Download Melbourne farewells Slayer
After releasing a 28 minute record in 1986 on Def Jam records Slayer took the world by storm producing one of the most loved thrash metal albums of all time.
Now more than 30 years later Slayer took to the stage to play their final Melbourne performance in front of thousands of screaming fans at Download Festival in Melbourne.
It was interesting to see how the crowd left the Judas Priest stage at the end of the set to try and squeeze over to see Slayer's last Melbourne gig.
As in other cities the crowd were focused on the inverted crosses turning on a red screen, the band launching into the first notes of the gig.
With unrelenting force they started with the single focused intensity they are so well known for.
It was incredible to witness the band play over three capital cities and not once did the band let up on the intensity.
Tom Araya was ever watchful though - his countless years of experience showing as he kept his eye on the pyro and crowd, security and anyone else.
It always strikes me with interest how he is so thoughtful, upbeat and at ease when he helms one of the most fierce and recognised bands on the planet.
But this is exactly what makes him so good to watch as he unleashes the cry for War Ensemble.
Gary Holt and Kerry King were fired up and punching through the songs standing right on the edge of stage.
The band tore through Blood Red, Disciple, War Ensemble, Jihad and tracks like Postmortem.
It is meant to be a brutal, unrelenting onslaught with signature time changes, fiery solos, mind blowing drums and Tom Araya's highly identifiable voice.
The audience loved every second.
This was Slayer at their best with fan favourites of Seasons in the Abyss, Hell Awaits and South of Heaven,
Kerry King was a picture of complete focus and ferocity, his arms bulging as he shredded through notes and very much maintaining command on the left side of stage.
Gary Holt was an absolute pleasure to watch with his solos providing eye watering note perfection and just generally a vibe that he was loving every minute being on stage.
It doesn't matter how many times you have seen Slayer, they continue to push the boundaries of their music and performance never letting up the intensity, never compromising and never letting their fans down.
Having said that Judas Priest, Alice in Chains and Anthrax all provided incredible sets with the audiences relishing every moment at the main stages.
While many bands snuck in small tributes either with guitar licks or brief covers to Ozzy it was sad not to see the Dark Prince in Australia.
However festival punters were completely satisfied with what was on offer.
Anthrax ripping into Cowboys From Hell got all the 90's metalheads fired up and racing to the stage.
Hearing Pantera be played again at volume in a festival brings to light the incredible gap left by the Abbott brothers following their passing.
But the old guards of thrash certainly delivered to massive crowds.
Interestingly, Alien Weaponary pulled the biggest crowd through the day for the Ascension Stage which is no small feat considering the stage is tucked away on the far side of the ground.
Their reputation has preceded them and headbangers young and old were absolutely loving their groove and 90's style riffing.
Aversions Crown and Thy Art is Murder provided a bucketful of deathcore breakdowns, while Polaris drew a giant crowd at the Dogtooth Stage.
Thy Art is Murder continue to redefine the boundaries of heavy with songs like Holy War providing teeth shattering intensity.
One of the more local, distinct acts was Twelve Foot Ninja.
Twelve Foot Ninja were the most prog acts on the bill but their talent, stage presence and energy were fantastic to watch and a welcome change to the more thrash or deathcore sounds on the bill.
It was a really fun set, that was unpredictable, high octane and heavy.
While they have been on the scene for some time they are definitely a band to watch as the passion and intensity and the professionalism all signal for something amazing to come out of this camp.
Code Orange was the most raw act of the day, with a highly aggressive hardcore infused sound.
With a drummer, and keyboard vocalist duo, and a very active bass player it was easy to stay transfixed.
Not for everyone but definitely if you like your Bronx hardcore style mixed with a bit of deathcore, and elctro.
New Years Day were a great nu-metal, goth fusion that some punch but were ultimately a great addition to the lineup.
The cover of Pantera's Hostile was very unique and almost unrecognisable with clean singing.
The got the crowd going early.
Converge, War on Women, and Ghost were all top acts performing dynamic sets.
Congratulations must be given to Download festival organisers for not messing with the set-up too much from last year.
It is so easy to change things for the sake of it.
This year the RIP VIP area was expanded and provided great viewing access of the Black Main Stage.
Ascension Stage is a bit of a hike, but the layout of the food trucks and seating area worked well as in last year.
The only catch was lines could be a little long especially around five o'clock.
But it is a catch twenty-two.
Too many food trucks and some operators are left wanting.
Overall Flemington works extremely well, the layout is exceptional, transport easy and a brilliant selection of bands.