The Unholy Alliance Tour, 2006-07-08
18/07/06 || Global Domination
This review was written by ex-staffer/cocksmoker JD Provorse.
Introduction by The Lord: JD Provorse quit the site a little while ago but missed us so much he lined up a show-review for us. That’s our fucken boy! We also stole a few pictures for this article from Return To The Pit, just becoz we don’t fucken care and we can do shit like that becoz we are awesome and stuff. These pics aren’t even from the gig covered below, but guess what? We don’t care about that either. Feel free to fucken sue us, we don’t really give a flying penis. Over to JD:
Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul, Minnesota on Saturday, 2006-07-08:
Slayer are the Rolling Stones of thrash. They could stop recording altogether and just tour once a year or so and people would still come out to see them in droves, eager to watch one of the most legendary metal bands of all time once again thrash out their greatest hits. Slayer is such a consistently ass-kicking live band that it pretty much always becomes a matter of the supporting bands to determine whether I’m going to make the ten-hour road trip I typically have to make to see them. This time around, it’s the Unholy Alliance tour, with Slayer headlining above Lamb of God, Mastodon, Children of Bodom, and Thine Eyes Bleed. Being a fan of two of those four bands, and not entirely hating the other two, it seemed like a hell of a way to spend a Saturday. Turns out I was right.
Thine Eyes Bleed kicked off the evening in fine form, exploding out of the gate with their unique blend of Lamb of God and The Haunted stylings and a dash of Canadian metal insanity thrown in for good measure. These guys thrash hard, and if there’s any justice in the world they’ll soon be playing much further up the bill on shows like this. They were tight as hell, and new guitarist Ryann Tunn has clearly busted his ass to get up to speed on the material with the rest of the guys in just the past few weeks since joining the band. The crowd wasn’t huge for them, but they seemed to be liking it. Highlights from the set would be “Cold Victim” (from their debut album “In the Wake of Separation”) and a new tune, called “Dark White”, which might be the best thing they’ve written so far. If you haven’t checked out Thine Eyes Bleed yet, I strongly suggest you do so. And if you’re going to see any of the remaining Unholy Alliance dates in America or Europe, don’t show up late, you don’t want to miss these guys.
Children of Bodom was up next, and I have to admit that I know next to nothing about this band’s music. Sure, I’ve heard them a few times before, but they’ve never caught my ear enough to make me want to hear more. That being said, they put on a hell of a set, nice and tight. Alexi Laiho can wank his fretboard with the best of them, and he did so shamelessly. Whoever that guy is who plays their keyboards is pretty damn good, too. The kids loved the hell out of it, and there was moshing and crowd-surfing galore. Just a thought, though, maybe they want to make the leadguitar and the keyboards sound a bit more different. I often had trouble telling for sure who was playing the leads, like when I was busy checking out all the metal-chicks I wouldn’t be going home with. Interesting sidenote, one of them actually turned out out be Alexi Laiho and not a chick at all. Children of Bodom are still not my thing, and I won’t be running out to buy their records any time soon, but I wouldn’t mind seeing them live again.
The mighty Mastodon took the stage next, and they destroyed as usual. These guys are easily the best new American metal band of the last five years. All the usual suspects were present: “Iron Tusk”, “Megalodon”, “March of the Fire Ants”, “Crusher Destroyer”, “Aqua Dementia”, and “Blood and Thunder”. They also gave us a taste of the upcoming new album “Blood Mountain” in the form of a track called “Circle of Cysquatch”. The crowd ate it up and gave raw energy back. Heaviness, aggression, groove, and great musicianship, Mastodon has it all. Plus Brann Dailor’s drumkit is killer, all skinned in black with white polka-dots and a picture of Randy Rhodes on the bass drum head. How many drummers do you know who have their kit dedicated to a guitar-player? It just doesn’t get much cooler than that. Except, of course, for Troy Sanders stomping away like he’s at an old-time bluegrass-in-the-barn shindig. I damn near pissed myself. It’s nice to see a band having a good time while they’re kicking ass and not looking like they’re about to jump into the crowd and start punching kids in the face.
Up next was Lamb of God, who are about as big as a metal band can get these days. They seem to be pretty much everywhere. This would be the other band on the bill that I didn’t really care about seeing. I’ve got nothing against them at all, they just don’t do it for me. The kids could certainly be listening to much worse stuff, though, so for that sake I’m totally cool with them. Somebody’s gotta suffer the critical slings and arrows inherent to being at the top of the popularity heap, and better it be them than, oh, let’s say Slipknot or Mudvayne or any one of a million other bands. Anyway, once again I know next to nothing about this band, so I can’t really tell you much about how it went other than that they rocked hard and the kids rocked even harder. In fact, the crowd action for Lamb of God was the craziest of the night, bigger and more intense even than what Slayer conjured up. When they played their last song (I think it was “Black Label”) the floor went fucking batshit, and I momentarily feared for my safety. The kids go nuts for this band, and that always makes for a good time at a show. You could have cut the excitement and energy in the air with a two-by-four. Or maybe that was just the humid cloud of smoke and sweat.
By this time I was all jacked up and ready for Slayer, and they didn’t let me down. They played all of two songs from after “Seasons in the Abyss”: “Disciple” from “God Hates Us All” and “Cult”, the first single from the upcoming new album. Everything else was classic Slayer, and they brought their A-game, as usual. I’ve seen Slayer three times now, and they haven’t let me down yet. There’s really not much else to say about it. If you know Slayer, you know what it was. Has anybody ever noticed that no matter how they start off the set, “War Ensemble” has pretty much been the third song in their set since the day they started playing it? It’s pretty much as certain as “Angel of Death” finishing everything off. Oh, one thing of note was the visual side of Slayer’s set this tour. First of all, amp-stacks in the shape of inverted crosses just screams metal. Other than that, it’s just a screen behind them with various imagery thrown onto it: war and death and mutilations and such. Not exactly an original idea, but it’s a nice touch. They incorporate a lot of album artwork and various Slayer-logos and such throughout as well, in case you forget who it is you’re watching and the thousands of people screaming “Slayer” don’t clue you in.
Overall, a good show was had by all involved. I don’t know that the ticket price was justified, but then again, most of that was Ticketbastard’s fault. I payed a full $15 more than the face value of the ticket thanks to their ricockulous convenience fees and such. Oh well, it’s just money I would have wasted on rent or the water-bill or something equally pointless. If I do the math, the total trip cost me about two days worth of wages. I don’t know about you, but if 16 hours on the job can get me 6 hours of good concert, I consider it a fair trade. Then again, my job is barely a job. But, I digress. The point is you should go see the Unholy Alliance tour if you have a chance. There, I’m done for now.