The End Of Days Is Near…RIP Slayer

I’ve been wondering for almost five years if they’d ever get a fucking clue and just call it a day.  Then, this past Monday, Slayer made this bombshell  announcement amid rumors of a huge summer tour lineup including Testament, Behemoth, Lamb Of God and fellow Big Four band Anthrax:

Well damn.  There was just one thing for me to say….it’s about fucking time!  In my opinion this should’ve been done nearly five years ago, as I said above.  Why?  Nothing against Paul Bostaph who’s currently in his second run with the band, but the band’s treatment and dismissal of Dave Lombardo – especially by Kerry King – was just fucking disgrace by all accounts.  A few months later, guitarist Jeff Hanneman died of alcohol related cirrhosis of the liver.  While they had already been touring with Exodus guitarist Gary Holt for a few years while Jeff was recovering from a near fatal spider bite, they should’ve stopped everything right there.

I’ve spoken about this in an article ripping Kerry for calling Jeff “worm food” back in 2015.  Yeah, Kerry is a great rhythm player, he’s a really good guitarist, probably more technically sound than Jeff.  But Jeff was the better songwriter, having written “Angel Of Death”, “Necrophiliac”. “Spill The Blood”, “Postmortem” and the perennial set closer, “Raining Blood”.  Being that he was the one guy in the band that was more influenced by Punk than the others, his songwriting and playing style were far more reckless and chaotic than anything Kerry wrote.  Same goes for his lead style, just pure balls to the wall ripping.  It was never pretty and that’s why it was amazing.  Here’s an example, go to the 1:42 mark for Jeff’s solo.  By the way the music here is all his too.

I can spend this entire article kissing Jeff’s ass but here’s my point: like it or not Jeff was a KEY member of the band.  With him gone, Slayer was officially nothing more than a tribute band.  You know, that band that just goes out there for the money and play those signature songs they didn’t even write.  Because every time they play “Angel Of Death”, their SIGNATURE song, it just does not look right seeing Gary on the left side of the stage – and by the way this is not to disrespect Gary.

But it’s like David Vincent and Tim Yeung going out on tour as I Am Morbid (I seriously cannot stop laughing at that name!).  Yeah, David wrote almost all the lyrics to those classic Morbid Angel songs; but without Trey killing it on guitar it just sounds like a money grab before the tour even starts.  From a non metal perspective it’s the equivalent of Aerosmith touring and recording without Joe Perry or Brad Whitford – BOTH of the band’s guitarists! – for five years.  Who really gives a shit about Rock And A Hard Place?  Certainly not I!

While it’s clear to me that both Kerry and Tom Araya are the two business partners of the band, Kerry most likely is the one that pushed and pushed to keep going.  He’s much more shrewd of a business man.  But there’s one problem.  His songwriting style has changing DRASTICALLY since the earlier days, as he’s almost embraced shitty trends such as Nu Metal and it showed a little too much on 2001’s God Hates Us All.  Wanna know why I’ll never give Repentless, a complete listen through?  Because who in their RIGHT MIND wants to hear an entire Slayer record written by him?  And if you say you do you’re just a fan boy and should go die – fucking slowly.

Tom, on the other hand, made it clear several times over the years that at his age he’s become homesick.  He’s tired, and I think he’s kind of lonely without Jeff.  Starting in the late eighties/early nineties, Tom and Jeff began a songwriting partnership that produced some of Slayer’s best tracks, including “War Ensemble”, “Season In The Abyss” and my favorite latter era track, “Eyes Of The Insane”.  Jeff wrote the music but Tom wrote the lyrics.  Here’s a statement Tom made to Loudwire in 2016:

“At 35 years, it’s time to collect my pension. [Laughs] This is a career move.  I’m grateful that we’ve been around for 35 years; that’s a really long time. So, yeah, to me, it is. Because when we started off, everything was great, because you’re young and invincible. And then there came a time where I became a family man, and I had a tough time flying back and forth. And now, at this stage, at the level we’re at now, I can do that; I can fly home when I want to, on days off, and spend some time with my family, which is something I wasn’t able to do when [my kids] were growing up. Now they’re both older and mature. So now I take advantage of that.” Araya added: “Yeah, it just gets harder and harder to come back out on the road. 35 years is a long time.”

So I’m wondering if either certain business/contractual matters were finally resolved or Tom finally let Kerry know that he had enough.  I personally think that at 56 years old he’s burnt out.  It probably take it’s physical toll to scream like that every night at his age.  Or just maybe he has enough common sense to understand that things can NEVER be the same with Jeff gone.  Either way, the band has finally made the right call because at this point they’re more than beating a dead horse.  I almost want to see this farewell tour.  The lineup is fucking sick, and I can almost guarantee Anthrax is on there because they’ll probably have both bands on stage together at the end of every show to play a few songs together and it’ll be one big party as 2/4 of the Big Four.  Hell, even Dave Mustaine said he’d like to put together one last Big Four show as his way of sending them off.  Sounds actually really cool, considering the interband relationship between his own band and Kerry (Kerry was in Megadeth for five seconds before he got sick of Dave’s dictator-like approach).  But will they agree to it?  However, as I’ve hashtagged on Instagram posts for a while now, #nojeffnoslayer.

No Jeff, no Slayer.  He’s not there and I’m not interested.  Kerry and Tom, congratulations.  You’ve had an amazing career, creating a legacy that’s UNDENIABLE.  But please, after this is all over, make sure it stays that way.  Don’t be like that pro wrestler that retires then almost as quickly comes back because they can’t stand to be away – or need the money.  Here’s one of THE most fucked up songs the band ever released, written by Jeff:

 

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Morbid Angel: A Death Metal Soap Opera

What a week it’s been for Morbid Angel, because in a matter of just a few days, the band lost…everyone.  It all started when founding guitarist Trey Azagtoth announced that bassist/vocalist David Vincent was out of the band and back in the band has non other than Steve Tucker – the very guy who replaced David when he first quit the band back in 1996.  Trey even said they were working on new music together.  Then came the drama; a few hours later David responded saying his basically had no idea what anyone was talking about and that he never the band or was asked to leave.

But wait, this gets better!  With the next two to three days drummer Tim Yeung quit the band, saying he left over financial reasons, which is not too much of a surprise, and then co-guitarist Destructhor (his real name is actually Thor.  That is fucking awesome!) announced that he was out because he wanted to go back home to Norway to focus on his other band Myrkskog.  What I find funny about this already is that both Tim and Destruthor decided to leave Morbid Angel after their most recent European Tour ended in December 2014.  I imagine that they both left because of money and their both too professional to say anything, although according to Destructhor the band wanted to work with someone “more local”.  Already sounds a bit fishy.

Then, just two days ago, David reversed his initial statement and announced that he too was in fact out of Morbid Angel.  He said that he Trey had a long conversation and they both agreed that they had some “incompatibilities” in regard to them working together any longer.  Of all the band departures this is the one that was the lightning rod.  David Vincent is the vocalist you hear on those first four classic albums.  He left the band in 1996 to join his wife’s bondage themed rock band The Genitorturers.  There was some dispute over the creative direction of his last album with them, Domination.  David thought at the time that it was sonically their best album to date due to their upgraded production values and the fact that they tried a few new things.  Trey, on the other hand, said a few years later that he found the sound on Domination to be so sterile that it pissed him off.  He also didn’t like that David wrote all the lyrics this time around and that they strayed very far away from the themes of the previous three albums.

Steve Tucker came in and did three albums with the band and then something happened in 2004.  Trey and David started talking again, which led to him doing a few surprise gigs with the band…which led to him rejoining the band altogether due to the positive reaction from the fans.  There’s been a bit of controversy ever since the band released their 2011 album, Illud Divinum Insanus, an album so techno sounding that David was given the blame for the musical direction.  Hell, look at the guy.  Really – look at him, even in the picture on this post!  God damn if he doesn’t look like something out of a sex shop or Hot Topic before they were bought by the Gap!  Some of you call him David Sixx, which I think is hysterical.  Given that along with his Genitorturers past and his big influence on Domination twenty years ago it’s easy to make a martyr out of David.

So I wonder like everybody else what happened because Trey obviously isn’t ready to talk yet.  He might never be because he doesn’t like to talk…which is probably why he kept David around – he’s very social, I met him so I know as does anyone else who met the guy.  Some people are saying that this is Trey cleaning house and regaining control of his band because David was once again too strong when fighting for creative control.  Some are a little bummed that he’s gone again and some are REALLY happy that he’s gone and Steve’s back in.  And remember I mentioned David not knowing he was gone?  Sounds like Trey didn’t really have the balls to tell him he was gone, kind of like when Warrell Dane of Nevermore discovered through Blabbermouth.net that Jeff Loomis had quit the band.  Pretty scummy if you ask me.

So where does Trey Azagtoth go from here?  Does he hire all naive rookies in order to pay them less than guys like Destructhor and Tim were already getting?  Is Trey ever going to discuss what happened?  Is this new album he’s doing with Steve Tucker going to blow Illud Divinum Insanus out of the water?  Only time will tell but if Trey ever talks he has a lot of explaining to do because a whole band leaving in or announcing their gone in just a matter of days raises a few red flags.  I’ll always be grateful that I got to see Morbid Angel with David Vincent during last year’s Summer Slaughter Tour at Irving Plaza in Manhattan.  Great show and no songs from Illud!  Here’s a short video I made of the band playing “Fall From Grace” off their second album, Blessed Are The Sick.  It’s not even two minutes long though because my phone was dying after a long day out.