in all genres of metal). This proves to me that if Mortal Sin played larger gigs, they would have no trouble filling out venues. It was definitely cool to enter the huge arena and not see one nor the other end, even with lesser numbers of patrons in. Mortal Sin were told to keep their set to about half hour so they certainly made most of it playing two of their best known classics in quick rapid bursts after the new song to a very pleased audience including some of our mates who hadn`t seen them play before. I am Immortal and Mayhemic Destruction set the tone for the night!
As always, Mat`s vocals were delivered with as much energy and conviction as we have come to expect from the Sinners. He was pleased to introduce the line-up for everyone saying how they were extremely honoured to be playing alongside Mastodon, and opening for Slayer on the night and that their long awaited album "An Absence Of Faith" will be in all our hands in May! At that point, a mate Gavin pointed out to me how he strongly felt that Mat had an English accent which was brilliant.
Attributing to the brilliant performance were the very impressive Nathan Shae on guitars and the unstoppable Luke Cook on drums. Luke is a never tiring hard working brutality machine, and with his black death metal background adds that old-school feel to the band. Nathan was quite impressive with his axe, shredding with speed and accuracy nicely complementing the lead guitarist Mick Sultana (formerly of 80s thrashers Addictive) who sure knows how to play with great precision. There has been a definite improvement in the Mortal Sin`s current sound, thanks to Nathan and Luke and they are once again firmly bound for the thrashy range of the metal music spectrum. Among the band Andy has the most stage presence as experience shows, and plays his bass with absolute passion trying to get fans involved at every chance. His stage actions are very animated and he definitely adds the fun element to the bands onstage theatrics together with singer Mat. Well done guys, you`ve made us all very proud!
Tears of Redemption
I am Immortal
We returned to our drinking positions outside and waited very patiently, almost as if we cared too little for the next band Mastodon to come out. This opinion was shared by all of us but our mate Chris, as he was anticipating the gig with awe and great enthusiasm. Again, time was not wasted and very, very shortly Mastodon came out and we again had to go in, this time walking instead of running and greatly caring for our beers not to spill a drop.
Mastodon on stage looked quite professional and it is my understanding that they delivered solos quite well but overall their groove metal sound just wasn`t right for mine or my friends` tastes so after their first couple of songs all of us escaped outside to chat with others eagerly awaiting the main headliners, Slayer! As we walked out we ran into Amanda near the merch stand, who was as frantic in person (although when I met her the first time, she was more calm and collected) as is on MySpace with all her bulletins and quizzes, frantic mainly due to the fact she was pumped up for Slayer and quite possibly because of alcohol consumption. We took a few snaps together and parted ways. I`d rather not see the end results.
Outside were also guys from Mortal Sin, so respectfully I walked toward and said hi to Mat, Luke and Liz. Mat has been handing out FREE CD promotion flyers for their upcoming album "An Absence Of Faith", so if you order it online you will receive a free official live bootleg CD "Mortal thrashing Mad". Order will eventually expire so head on to MortalSin.Com.Au and get your free shit! For those unable to order online will wait for their release dates in May. I will have my copies sent to me, as Mat promised. Nothing personal, just work related I guess. Perhaps a t-shirt or two and some dirty magazines…
Wolf is Loose
I Am Ahab
Circle of Cysquatch
March of the Fire Ants
Colony of Birchmen
Blood And Thunder
Photos courtesy of Annelise Maurer aka Lilith - MySpace.com/HouseOfLilith
The break between Mastodon and Slayer was a mere 25 minutes, again bloody quick. In comparison break between Dungeon and Megadeth was about 50 minutes. I wonder what will be a break time between Axl Rose and his ego?! Ahh that`s right, the tour got cancelled, well fuck you Axl. We couldn`t find Chris even after multiple rings so had no choice but to see Slayer without him. This is HailMetal.Com`s second Slayer review, first one having been written by our new staff member Slaytanic who was in Guadalajara, Mexico on the 22nd of September 2006 supporting the band at the time. That was Slayers first show in Mexico since 1994 so it was definitely an historic moment for everyone over there. You can read the review and check out photos and setlist at this location.
Although Hordern Pavillion looked to be totally packed, it was confirmable, i.e. not squishy. The venue was sold out no question there so you had to fight your way if you were to find a good position further up front from where to see the band well. The aircon was working extremely well so we were all happy. Luckily for us concert experience helped us find spots with acceptable visibility as I led the pack. Slayer took us not far back in time as they opened with Disciple of God Hates Us All. Kerry Kings tattoos were killer (even Michael Scofield of Prison Break would be impressed) and matched a pattern of his guitar art very well. Ironically the tattoo God Hates Us All on his left arm looked very appropriate for the moment even though I believed Chemical Warfare would have been a better opener (certainly looking at the drumming performance). Jihad (Oliver thought the new song live was a big shocker) and War Ensemble followed soon after and that`s more or less when the crowd started to get into it, feeling classic material was to come. The riff in War Ensemble was very precise and Tom`s scream was heard all the way across the street. Behind the band the video projections were a good touch, showcasing all kinds of images and some cool band logos, skulls and what not, even showed the footage of the official video for the song Eyes Of The Insane (which won `em a Grammy) as the band simultaneously played it which was received positively by most. Captor Of Sin was alright as well but personally the show was standard til the band got up to Mandatory Suicide and Seasons In The Abyss and beyond.
From that moment on, the intros, riffs and solos sounded fresher for each of the following songs the band played including Dead Skin Mask, Raining Blood, South of Heaven and of course the Angel Of Death, Monarch to the kingdom of the dead, Infamous butcher, ANGEL OF DEAAAAAAAAAAAAATH! The place literally erupted. My mate Gavin was drumming on my back to every drum kick, which did hurt, yes. I did not oppose it, Gavin will be Gavin. The band left the stage number of times before playing some of those songs but very quickly returned so at the end there was no encore, the house lights came on and everyone was on their way out pissed off somewhat. I guess the band felt they didn`t need to play anything further. The show itself lasted for about one hour and forty minutes. For me one great disappointment was that the band did not play Hell Awaits, the intro itself is very hypnotic. It was a decent setlist but would have thought the band would opt playing most of their earlier material for an audience of 5500 that hasn`t seen them play live in a long time and probably wont see for as long, instead they played virtually what they had all thought-out the recent world tour.
Overall an enjoyable Tuesday night, well worth the money for all patrons. For those who were unable to see the band live or will not in near future, look out for their live DVD `Unholy Alliance` which was filmed only last year in Vancouver and features performances of both Slayer and Mastodon. We were blasting Vader tunes as Oliver gave us all a ride to Central Station where we parted our ways.
Die By The Sword
Show no Mercy
Captor of Sin
Seasons In The Abyss
Dead Skin Mask
South of Heaven
Angel Of Death