Slayer's Kerry King
Slayer's Kerry King (Photo by Sandy Carson)
Eyehategod (Photo by Sandy Carson)

Auditorium Shores, Nov. 4-6

Doomriders Friday on the Black stage careened with reckless abandon into Fun Fun Fun Fest and Transmission Entertainment's refreshing belief in metal as indie-hip. Front-and-center-man Nate Newton, whose day jobs include bass in Boston stranglers Converge, screamed guitar and vox like Dave Grohl's rabid little bro on 1970s rock adrenalized by death, thrash, and hardcore trappings now two albums in. Dead Horse, meanwhile – Saturday – rose from the grave (Houston) as if 1990s Austin still thrived on Sixth Street at Steamboat and the Black Cat. Older and thicker, the combo still slows that same era's hair metal tempos to a post-rock wrecking ball, and in pulling out its locally hatched cover of the B-52s' "Rock Lobster" (mere days after its originators cooked it at Stubb's), Dead Horse's sense of fun, fun, fun endured in only the reunited group's third show. A gray Sabbath finally flooded FFFF with metallurgy for the cathartically challenged. New Orleans legacies Eyehategod splattered sludgy cauterization as heavy as the endless train hauling rocks behind them on the bridge. Within Mike Williams' post-hate screams writhed a certain calm, churned thereafter by New York grindhouse Cannibal Corpse. Here, too, the vocal butcher proved the focal point, with George Fisher's hair windmills going round and round like a titanic propeller. Slayer's Tom Araya no longer does the same with his mane, but if ever there reigned a metal god of ancient American tribalism, the Palestine, Texan's lordly look fit the entire weekend's bill. Even riff massacre Kerry King palled around uncharacteristically with replacement second guitarist Gary Holt of Exodus at Dave Lombardo's drum throne. Almost a full decade after the thrash pioneers' last local bloodbath, the open-air dispersal of Slayer's savage lightning shitstorm annihilated any past indoor containment. "War Ensemble," "Disciple," "Dead Skin Mask," "Mandatory Suicide," "Hell Awaits," "South of Heaven," and "Raining Blood": all the hits, very few tits, plus prime cuts from the group's most recent catalog classic, World Painted Blood (an opening salvo of the title track and "Hate Worldwide" and, mercifully, "Snuff"). When the "Angel of Death" finalized Slayer's 90-minute reign in blood-simple aggression, thrash's Rolling Stones – as opposed to Metallica's Beatles – had left no tomb unturned.

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