Concert Reviews

Kilgore - Fear Factory - Slayer
Sept 3rd 1998
Verdun Auditorium, Montreal, PQ, Canada

School is upon me once again, but not before saying good bye to summer with a powerhouse concert at the Verdun Auditorium. The opening band was Kilgore. I'd never heard of them before, but they put on a decent show. The singer was genuinely angry at the world, and the drummer was slow but powerful, his kick drum drilled a hole through my stomach with every hit. The rest of the band though was a bit boring, the riffs seemed uninspired, and there was enough variety, so all I heard really was a lot of distorted static.

After a quick set change, Fear Factory took the stage. They started off with 'Shock' from the new album. The sound unfortunately was a bit muddy, probably due to the fact they were in an auditorium capable of seating several thousand people. One thing about Fear Factory's studio albums is when they cut off a note, that note is gone. This venue has an annoying echo. I don't know, maybe I was just expecting too much, the sound was not bad, but just lacked the power I had hoped for. The band was definitely lively though. Dino and Christian were leaping around all over the place, Burton screamed his head off, he even managed to stay in tune most of the time with the cleaner vocal parts. And Raymond, well, what can I say, his feet are amazing. And this guy is built, his biceps were the size of my head. They also had a keyboardist, who did a good job at reproducing the album samples.

They proceeded to play about 9 songs, including 'Self Bias Resistor', 'Edgecrusher', 'Demanufacture', 'Replica', 'Smasher / Devourer', 'Securitron', 'Martyr', and they finished the set with 'Scapegoat'. 'Demanufacture' was very impressive live, Raymond managed to pull off that first minute of drumming note for note and in perfect time. Also the beginning to 'Securitron' was fantastic, the whole band was tight as hell, and the strobe lighting clicked perfectly with the double kicks. A few songs, Burton tried to get the audience to sing some lines (Like "Machines of Hate" in 'Self Bias Resistor'), but the crowd didn't seem to join in very much, which is a shame, since I love the Fear Factory lyrics.

Anyways, another quick set change, and Slayer was now in front of me. They have stage presence, no doubt about it. They started everything off with 'Bitter Peace' and 'Death's Head' from the new album, then proceeded to blast us with all the old classics: 'Hell Awaits', 'War Ensemble' 'South Of Heaven', 'Raining Blood', 'Dead Skin Mask', 'Die By The Sword', 'Captor of Sin', 'Seasons In The Abyss', 'Dittohead', and they closed off with 'Chemical Warfare'. They also played several tunes off the new album, including 'Stain Of Mind', 'In The Name Of God', and 'Scrum'. They also played 'Perversions Of Pain', and dedicated it to the Canadian border guards, I swear, every band who comes here complains about the border guards, they must really give the bands a hard time.

If you've never seen Slayer live, I would recommend that you do, since, first, this is probably their last tour ever, and second, they're just really impressive. Kerry and Jeff are guitar demons, they are playing twice as fast as anyone else I've ever seen, and doing it so effortlessly, while simultaneously thrashing around and head banging. And the downpicking, geez, I don't know how their hands survive the experience. Tom did his usual decent job on bass (which really couldn't be heard in the mix), but his vocals were everything you've come to expect on a Slayer album, the screams of a man genuinely furious at the world. And the drumming was excellent as well, I assume it was Paul on drums, but the set was so high in the air, it was tough to see who was behind the skins.

I also have to say congrats to the lighting people, they did a great job was strobes, complementary colors (like red on top and green rising from the floor), and segments where the air was full of dry ice, and beams of white light poured from behind the drumset. Fucking scary. Of course, not quite as scary as the moshpit during 'Raining Blood', the whole floor opened up into violent slamming. After the last song, they came back for their encore, and played 'Mandatory Suicide', and, of course, 'Angel Of Death', which they had to play by law, or the fans would have stormed the stage.

Sound wise, the band was good, but again, the venue soaked up a lot of the sound. Hearing these guys in a smaller venue would have been killer, but considering the auditorium was filled to the rafters, I don't see that ever happening.

Overall, an excellent show, I guess I was a bit critical since the bands are already so top notch, but please, go see it when it comes to your city.

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