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SLAYER’s Final Show at The Forum in Los Angeles was Absolutely One to Remember [Photos & Show Review]

Slayer, supported by Primus, Ministry, and opening act Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals, played their final show at The Forum in Los Angeles, and it was a night to remember to say the very least.

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Slayer (w/ Primus, Ministry, Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals) at The Forum (Los Angeles, California) on November 30, 2019

It’s sad and even a little strange that Slayer has called it quits. Initially, when they announced their farewell tour, which began in May of 2018, that implied they were retiring from touring itself, which left a lot of people with the hope that the band might still record new material somewhere down the road or do a one-off performance here and there. Lots of speculation…

If this is, in fact, really the end of touring (and quite possibly recording) for Slayer, they have gone out in a noble way by keeping their fans happy. On the last night of a two-night stand at The Forum in Los Angeles, Slayer, along with Primus, Ministry, and opening act Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals, played to a sellout crowd at the storied venue where the recently-released visual narrative Slayer: The Repentless Killogy, was filmed.

Philip H. Anselmo (formerly of Pantera) & The Illegals led off the night with a set of Pantera songs, starting with “Mouth for War.” Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante came onstage to perform “Fucking Hostile” with the band while Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian, following his bandmate’’s example, joined the party to play “This Love.” Actor Jason Momoa (Aquaman) and his kids moshed about stage left, proving once again the uniqueness of an LA concert is that you never know who you’ll see in the audience or who might jump on stage to play with the headlining act. In a short 35-minute set, Anselmo and his band brought the party (in a way that Primus would not). Sadly, many people were not yet seated and missed this notable performance.

Watch Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals perform Pantera’s “Walk,” live from Exit Festival this past summer:


Ministry started off with “The Missing,” a heavy, fast-tempo classic from 1988’s The Land of Rape and Honey album. With strobing, multi-colored lighting and wild imagery flashing on a big screen behind the stage, it created the visual sense of a heavy metal discotheque. “Just One Fix,” another grinding oldie, made the crowd move. Loud, pissed-off, and zany singer Al Jourgensen, a forefather of industrial metal, is still the ultimate emcee. There is no one like him and there isn’t a band quite like Ministry.

Primus played a set that included staples from a catalog going back 30 years, yet it was quite evident that the energy on the floor dropped significantly. The rock trio, helmed by bassist extraordinaire Les Claypool, was an unlikely addition to Slayer’s Final Campaign tour. A Slayer bill usually includes heavy metal titans such as Lamb of God, Behemoth, Anthrax and the like. This was an instrumental noodlefest with geeked-out lyrics (“too many puppies, too many puppies”) played on a darkly-lit stage that didn’t sustain the crowd’s attention.

Awaiting their favourites, the Slayer fans’ energy was raucous; at any given time on the concourse to use the restroom, get a drink, or buy merchandise, “fuckin’ Slayer!” was being screamed at eardrum-obliterating levels. The deafening chants continued as 15,000+ people waited for vocalist/bassist Tom Araya, guitarists Kerry King and Gary Holt, and drummer Paul Bostaph to hit the stage.

This is “AmeriKKKa,” and it’s heavy!


Once the crosses were projected on the giant stage curtain, the crowd went nuts. Starting off with an old favourite, “South of Heaven,” Slayer had L.A.’s undivided attention, knocking any Primus-induced malaise out of their heads as a giant circle pit took form in the middle of the floor. At four songs in, “World Painted Blood” showed how the talented Araya and Bostaph sync as a rhythm team.

The setlist was rich with the classics dating back to the early ’80s. The blasting cannonade and lyrical irreverence of “Disciple” (from 2001’s God Hates Us All album) was electric. The imposing stage production was as big and fiery as ever, accentuating the brutality of Slayer’s songs. It’s an oddity how a slow-tempo, downhearted song of impending doom such as “Seasons of the Abyss” can make people happy. Araya, whose voice was strong and prominent, was smiling throughout the whole show. King and Holt’s guitar playing was top-notch. After guitarist and founding member Jeff Hanneman’s untimely death in 2013, Holt became an official member of Slayer, and the Exodus guitarist, who was a longtime friend of Hanneman’s, is undoubtedly the best man for the job. His physicality on stage is fun to watch. The style and the nuances he adds to the songs would do Hanneman proud.

Check out this performance of “Repentless” live from The Forum, taken from the just-released The Repentless Killogy (Live at the Forum in Inglewood, CA):


Keeping with tradition, the quartet closed the show with “Angel of Death” accompanied by a huge, briskly moving circle on the floor and mayhem all around. This was a Slayer show with more spirit than this reviewer has ever seen or felt.

As the smoke settled from the pyrotechnics and crew began to clear the stage, Araya, displaying emotion, looked out to the crowd and thanked them for coming out to the show. “Time is precious,” he added. “So, I want to thank you for sharing that time with us…The most important thing is I want to thank you for being a part of my life. Thank you.”

There are bands that say farewell only to go out on a ‘We Were Just Kidding’ tour. If Saturday’s show in their hometown of Los Angeles was, in fact, their final stand, the stalwarts of thrash metal have gone out on a high note, at the top of their game.

Check out the official tour poster for the final two performances live at The Forum:

Metal

Silent Planet Bring Their “Superbloom Tour” to Worcester Palladium [Photos]

Silent Planet brought their “Superbloom Tour” to Worcester Palladium with support from Johnny Booth, Aviana, and Thornhill.

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Silent Planet on Feb 20, 2024, photo by Christina Altamirano
Silent Planet on Feb 20, 2024, photo by Christina Altamirano

Silent Planet brought their “Superbloom Tour” to the Worcester Palladium on February 20, 2024. They had Johnny Booth, Aviana, and Thornhill join them on this fun adventure.

I had no idea what to expect during Johnny Booth and was happy with the outcome. Johnny Booth is a five-piece hardcore band from New York. They performed a seven-song setlist with a few cuts like “2040,” “Full Tilt,” “Asymmetrical,” and “Deep Fake.” Johnny Booth stands out with their crushing melodies and multi-genre influences.

Following Johnny Booth was the Swedish alt-metal band Aviana. I had heard a few songs off Spotify, but I’ve never seen them live, and I loved every second of their time! The band wore masks and cloaks, so you can’t see anything under it. When they opened with “Rage,” the crowd chanted “Rage” with frontman Joel Holmqvist. Other songs were “Illuminate,” “My Worst Enemy,” “Oblivion,” and “Obsession.” This is definitely a band worth checking out!

Next was the Aussie alt-metal band Thornhill. If you know Thornhill, then you know you’re going to have a good show! They played eight songs, consisting of “Arkangel,” “Viper Room,” “Coven,” and “Casanova,” and closed with “Where We Go When We Die.” During their set, you can see fans all over having fun and dancing to the music.

Lastly, Silent Planet! The band incorporates a screen in the back for stunning visuals to accompany the songs being played. They performed mostly new songs off their latest album, Superbloom, and other beloved songs like “Panic Room,” “Native Blood,” and closed with “Superbloom.” Towards the end of their set, they did a jam session, which was fun to watch! During their encore, they performed their popular song “Trilogy.”

The “Superbloom Tour” is coming to a close this week. If you got to see it, then you know you got to go to an awesome show. Here’s to the next one!

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Album News

Slightest Clue Release Their Rocking, Five-Track EP ‘Carousel’

Vancouver indie rockers Slightest Clue recently released their ‘Carousel’ EP, inspired by the beginning, middle, and end of a relationship.

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Slightest Clue
Slightest Clue

Vancouver’s Slightest Clue is like the secret after-school project of four kids who would have passed each other without a glance in the hallway at school, but once they’re plugged in and ready to play their distinct blend of post-punk, alternative rock, and dark pop, all bets are off.

Produced by Matt Di Pomponio, their new EP, Carousel, is inspired by the beginning, middle, and end of a formative romantic relationship, spanning the trajectory from love to this loss of connection. The closing track, “Carousel,” marks the ultimate bittersweet reflection with unique harmonic layers to portray those contrasting emotions, shifting between grand and quiet tones.

Commenting on the album, the band states:

“The main theme is love, loss of relationship, and connection. The arc of the story is our foreshadowing of the end in our first song ‘These Days’ speaking on the day to day fights and how neither person can seem to get back to a happy place in the relationship. ‘Why Can’t I Call You?’ is the initial spark of infatuation and obsession with someone before you know them. ‘When You Wake Up’ talks of the blissed out honeymoon stage where everything is working and nothing could go wrong. ‘Suit Uptight!’ represents the mounting frustrations and resentments building tension from unmet needs. And finally our closing track ‘Carousel’ is the end and the bittersweet reflection of a cherished relationship that can no longer return.”

Each member, Malcolm McLaren, Hannah Kruse, Sean Ries, and Nick Sciarretta, brings distinct influences and experiences: a stage actor whose playlists go from Talking Heads to Sonic Youth to Björk, a hook-obsessed recovering choir girl, an electrical engineer whose personal idol is John Bonham, and a guitarist who played for (and left) 10 other bands before deciding this was the one for him.

Slightest Clue ‘Carousel’ [EP] album artwork

Slightest Clue ‘Carousel’ [EP] album artwork

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Alternative/Rock

Track-by-Track: The Pineapple Thief’s Bruce Soord Cuts Through ‘It Leads To This’

The Pineapple Thief frontman Bruce Soord breaks down each track on the progressive rock band’s new record ‘It Leads To This.’

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The Pineapple Thief in 2023, photo by Tina Korhonen
The Pineapple Thief in 2023, photo by Tina Korhonen

It’s been a bit of a renaissance period for The Pineapple Thief over the last few years. This revitalization has resulted in the brand-new album It Leads To This. Released on February 9th via Kscope Records, the eight new songs comprise more of frontman Bruce Soord’s observations and deductions about life and the world around him. The initial concept for the record came together rather quickly, but the actual lyrical and musical components took time. Finalizing these songs required much work and collaboration between Soord and his three bandmates. Each member had a conception of what was satisfactory regarding the songs. Coming to that common ground took time, but in the end, each member was extremely pleased with the final product.

The release of It Leads To This coincides with the 25th anniversary since The Pineapple Thief formed. In that time, they have released over 20 full-length albums and EPs. It Leads To This proved to be one of the most intense writing periods ever for the band. They worked on these new tracks for almost three years. Each band member pushed each other to go above and beyond what they felt capable of. It was extremely fruitful from an artistic perspective, but personally, it did pose challenges for the band members.

Joining us today for an exclusive track-by-track rundown of It Leads To This is Bruce Soord himself. He takes us through each song on the record, their inspirations, motivations, and how they came together.

1. “Put It Right”

Bruce Soord: “This was the first song we wrote for the album, right in the depths of the pandemic. I remember standing outside my studio, which is in the garden of my home, when we were in full lockdown. I looked at the blue sky, not a vapour trail to be seen. Even the hum of my small town was gone. As a songwriter, you’re obviously going to take that in and use it. I started to ponder the fragile state of the world. I mean, how can the world be brought to its knees overnight? Which then led to thoughts about the past, essentially a re-evaluation. Are we all to blame? Was I to blame?”

2. “Rubicon”

“As soon as the lockdown was lifted, I remember talking to (drummer) Gavin (Harrison), and he had the idea to write some songs in the same room. I know, radical, right? So I got in the car and drove to his house. Honestly, in the history of The Pineapple Thief, I had never written in this way. Songs were built up in our various studios over weeks and months.. But we were up for trying something new. It could have been a very long disaster – a 6 day jam in E. But to my surprise, we wrote four songs in this way. The first one being Rubicon.

“The verses are in a ‘5/4 shuffle’ which is quite unique (see Gavin’s drum playthrough on the Vic Firth YouTube channel). The song is actually about Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon, destroying the Roman republic for his own selfish ambitions. History repeating itself indeed…”

3. “It Leads To This”

“Following on from the theme of ‘Put It Right,’ this is essentially a positive song about focusing on the right things in life. What are going to be your biggest regrets on your deathbed? It’s obvious but also easy to miss. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard, I wish I had spent more time with my family and friends. It’s a love song really. ‘For all this time, I didn’t notice you…’”

4. “The Frost”

“I came up with the riff on my 6-string baritone guitar, so it has a low, edgy feel which I really love. This was a song that came together really quickly between the four of us (plus some great contributions from our touring guitarist Beren Matthews on guitars and backing vocals who played throughout the record). It’s about spending your life with a soulmate, through thick and thin, no matter how bad things get.”

5. “All That’s Left”

“Thematically, this continues the theme from ‘It Leads to This’ and, for me, is dominated by the riff and the middle section, which I love playing live. Again, it’s low in register, written using my baritone, massive drums.”

The Pineapple Thief ‘It Leads To This’ album artwork

The Pineapple Thief ‘It Leads To This’ album artwork

6. “Now It’s Yours”

“Written during the sessions with Gavin, this song goes on a bit of a journey. Soft, atmospheric, big riffs, a guitar solo… Lyrically, looking at the world as an older guy with a family about to be let loose into the world. What the hell are they going to inherit? Well, now it’s yours…”

7. “Every Trace Of Us”

“Again written during the Gavin sessions, I remember Gavin had the intro riff written on his Wurli keyboard he has in his studio. I took it, added some more chords in the progression and the song snowballed from there. Lyrically this is about the pressure of modern life, expectation, pressure, and the mental repercussions of it all. Modern life can tear every trace of us apart.”

8. “To Forget”

“I had this finger-picked acoustic guitar part, which the band liked, so I developed the first part of the song and came up with the words pretty quickly. Us humans, especially as we grow older, have to come to terms with loss and, in a lot of cases, tragedy. Touching on the debate as to whether life is a gift or a curse (I am firmly in the ‘gift’ camp). However, living with tragedy isn’t easy. Remembering isn’t easy, to forget is impossible.”

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