Saturday, October 10, 2009
At the top of my Christmas list is a Megadeth sweatband. Perfect for tennis, shopping and in the garden, the Megadeth wristband will take care of all your sweat requirements. I’d pretty much only gone along to see Californian thrash metal gods Slayer, but Megadeth were a hairy surprise. Apparently their moniker is a deliberate misspelling of a term used to describe a million simultaneous deaths in the event of thermonuclear war—cool. Despite sound mix problems driving them from the stage for a spell, they seemed to thrive on the energetic crowd response and played on... and on... and on.
A white curtain dropped to reveal Slayer, full-flight, and the hugest pile of Marshalls you’ve ever seen. Only thing was, it was difficult to make out the song as Tom Araya wasn’t singing. Then he whimpered, “So my voice isn’t holding up too well so I’m not gonna be doing much singing tonight”. And the crowd goes devil-horned whack crazy not really grasping the concept that he meant he wasn’t gonna be singing much this night.
They rip through classics War Ensemble, Chemical Warfare and Expendable Youth and some newies—God Hates Us All a particular highlight—in largely instrumental fashion, but frankly, without Araya’s weapon of a voice, it all lacked punch. And I never wanted to say that. I barely even thought it was possible to use the words ‘Slayer’ and ‘lacked punch’ in the same sentence, but sadly it was true.
As a side-effect, Dave Lombardo’s machinegun drum fills stood out like dogs’ balls and you got a real appreciation for the tight fury of the guitars. It was never going to be enough to pull it off, however, and though Araya made honest attempt to growl out Hell Awaits and bits and pieces of South of Heaven and Angel of Death, the invitation for open mic karaoke towards the death was a bit on the nose. Having been so freakin’ excited for so long to finally see these guys, I have to question whether a call should have been made to cancel the show.