(Photo by Robin Pullman)
MONTCLAIR, NJ—Thrash legends Slayer performed an aggressive set with some incredible support from Suicidal Tendencies and Exodus at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, NJ on Nov. 29, 2014. The thing that absolutely floored me the most was simply seeing Steve Zetro fronting Exodus for the first time in 10 years. With Suicidal Tendencies, what stood out the most were the really uplifting and intense speeches given by frontman Mike Muir.
The night began with the song “Black 13” blasting really hard from the new Exodus album, Blood In, Blood Out. Then came “Blood In, Blood Out,” and Zetro shouted to the crowd, “Put your fucking horns in the air.” Hearing Zetro scream, “Murder in the front row!” from the track “Bonded By Blood” was tremendously exciting to hear, and the song was received quite well.
During the song “Toxic Waltz,” the first circle pit of the night opened up, and Zetro exclaimed, “Better bring your dancing shoes.” Zetro and the audience were trading off singing different verses for the song. The final song Exodus played was “Strike Of The Beast,” and there was a strange uneasiness in the air. Then Gary Holt did his solo and that was the end of the set. I mean, 35 minutes with Zetro back in Exodus totally leaves you craving for more.
Suicidal Tendencies began their set with the screams of, “Make some fucking noise!” For the first song, Suicidal Tendencies played “You Can’t Bring Me Down” from Lights…Camera… Revolution! and really erupted hard with Cyco Mike going off with numerous chants from the crowd. During the show, Mike was going on about different topics, and said things like, “Your mind, your soul, until you find something that moves you, your family…” Cyco Mike had some of the best on stage dialogue I have seen in quite some time at a show. The second to last song was “Pyschovision,” which had a phenomenal pit going, and Cyco Mike said, “When you get knocked down, you get your ass back up.” That was followed by “Pledge Your Allegiance” from 1988’s How Will I Laugh Tomorrow When I Can’t Even Smile Today. Drummer Eric Moore had pulled out one of his drums and was banging on it at the end of Suicidal Tendencies’ set.
Slayer played a setlist that was concentrated very heavily around their early catalogue from Show No Mercy to Seasons In The Abyss. There were only five songs picked from releases that were post-2000, which were “Disciple” from 2001’s God Hates Us All, and four songs from their latest release, World Painted Blood. It was a new feeling seeing Gary Holt play guitar and do solos in Slayer. There were a number of crowd surfers rising up in the general admission section within the first song or two.
Halfway into the set, an old classic, “At Dawn They Sleep,” from 1985’s Hell Awaits, was played with vocalist/bassist Tom Araya going on to say, “This song is for all the bloodsucking creatures of the night.” Moments like that definitely made the show one to remember. By the time “Dead Skin Mask” from 1990’s Seasons In The Abyss was played, Araya exclaimed, “This is a song about love so passionate that you just love this person to death,” and just hearing the guitars at the beginning of the song sent shivers up my spine. “South Of Heaven” and “Angel Of Death” finished a night of some real extreme thrash metal.