I have seen Slayer many times before this show (four to be exact) and to be honest, even though Slayer is pretty much my favorite band, I have not really been impressed with them as a live act. However, they had the balls to take out Killswitch Engage and Mastadon out with them for the fall edition of the Jagermeister tour… .and Houston, Texas was slated to have the Wall of Blood effect going down… … so I figured why not go check it out! That and a buddy on their crew put me on the guest list (Thanks brother Warren!) with ticket and an aftershow pass! Well after hanging out and talking to the Slayer and Mastodon guys, who were true blue professionals and signed all my gear, I decided to go claim my pass and ticket and check the show out. Of Course, the guest MC is the ever infamous Lizard Man, known for pulling all kinds of crazy stunts, like having people throw darts on his back and hammering nails into his nostrils (kid’s don’t try this at home)!
The local openers for tonight were a local rap rock band called Faceplant, and surprisingly didn’t get booed offstage and did a good job. They were even talking about doing a Dead Horse cover just for the Slayer crowd, but I don’t know if they did, I was too busy looking for people I knew! I do know they played their Cotton Eyed Joe song and surprisingly got a great reaction. Great to know, cause the local band that played 2 nights before Houston… ..actually got tons of full beer cups tossed at them, booed off stage, and then jumped after the show by the crowd. Mastadon were up next and did a good set, but not a great set like they are known for performing. The band opened with Iron Tusk and kind of just jammed from there! Such other notables were March of the Fire Ants and closer Iron Tusk. Crusher Destoryer was no where in the set, and in my opinion, the band should have hit the Slayer crowd hard and opened with that song. Killswitch Engage were up next and had Slayer’s crowd singing their songs with them. How crazy, has this ever happened haha? Killswitch Engage vocalist Howard Jones had the crown in his hands and was definitely in rare form. The band opened with A Bid Farwell and then launched into Numbered Days. When Darkness Falls, Breath Life, Fixation On The Darkness, The End Of Heartache, My Last Serenade were all showcased in this set with blistering intensity and soul-wrenching power! This set left my jaw on the floor! Top that Slayer!
Well Slayer did end owning the evening after all. Opening with Disciple and then launching into War Ensemble, this band never sounded better. Their playing was pretty much flawless, the sound was mixed perfectly, and the band was playing their music at full throttle! Of course the band played the favorites / regulars in their set like Mandatory Suicide, Die By The Sword, Dead Skin Mask, etc. The band hasn’t really mixed their music set or stage set-up much from the last three times I have seen them, but the excellent sound and playing more than made up for it. The only major changes were the backdrop for the cover art for Reign In Blood, used as the backdrop for the last 4 songs of the set were from that album, and of course the Wall of Blood effect during set closer Raining Blood! Amazing show overall. My only main complaint (not just for this show, but the last 3 Slayer shows as well): Nothing off Divine Intervention… .that album is amazing! Oh well, can’t argue about free – said Joshua V. on Dec 12, 2004