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Concert Review: Slayer, Megadeth, Testament, Wamu Theatre, Seattle, WA 9/3/10

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It was loud, it was sweaty, and it was brutal. It was also one of the best thrash shows Seattle has seen in years. The American Carnage tour is a triple-bill knockout featuring Slayer, Megadeth, and Testament. Their stop at the Wamu Theatre last night was an all-out assault, and the fans wouldn’t have had it any other way.

It is amazing to realize that headliners Slayer have been doing this for nearly 30 years now. The audience certainly reflected their wide-ranging impact. I saw everything from classic long-haired metalheads to punks, emo kids, and even a few parents with pre-teen children in the crowd. Of course only the most macho young males braved the mosh pit, which got completely out of control during Slayer’s set.

They opened with the title song of their instant-classic new album, World Painted Blood. In a live setting, the power of this band is incredible, almost overwhelming. Drummer Dave Lombardo is the rat-a-tat engine behind them, setting a pace that is unforgiving. Playing from the top tier of their two-platform stage, whenever the rest of the band stopped to let him briefly solo, the fans went nuts.

Then there is the astonishing guitar playing of Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King. They never let up for a second. The way these two are constantly bouncing off of each other is riveting. The otherworldly sounds Hanneman produces play off the expert solos of King in ways that nobody else can touch. Vocalist Tom Araya was is fine form also, although he understandably moved a little stiffer than usual, due to recent neck surgery.

The idea of playing an older album all the way through in concert is one that works well for Slayer, and they devoted the majority of their set to Seasons In The Abyss from 1990. It was a good choice, as there is not a bad cut on it, and the crowd obviously knew it well. They closed out with another classic, the always controversial “Angel Of Death,” which brought the house down.

Megadeth’s decision to play the classic Rust In Peace album from front to back was brilliant. For many fans, the 1991 record was the first that fully delivered on all the promise that Megadeth had shown. Judging by the crowd reaction, they could not have come up with a better choice. The band were incredibly tight, and Dave Mustaine’s lightning fast playing was as amazing as ever.

To round out the set they played a mix of old and new tunes. The first of these was the title cut from their latest album, Endgame. Although much of the audience seemed unfamiliar with the tune, it went down well. The one that really blew the place up though was the closer, a medley of “Killing Is My Business, And Business Is Good,” and “Peace Sells, But Who’s Buying?” The solo Mustaine played to bridge the gap between the songs was his most manic of the night, and prompted a spontaneous ovation from the crowd.

Opening band Testament are all about the twin guitar attack of Alex Skolnik and Eric Peterson. The two got into some fantastic duels at times, and had singer Chuck Billy playing air guitar next to them with his mike stand. Their 40-minute set showed the limitations of being the opening act on a triple bill, as it was way too short for the crowd. When the fans wouldn’t let them leave, Billy finally had to say, “Sorry, it’s all the time they gave us.”

If anything, time seems to be on all three of these band’s side though. When thrash first reared its ugly head in the early eighties, it seemed more of a live fast, die young culture than anything else. Old dogs Slayer, Megadeth, and Testament put the lie to that idea in the most forceful terms possible last night.

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About Greg Barbrick

  • I’m in my 40’s and this was the second time I’ve seen Slayer. The first time was at the Portland Coliseum in 1989. Slayer opened for Judas Priest in the Ram it Down tour. This was the best show I’ve seen at WaMu and this was the first time I went into the pit to do the mosh dance. I didn’t know that this style of dance was so much fun. The only bum part was, I had my buddies glasses in my pocket and they got ground down into sand. All-in-all, hands down, I’d have to say Slayer, Megadeth, and Testament was the best show I’ve seen a WaMu to date.

  • Matt

    It was a great show, but the reviewer doesn’t know his Megadeth material apparently. They did not play the title track off Endgame. They played Headcrusher from Endgame. Also, they did not play Killing is my Business. They used to close with Holy Wars but since they have been playing RIP live and thus are already playing Holy Wars earlier in the show, they have been closing with Peace Sells and ending Peace Sells with The Punishment Due section of Holy Wars.

  • jtmfb

    dont know what show you guys were at? i saw the worst SLAYER show ever! was that really Dave playn drums?

  • Greg Barbrick

    Hey Nick – Mustaine was amazing! Great show, no doubt about it!

  • Nick

    The show was AWESOME. Megadeth was on point and Dave Mustaine is GOD. I had never seen Slayer before, and I can still feel Lombardo’s double bass in my chest. I’m so glad someone did a review of the concert!

    One thing though, it sounded to me like Megadeth closed with Peace Sells and a reprise of “The Punishment Due” portion of Holy Wars. I don’t recall hearing Killing Is My Business…but I could be wrong. The guitar solo that Dave did was triumphant either way!

  • Greg Barbrick

    Ha ha, I know what you mean pissed… I’m still in pain too.

  • pissed…..

    megadeth needed to play their new ablum and slayer neeeded to play disciple “god hates us all” after angel of death…….. Either way I’m still in pain 24 hrs later.

  • Greg Barbrick


    It was great. All three bands just tore it up, well worth seeing I think.

  • sounds like a killer show. I missed them the first time through but may have to catch the second pass