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Slayer and Unearth Devastate Washington, DC

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On Tuesday, February 20, I had the chance to attend the second of two sold-out shows by Slayer and Unearth at Washington, DC's 9:30 club. The 9:30 club is one of the best in the area, attracting the best bands and touring packages short of ones that fill sports arenas. Holding over 1300 people, this club is jam-packed for sold out shows, and Slayer always seems to fill it up, if not sell it out completely. I went into the show excited to see both bands, as I enjoy them both immensely. Yet, I was at the same time a little skeptical - first of the pairing: Unearth's melodic metalcore with Slayer. Slayer's fans are notoriously brutal on openers, so would Unearth hold up under that sort of pressure? Second, I was worried that Slayer might not live up to their God Hates Us All tour, which was penomenal, especially after seeing how rough they were live on Jimmy Kimmel recently. By the end of the night, all of my doubts would be laid to rest, however.

The club was already quite full for Unearth's performance at 8:45pm. The band came out strong with "Giles," from their latest album "III: In The Eyes Of Fire." Unearth's brand of metalcore, while containing melodic aspects, is punishing and unrelenting. Their entire setlist was especially unrelenting, comprised of only their fastest and most brutal tracks from their latest two albums. They followed up "Giles" with "Endless," from their previous record, "The Oncoming Storm" and pretty much alternated between material from the two albums for their 45 minute set. They actually played one more song (5 total) off their older album than their latest release (4 total).

Unearth have continually improved their stage show and presence, and every time I see them perform they are significantly better. Their new material from "III: In The Eyes Of Fire" really lends itself to a brutal but less noisy delivery than some of their older material as well. To top it off, the sound system was crystal clear that night, instead of overdriven and distorted like sometimes is the case. I found the clarity and levels just about perfect and fortunately felt little effect on my hearing from a night of heavy metal (and Slayer no less!) without ear plugs.

Aside from the quantifiable factors of their music and sound that night, it was also clear that Unearth were having fun on stage. The band members brought a beer bong on stage a couple of times, spraying the audience with beer at least once. Even without the antics, they put on a great show, held their own as openers for one of the greatest metal bands of all time, and likely won over some of the hardest fans to win - Slayer fans.

Here is the complete setlist Unearth played:

Giles
Endless
March of the Mutes
Zombie Autopilot
This Lying World
Sanctity of Brothers
The Great Dividers
This Time Was Mine
Black Hearts Now Reign

When Slayer took the stage at ten o'clock, the fans were already restless. The crowd had already been screaming and chanting "Slay-er" and welcomed the thrash gods enthusiastically. Slayer opened up with "Disciple," which has been a staple opening song since God Hates Us All was released. They came out sounding very precise and frontman Tom Araya sounded dead-on.

They cranked it up a notch following that song with "War Ensemble" and then continued to alternate one newer song for several classics for the next hour and forty minutes. The precision and faultless vocal performance lasted for a good four or five songs before they started sounding more "live." At that point it seemed that the precision was traded ever so slightly for more raw intensity, as if Slayer could get any more intense.

The entire band seemed invigorated all night. Tom Araya was windmilling his head and hair around, reminiscient of a young Jason Newstead. As noted in my past God Hates Us All tour report, it is a sight to see Araya, fronting Slayer and singing hate-filled lyrics, up on stage with a big-ass grin. It's clear he enjoys performing and he feeds off of the crowd's response. He gave humorous intros to a number of songs, playing to the crowd. Before "Postemortem" he asked the crowd "Do you want to die?" When the crowd replied with a "Yes," he asked if we were sure then commented that it's too bad they'd miss the rest of the show. He introduced another as a love song and had some graphic imagery in discussing a third.

Jeff and Kerry were their usual selves - trading leads and taunting the crowd from either side of the stage while Dave Lombardo just worked his magic behind the high-set drum kit, hardly showing his face.

The Sabbath-like intro to Seasons In The Abyss was the longest break to catch one's breath during the entire set. They then followed that with blast-beat-filled "Supremecist" from their latest album, "Christ Illusion," and then "Eyes of the Insane," their first single from the same album. "Eyes of the Insane" is clearly a tough song to sing due to the lyrical timing and lack of pause to take a breath. Tom struggled with it a little this time as well, but not nearly as much as he did on Jimmy Kimmel live, pulling off a decent performance of the song.

Slayer's final encore was Angel of Death, which they managed to botch pretty badly at one point. It sounded like the band was going to go into a medley, but didn't all switch at once. They got back in synch and Tom was laughing it off throughout the rest of the song when he wasn't singing.

The few rough spots did little to detract from the overall performance and raw intensity that Slayer delivered that night, however.

Here's a recap of Slayer's complete set list:

Disciple
War Ensemble
Jihad
Die By The Sword
Spirit in Black
Necrophiliac
Chemical Warfare
Cult
Bloodline
Mandatory Suicide
Seasons In The Abyss
Supremist
Eyes of the Insane
Postmortum
Silent Scream
Dead Skin Mask
Raining Blood
South of Heaven
Angel of Death

While a seemingly odd pairing, Slayer and Unearth made an excellent concert billing, with both bands being leaders in their respective styles of metal. In the end, despite the punishing music that was played - and no doubt because of it - it was a night of fun had by all, as the screams of "SLAAAYER" in the nearby Metro station as the last train arrived bore testment to.

You can check out photos from the show in our photo gallery. In the middle of photographing Unearth's set, my contact fell out simply from blinking. Having to get to the bathroom in the back of the venue to put it back in, I could only get to the balcony for the rest of their set, as you'll see from the photos.

Slayer and Unearth have just wrapped up their North American tour. Slayer heads to Australia to tour with Mastodon in April, and will play a string of European festivals in June. Unearth will tour the UK in March with Job For A Cowboy and Despised Icon.

deathbringer's avatar

A self-described "metal geek," Doug Gibson has been listening to heavy metal for more than twenty years and designed and coded Metal Underground.com from scratch over ten years ago.

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43 Comments on "Slayer and Unearth Devastate Washington, DC"

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Anonymous Reader
1. metal'ed writes:

2 killer bands,wish I coulda been there

# Feb 25, 2007 @ 10:41 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
2. Stephen writes:

No "God Send Death"? Is it so wrong to like that song? Still, not too bad of a setlist. I'd definitely pay to see it.

# Feb 25, 2007 @ 11:50 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
deathbringer's avatar

Founder, owner & programmer

3. deathbringer writes:

Yeah, I love God Send Death, but with so many great classics and a new album to promote, something's gotta give.

# Feb 26, 2007 @ 12:11 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
4. wanker writes:

Devastate Washington, DC i can only hope they mean litraly becuase every one dispises america and the war on terror just drages along...this is holy war!

fukk America

# Feb 26, 2007 @ 6:07 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Azazel_Begotten's avatar

Member

5. Azazel_Begotten writes:

*sigh*

Me and the guys were gonna see Slayer on the 19th at the 9:30, but sh1t happened and we couldn't go...

Now I wish we went..

# Feb 26, 2007 @ 6:53 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Azazel_Begotten's avatar

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6. Azazel_Begotten writes:

Well, now I wish even more that we went

# Feb 26, 2007 @ 6:53 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Scorpion69's avatar

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7. Scorpion69 writes:

WOW!!!! I wish I could've gone... I mean I would have gave my left testicle to go........Mabye

# Feb 26, 2007 @ 12:26 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
8. dmasa writes:

unearth blows metalcore blows and having such a bad band touring with a great 1 blows

# Feb 26, 2007 @ 3:12 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Bastard_Of_Bodom's avatar

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9. Bastard_Of_Bodom writes:

Ya saw them in Hamilton but Thine Eyes Bleed was also on the bill killer f***in show

# Feb 26, 2007 @ 4:40 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Azazel_Begotten's avatar

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10. Azazel_Begotten writes:

Scorpion, I wouldn't go that far man...maybe a kidney...actually, maybe I would give a nut for them...

# Feb 27, 2007 @ 7:25 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
11. ZT writes:

Only Slayer and Minor Threat could devastate D.C........

# Feb 27, 2007 @ 10:21 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
12. ZT writes:

God send death end misery....

# Feb 27, 2007 @ 10:22 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
13. ZT writes:

On your back, look on to me you'll see genocide.....

I'm bored, ok?

# Feb 27, 2007 @ 10:24 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
14. hatebreedfromhell writes:

slayer is gay.thay cant even scream.there not eny where near metal or hardcore.there just f**king gay rock.

# Feb 28, 2007 @ 1:13 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Valentine_no_more's avatar

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15. Valentine_no_more writes:

Slayer and Unearth Is One of the greatest combonation. METAL 4 LIFE.

# Feb 28, 2007 @ 1:15 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Valentine_no_more's avatar

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16. Valentine_no_more writes:

SLAYER does Not Need to scream to be the best, dude

# Feb 28, 2007 @ 1:16 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Valentine_no_more's avatar

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17. Valentine_no_more writes:

SLAYER IS NOT F***ING GAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

# Feb 28, 2007 @ 1:18 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
18. Blaze1 writes:

Slayer /Unearth was a great tour. Unearth are good live, they've come along way in the last couple of years. I like that unearth are staying more agressive and heavy. Some of these bands are becoming to melodic (ie. KSE)

# Feb 28, 2007 @ 1:55 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
19. Sinn writes:

I saw Slayer&Unearth in Providence, Rhode Island on February 16th. It was a f***ing insane show. I personally think Unearth is much better live versus studio. And I also must admit that I wasn't much of a fan of them until that night. Slayer was f***ing killer as they always are. They turned the entire floor into a massive, brutal pit for the night.

Oh & by the way. "Hatebreedfromhell" .. if you dislike Slayer so much, why bother coming on here and leaving comments about it when you know it's pretty much just Slayer fans reading this. Looking for attention much? And another thing.. if your name is "Hatebreedfromhell" because you're a Hatebreed fan .. Slayer happens to be one of their biggest influences. I'm not saying you have to like them because of it, but who knows if we'd have Hatebreed if it wasn't for them. So the least you could do is respect them as artists and not throw immature insults at them.

[Apologies for my rant if that's not why you chose your name.]

# Feb 28, 2007 @ 3:04 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Valentine_no_more's avatar

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20. Valentine_no_more writes:

I Hate Avenged Sevenfold

# Mar 1, 2007 @ 1:05 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Azazel_Begotten's avatar

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21. Azazel_Begotten writes:

someone with HATEBREED in their name trying to bash Slayer huh? Give me a break.

# Mar 2, 2007 @ 3:13 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
22. What a F u c k i n g punkass critic!!! writes:

Did this lad giving us the report even watch the show, or is he just another wannabe reporter picking up all the faults on the night...

Whatever the case may be, Slayer delivered as per usual so dry your eyes mate...

# Mar 5, 2007 @ 12:36 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Scorpion69's avatar

Member

23. Scorpion69 writes:

Well it was an expresion Azazel but then again mabye it wasen't... but you've got to admit that the show would have been kicka$$ to see!!

# Mar 5, 2007 @ 12:41 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
RememberMetal?'s avatar

Writer/Reviewer

24. RememberMetal? writes:

hatebreedfromhell

Hatebreed are BIG fans of Slayer. Toured together, good pals with mutual respect (though I fail to see why...Hatebreed is as straightforward as it gets) for eachother.

Good setlist though a bit too much of the new one, I guess they have to tout that one a bit more than the classics...

# Mar 5, 2007 @ 3:12 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
25. LiquidMetal77 writes:

hey wanker, you gotta understand that half of the U.S. hates bush, especially the states with the most population like california, so f*ck bush and the government, not america cuz the citizens dont always think like our president.

# Mar 5, 2007 @ 3:36 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
deathbringer's avatar

Founder, owner & programmer

26. deathbringer writes:

Wow. I can't say a single bad word about Slayer I guess. Did this lad posting #22 even read my report? You give Slayer fans a bad name. I noted positives all around it and even said that the few rough spots didn't detract from the overall performance and raw intensity that Slayer delivered that night... The fact that Tom could laugh off the screw up shows how much class Slayer has.

It was an awesome performance and I think the descriptors used would say it clear enough: precision, faultless vocal performance, invigorated, raw intensity, excellent concert billing, and leaders in their respective styles of metal. Not to mention the other positives I described less succinctly. Still, I'd have to say their "God Hates Us All" tour was better (and kicked my ass), not to detract from how enjoyable this show was - it was probably the best show I've seen in a year or so.

Next time I'll just write "Slayer kicked ass!" Or how about "SLAAAAAAAAYER!!!!!!". I've read some other "professional" reviews of the show and come away feeling like they were exceptionally generic and I'd rather get into some details and comparisons than post something generic.

# Mar 5, 2007 @ 3:39 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
27. LiquidMetal77 writes:

unless you do live in the US, then nevermind, i guess

# Mar 5, 2007 @ 3:39 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Azazel_Begotten's avatar

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28. Azazel_Begotten writes:

Luckily people like deathbringer and RememberMetal? take the words out my mouth, saving me time, typing and breath to talk sense to the retards on MU

Hey deathbringer, what say you on possibly reporting on Behemoth in April, and maybe bumping into me and slayerdisciple eh? Plus, you'll be able to report on opening bands that really are the Metal Underground...Ghost in the Gears is an awesome up and coming band from MD. Check out their myspace link on the Jaxx calendar at http://www.jaxxroxx.com/

# Mar 6, 2007 @ 5:21 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
29. the jackyl writes:

this isn't such a recent show as youz in d.c., but i seen SLAYER in milwaukee,wis,(for like the 12th time),and as usual they made my ears bleed and my blood curtle.noone and i mean noone does it better live than slayer. they were there with LAMB OF GOD,MASTADON,CHILDREN OF BODOM, and some other band i missed. lamb gave slayer a run for their money... but you can't top slayer.
going to see lamb of god/trivium/fear factory/gojia next wed. in milwaukee. hope to have my ears bleeding again.

# Mar 8, 2007 @ 10:12 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
deathbringer's avatar

Founder, owner & programmer

30. deathbringer writes:

Azazel_Begotten, It looks like the next couple months are booked for me concert-wise. I have a limited number of shows I can get to since I have family responsibilities. And there are lots of good tours that caught my eye before summer it seems. I've started putting my shows into Last.fm, so check there for where I'll be heading.

I need to listen to more Behemoth as well. I don't really have a feel for them since I haven't heard much of them and would not be compelled to drive an hour or so to see them as of now... That's just me. Gothique usually does all the Behemoth coverage up in the Boston area for us.

# Mar 8, 2007 @ 10:26 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Scorpion69's avatar

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31. Scorpion69 writes:

Where in the world can I even get Behemoth cd's?? cause Wal-mart doesn't carry them and not even best buy carries them. every time I go to buy it I can't find it anywhere... and I'm an American... but I do hate Bush........does anybody think it's wierd that America's top three people in charge are named Bush, d***, and Harry?

# Mar 8, 2007 @ 12:20 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Valentine_no_more's avatar

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32. Valentine_no_more writes:

VWO....Valentine World Order............

# Mar 8, 2007 @ 1:24 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Azazel_Begotten's avatar

Member

33. Azazel_Begotten writes:

awww! deathbringer :( I hope Behemoth heads for Maryland for your sake....

Behemoth is the sh1te! I've got just about everything from their early 90s Black Metal to the present Blackened Death...Its just awesome stuff, when you get a chance to listen to it, you won't regret it...

# Mar 8, 2007 @ 3:01 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Azazel_Begotten's avatar

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34. Azazel_Begotten writes:

Scorpion69, Best Buy does sell Behemoth, and another good place to find it is Tower Records...You could also order it online, or install soulseek and download it...Of course the other option is to get it from me...
If you want My IM, YM, and MSN are all SexBloodandMetal

Hope to talk to all of you soon

# Mar 8, 2007 @ 3:03 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Edheadmaggot's avatar

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35. Edheadmaggot writes:

This is for the piece of sh** with "Hatebreed", in thier user name. Who the f*** do you f***ing think you are talking about slayer that way. You are a f***ing retard, slayers style of vocals has been around in metal a lot longer than the sream has so you can just shut your f***ing a$$ up. BTW your probably an A7X fan arn't you

# Mar 10, 2007 @ 9:42 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Edheadmaggot's avatar

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36. Edheadmaggot writes:

dmasa - Unearth is the f***in best, how can you talk sh** about such an awsome band. They don't soften up thier sound and ad fa**ot a$$ emo chourses to thier songs like a lot of the other metalcore bands, All that remains being one of them. Except that you've made it obvious enough that your a fan of that sh** you f***in c***

# Mar 10, 2007 @ 9:49 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
37. xXxBODOM OF MY HEARTxXx writes:

i wish i could have been there slayer is f***ing bad a$$ and i should have seen them on unholy alliance when i had the chance sh** ohh well...i have nothing bad to say about slayer thay are keeping to their thrash metal root and death metal style also especially with seasons in the abyss and god hates us all and you cant forget the reign in blood album that shocked everyone but a band that metal needed who ever says that slayer is sh** they really have something stuck up their a$$ and probably like crapy bands because they are sooo badass and talented and as for unearth ive seen them on ozzfest before and the whole set was a blur it wasn't that great even with the sh**ty quality on the audio and they in my opinion don't deserve to be touring with slayer but if they are friends then that is differnts but now i am just blabberin onto something that someone wont even read but whatever metal will be metal and thats that...this set list is pretty good thank god they played some old stuff too unlike iron maiden...

# Mar 10, 2007 @ 11:59 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Azazel_Begotten's avatar

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38. Azazel_Begotten writes:

post #37, I'm loving the username! lol

# Mar 11, 2007 @ 6:20 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
39. JN writes:

slayer always end with south of heaven then angel of death... why?

# Mar 12, 2007 @ 5:59 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
40. xXxBODOM OF MY HEARTxXx writes:

Azazel_Begotten thanks its actually my myspace name well sort of haha wow i said myspace....and JN those are their most powerful meaning songs and any slayer song to end with is okay they rule!!! domination lol pantera omg....

# Mar 12, 2007 @ 6:41 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
41. hunter D writes:

yes i was there great show great club. lights, sound every thing. 1st time seeing slayer couldnt be happier! :)

# Mar 14, 2007 @ 8:47 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
42. Nailed To Gold writes:

Jihad is a horrid song. Would have been cool to see them play Supremist. Slayer always chooses kinda crappy opening bands.

# Mar 16, 2007 @ 5:12 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
43. EXZOOMER writes:

good GOD!!....you peole are such a bunch of fan boys....strap on a pair of melons and take those slayer page posters off of your wall....buncha tiger beat metal bedpan riding cloned ballsniffers....

# Mar 16, 2007 @ 9:01 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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