Jam a couple thousand metalheads into a tightly packed Revolution Concert House on St. Patrick’s Day and add back to back blistering sets from metal icons Slayer, Testament, and Carcass, and you have the makings of one of 2016’s most notable concerts. That’s what fans got Thursday night as these three iconic bands reigned over the Treasure Valley faithful.
UK-based extreme metallists, Carcass, rarely play the U.S., but they made the trek for this tour and gave fans good reason to bring them back over. The band’s 35-minute set was all go-no slow. Frontman and bassist Jeff Walker wasted no time chatting between songs, as he and the band tore through a relentless set of Carcass brutality. The band leaned heavily on its 2013 release, Surgical Steel, which won metal album of the year in dozens of metal magazines. Among the tracks were “Captive Bolt Pistol,” “Unfit for Human Consumption,” “The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills” and “Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System.” They also performed “Buried Dreams” and the title track off their seminal 1993 album, Heartwork, as well as three tracks; “Corporal Jigsore Quandry”, Incarnated Solvent Abuse” and “Carneous Cacoffiny” off 1991’s Necrotism – Descanting the Insalubrious.
Testament were working on the follow-up to 2012’s acclaimed Dark Roots of Earth album when they got the call to joinSlayer for this tour. As guitarist Eric Peterson offered, it is an opportunity they could not pass up. The band will return to the studio as soon as the tour ends. On Thursday night though they were in full-metal lock down mode, burning through a tight 40-minute set that included classics like; “D.N.R. (Do Not Resuscitate), “Legions of the Dead,” “Rise Up,” “Dog Faced Gods,” “The New Order,” “Practice What You Preach,” “Into the Pit” and “The Formation of Damnation.” Frontman Chuck Billy owned the crowd, while Peterson and fellow guitarist Alex Skolnick torched their fretboards.
Headlining the heavyweight affair were Slayer, who took the stage in a haze of smoke. The band, who headlined Mayhem Festival here last summer, returned to Boise with an explosive 20-song set. A quarter of the set focused on the band’s new album, Repentless, from which they played five songs, including the title cut, “When the Stillness Comes,” “You Against You,” “Take Control” and “Pride in Prejudice.” The rest of the set focused primarily on the band’s first five albums, including four from 1990’s Seasons in the Abyss and three from 1986’s Reign in Blood. Among the classics performed were “War Ensemble,” “Dead Skin Mask,” “Disciple,” “Angel of Death,” “Black Magic,” “Mandatory Suicide,” “Raining Blood” and “Chemical Warfare.” Deeper cuts included “God Send Death ,” “Postmortem“ and “Born of Fire.” This time around there were no flames bursting into the air, no fancy stage production–just cranium caving, spine-grinding metal from a band well-versed in the art of sonic savagery.
St. Patty’s Day at the Revolution 2016 is a date no one present will soon forget. The crowd was in fine form, and the energy was matched equally by all three bands. The mosh pit churned all night long, and the crowd packed in early and stayed for the duration. If there was a blemish on the night at all it was the moron who thought taking his 5-year-old son, on his shoulders, into a mosh pit was a cool daddy thing to do.
I asked one enthusiastic fan after the show what he thought: “It’s fucking Slayer, dude!” was all he had to say.