Though the band has never enjoyed Metallica’s success or Anthrax’s occasional moments of trendiness, Slayer outstripped its more famous contemporaries long ago through sheer cussed sleeves-rolled determination. Surprisingly, it’s chugged along evilly without attracting much wrath from PMRC types–in the same way that fundies hit J.K. Rowling while ignoring Philip Pullman’s gleeful blasphemies, W.A.S.P. caught the moral outrage that would’ve been better aimed at Slayer. But there’s no doubt the band knows its worth: as long ago as 1991 they were in retrospective mode with the amazing double live album Decade of Aggression, and they made their career-spanning-box-set move last year with Soundtrack to the Apocalypse. Their latest release, the DVD Still Reigning (American Recordings), looks backward too, but boldly: it opens with a recent live performance of their 1986 album Reign in Blood in its entirety, played by the original lineup (drummer Dave Lombardo returned in 2002). Though the band has canceled several recent dates due to singer-bassist Tom Araya’s “vocal fatigue,” at press time this show was still set to go on. This is one of the gigs featuring the band’s “Wall of Blood” effect, where a sheet of stage blood pours down like the climax of Carrie writ large. Killswitch Engage, Mastodon, and Agent Zero open. Friday 11/5, 6 PM, Aragon Ballroom, 1106 W. Lawrence, 312-666-6667 or 312-559-1212, $32.50. All ages.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Mark Weiss.