As I pulled up to the Toyota Music Factory on a quiet Wednesday night, I could see the fans lined up along the sidewalks and wrapped around the building waiting for the doors to open, so they could get to their seats or find their place in the pit. They were ready to end the silence with the music of the opening band, death metal legends Cannibal Corpse. Within those lines were people from all different walks of life, coming together for a night of heavy metal thrash music! Once the doors opened, the crowd rushed to get their merch, food, and drinks before the show began. Closer to show time you could hear the fans screaming out the name of their favorite bands.
As Cannibal Corpse took the stage and played the first riff of “Evisceration Plague”. The crowd exploded with applause and vocalist George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher came out from backstage, whipping his hair around in circles. He then leaned into the microphone and growled out the lyrics to their opening song. After the first song, the crowd roared and thrust their fists towards the sky as the band jumped off into the next song “Scourge of Iron”. As the opening band, they were there to get the crowd ready for more heavy metal music that would continue throughout the night. They played their final song, “Hammer Smashed Face”, thanked the crowd and exited the stage.
Swedish heavy metal band Amon Amarth was up next. A huge wooden Viking ship sat in the middle of the stage as they bombarded the stage. The lights dimmed and all you could see were the red glowing eyes of the ship’s dragon. As the band took the stage and hit the first riff of their opening song, “The Pursuit of Vikings”, the crowd went wild. The sea of people had grown even larger by now and lead singer Johan Hegg stood at the front of the stage, hands raised, riling them up. As they continued their set, mosh pits broke out all over the arena. Half way through their set, Johan climbed into the boat, took out his horn and toasted the crowd as they began playing “Raise your Horns”. The crowd went berserk, raising their own drinks towards the sky. The band members all took turns getting into the boat and playing throughout their performance. They wrapped up their set with their final song, “Shield Wall”.
Next up was the Virginia heavy metal band Lamb of God! Lamb of god is led by a very energetic Dr. Randy Blythe who puts on a great show for his loyal fans. Before they came out, the lights dimmed, and everyone was chanting, “Lamb of God, Lamb of God”. The drummer entered, climbed to the top of the risers and sat in his throne. He was followed by guitar player Willie Adler. You could suddenly hear the spoken words to “Omerta”, coming from Randy backstage. The rest of the band walked onto the stage and hit the opening riffs of the song. The crowd erupted with whistles and yells, throwing their devil horns into the air. Before the third song, Randy asked the fans if they were ready to take a walk with him. He then told them they would be taking a walk with him…in Hell. The fans followed by singing along to every word of “Walk with Me in Hell”! Lamb of God’s set is an obliteration of your senses with loud and heavy music and an insane amount of smoke and lights coming from everywhere. Near the end of their set, Randy thanked the opening bands for getting things started and thanked the headliner Slayer for bringing them to Texas. They dedicated their next song to them which is titled “Laid to Rest”. Everyone was going crazy… jumping around, screaming and singing along. Their final song of the night, one of personal favorites, was “Redneck”. Before they started Randy told the mosh pit to get ready! There were so many people in the most pit that all you could see were heads and dust. As the band finished up they thanked the crowd again and walked off the stage!
The final band of the night is one of the biggest bands in thrash metal history, the one and only Slayer. A giant black banner was raised as the crew set up the stage behind it. As the crowd waited, fans were mingling around making purchases, talking and yelling out “Slayer”. Once again, the lights went down while the band began playing their opening song “Repentless”. Flames were going off through the curtain as they played. A few seconds into the song the curtain dropped. The band was playing fast and heavy in true form with lights and fire going off in every direction. The crowd began singing along and chanting, “Slayer, Slayer” as the band finished their opening song. Tom Araya played the bass as he led them into the next song “Evil Has No Boundaries”. You could hear the guitar riffs from Kerry King and Gary Holt who were on opposite sides of the stage. When you looked out into the crowd you could see the fans jumping and thrashing around in some of the largest mosh pits of the night. Slayer continued playing into the night and when they sang “Disciple” the crowd hit the roof. Slayer had fire shooting out from all over the stage and in all directions. They also had flames shooting up that formed an upside down cross in the air as well as fog rising from all over the stage. They followed that song up with “Mandatory Suicide” that included an intense pyro fire wall that went up behind the band. The pyrotechnics and lighting at their show would push your senses to the limits! Tom began talking to the crowd about halfway through their set and you could feel the crowd getting pumped up for more heavy metal music. Slayer continued punishing your senses with all the pyrotechnics, smoke, and incredible heavy metal music that included song from their whole catalog of albums that span from 1983 all the way to 2015. Towards the end of the night they continued playing fan favorites like “South of Heaven” that starts off with the sounds of thunder and lightning followed with the drums held down by Paul Bosteph that quickly leads into some heavyweight crunch guitar riffs. As soon as the crowd heard the raining sounds from the wall of speakers they immediately started moshing and running into each other all over the place as far as you could see. As Slayer prepares to play their last song of the night the lights dim, and the crowd started chanting Slayer over and over. Suddenly you hear the opening dual guitar riffs of “Angel of Death” and the lights start flashing from all over the venue to the beat of the drums. Tom Araya then screams into the microphone and the lights go up and they continue the destruction of your eyes and ears for the final time of the night with one of the fan favorites songs. As they completed the song they thanked the crowd one last time and walked off the stage. This show was great, and I would highly recommend you checking out this 2019 North American Farewell tour when they stop in a town close to you.
Words and Photos by Craig and Paula Youngblood