US thrashers Slayer are no strangers to Sonisphere having graced the Apollo Stage last year with a face-melting set but this year the ante has been upped as they return as part of The Big Four. As with Anthrax they are missing one of their number as Jeff Hanneman continues his rehabilitation for a flesh-eating disease thanks to a spider bite! Taking Hanneman’s place alongside Messrs Araya, King and Lombardo was none other than long time Exodus lead guitarist Gary Holt.

Obvioulsy, Hanneman’s absence will have had a few Slayer fans decrying against the decision to continue with the tour but Holt is a more than adequate substitute. The first thing we noticed is that he moves around a hell of a lot more than Hanneman, prowling the stage, switching places with Kerry King and continually banging his head, going some way to make up for the fact that Araya can no longer bang his!

The two previous bands, Anthrax and Megadeth, had well and truly warmed the crowd up and they were now ready to erupt and with a mix greatest hits and tracks from their latest album in the set from Slayer, that’s exactly what they did! To name but a few, ‘War Ensemble’, ‘Dead Skin Mask’, ‘Seasons In The Abyss’, ‘Raining Blood’ and ‘Angel Of Death’ were unleashed with Araya playing the Master of Ceremonies, the crowd obeying his every command!

It was a pure metal onslaught, to which we banged our heads with everyone else until we couldn’t any more and we still had Metallica to come!!! Those religious types have recently been talking about the day of days coming, well today was the day and it was brilliant!

Slayer setlist:
War Ensemble
Hate Worldwide
Dead Skin Mask
Seasons in the Abyss
Mandatory Suicide
Chemical Warfare
South of Heaven
Raining Blood
Black Magic
Angel of Death

Photos by Sabrina Ramdoyal