This double disc set contains Slayer's entire set of their August 5th, 2017, show at The Forum in Los Angeles. For most of their career, the three guys at the front of the stage have been the same (they have been through a few drummers, most notably currently incumbent Paul Bostaph and Dave Lombardo have swapped seats a few times), with Tom Araya standing firm between Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman. Hanneman of course passed away in 2013 from liver problems, but the guys were fortunate in that they had access to Exodus guitarist Gary Holt who had previously deputised for Hanneman when he contracted necrotizing fasciitis in 2011. By the time of this recording in 2017 he and King were locked in due to countless hours of playing together, and while he could never fully replace the 30+ years that King had with his previous partner, he had certainly sipped in well.
On November 30th, 2019, Slayer played what they have said will be their last ever live show. Now, we all know that farewell concerts are rarely that, but given that Slayer have refused to conform throughout their existence I would not be surprised if this is indeed the case. So, if you want to capture the incredible experience which is Slayer in action then it may well be that you will have to turn to this set which is also available as a full in-concert film as well. When it comes to the Big Four, I have personally always put Megadeth at #1, with Anthrax and Slayer moving between #2 and #3 depending on my mood (Metallica are firmly rooted at the bottom due to their seeming inability to record anything worthwhile for the past 20+ years). My favourite Anthrax album from recent years is their last live album, ‘Kings Among Scotland’, and it is interestingly to direct compare the two. Each play music from their latest album (‘For All Kings’ and ‘Repentless’), and the new songs sit in well with the older ones. They also each play all their “hits”, the production is superb, and the audiences definitely up for the night.
But where Slayer step is the sheer uncompromising brutality of their approach. Scott Ian may be stomping around the stage with a massive smile on his face having a blast, but these guys are rooted, dark and evil. “South Of Heaven” is still as awe-inspiring and crushing as it is was when I first heard it more than 30 years ago, and this is immediately followed by “Raining Blood”. This is thrash, real thrash, with production which makes the ears bleed when played at the right volume. The band may have decided they do not want to tour anymore but that has nothing to do with their ability to deliver, or from fans willing to lap it up. More than twenty songs, eighty minutes of solid metal, this is music which is uncompromising and essential to all metalheads. This is Slayer. We all know who they are, we all know what they do, and here is the proof.