Slayer and Lamb Of God




The Joint, Las Vegas

Ah, the distant rumble that tells you the opening band is on while you’re still outside dealing with the box office, despite getting to the venue with time to spare. Given that Behemoth are only playing a half hour set, it’s not the most auspicious start to the night, but thankfully there is a cure for being in such a foul mood, and they’re up next.

The curious thing is that I rarely listen to Lamb Of God at home; the current album will get blasted enough to get familiar with it and then somehow find itself gathering dust on the CD rack, and yet I would never miss a live show. It’s all about the delivery, and with their live performance Lamb Of God take it to another level.

Of course, it’s doesn’t hurt that frontman Randy Blythe, aside from being one of the coolest people you could ever hope to meet, is also one of the greatest frontmen. At 46, he has the energy of a teenager, getting serious air as he launches himself from the riser, and generally charging about like a man possessed. But it’s more than that, and on reflection perhaps it’s about the sheer volume that just can’t be achieved at home. At least not without the cops showing up.

Tonight, as ever, the band are on top form, opening a ten song set with Laid To Rest before pummelling into Now You’ve Got Something To Die For – dedicated rather aptly to the military – and rounding things up with crowd favourites Walk With Me In Hell and Redneck. Another perfect storm.

It’s been a little over a year since Slayer came through town, and if there’s one complaint, then as now, it’s that they open the set with Repentless, the title track of their latest album. Seriously guys, stop doing that! Not that it’s a bad song, quite the reverse; it’s arguably one of the best songs they’ve ever written, which is saying a great deal, it’s just that it’s too soon, almost, if you’ll pardon the expression, like shooting their load before anyone’s got undressed! Fuck! We’re not ready, do it again!

But let’s face it, Slayer have never been about subtlety or restraint. They’re a band who offer no respite, no place to hide, just full-on madness from beginning to end, utterly relentless throughout. It is, quite frankly, fucking brilliant! And as if a set-list that reads like a ‘best of’ compilation wasn’t enough, there’s some insane stage production here, with walls of fire that must have given the fire marshals nightmares! Holy shit, it’s intense!

There are rumours, hopefully no more than rumours, that Slayer are considering retirement, but with tonight’s show completely sold out, it’s almost unthinkable, too much to even contemplate. Like Motorhead and the Ramones, Slayer are simply irreplaceable, a band at the top of the game with none of the competition even coming close. It really doesn’t get any better!

Having written for Kerrang! magazine since 1989, I started shooting for them, pretty much by accident, in the early 90’s when all their photographers refused to go on tour with my favourite punk band Poison Idea. With pretensions of being as good as Mark Leialoha and taller than Ross Halfin, I shot everyone from Ozzy Osbourne, Slayer and Slipknot to The Prodigy and was published all around the world (full-ish list in the ‘published in’ section) before stumbling into fetish and pin up photography in 2006 when I married Masuimi Max. I quit Kerrang! in 2008 and now shoot the rock stuff for Metal Hammer and Terrorizer.