God Forbid! It's Slayer -and- Slipknot
Slipknot, Slayer and God Forbid in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, August 13th 2004
by: Aaron McKay
Not just Anytown, USA -- this was Cedar Rapids, Iowa. An eastern Iowa river town, C.R. is Iowa's second largest city. Rockwell Collins, General Mills and Quaker Oats are all, in some way, synonymous with this community. On Friday the 13th of August, it was also known for God Forbid, Slipknot and the mighty Slayer.

The tremors started at 7:00 pm. That being the start time -- due to a minor setback at the box office when I arrived to claim my tickets, I missed the initial first notes of the night. I walked into the palatial U.S. Cellular Center around 7:20. This venue is no stranger to me: formerly known as the Five Seasons Center, many a night did I make the trek to Cedar Rapids for a concert. Pantera. Morbid Angel. Metallica. Let's face it, Iowa gets a less-than-par score for chalking up metal acts that visit the state, so when bands come, I go in support.

Catching the opening monolog by God Forbid frontman Byron Davis introducing the killer "Gone Forever" from the Century Media release of the same name, I knew instinctively the force of the evening was already in full effect. Calling it old school thrash, Byron, Doc and Dallas Coyle, John Outcalt and Corey Pierce proceeded to again set the Richter scale needles jumping with their gargantuan live presence and passionate energy.

Mentioning the stellar video for "Antihero" from the _Gone Forever_ effort, Byron shoves forth a defiant middle finger aimed at the song's theme of the inconceivable corruption of others. God Forbid dives into a live version of the track to which the recorded version pales by comparison. As their set time runs short, the band quickly unleashes "Broken Promise" from _Determination_ at just about 7:30. Whipping up the crowd like few bands could before Slayer, God Forbid held their own, certainly blazed new ground in the heartland and won more than a few Iowa fans that night. Catching up to Doc later in the evening, I thanked him for their set and asked, now more than ever, that they always keep in mind the old and new God Forbid fans here in Iowa when hitting the road in the future.

Slayer. A force to be reckoned with in their own right. A juggernaut of epic proportions. A band needing no introduction. Who hasn't heard of these titans of metal? The bigger question is why were they not headlining?! I chalked it up to the fact that maybe, quite possibly, Kerry and the boys traded nights at the top of the bill with Slipknot, this night strategically placing Iowa's own nu-metal act in the closing spotlight while in Cedar Rapids. Whatever the rationale, I focused my energies on seeing Slayer -- my 21st time.

The bell tolls 8:00 pm. The intro to "God Hates Us All" fades in to a deafening roar. Having witnessed this guys in 2002 at the Seven Flags Event Center in Des Moines, I was more than ready to again to sacrifice my (in)sanity at the altar of these legendary madmen.

Never phased by anything, Tom Araya welcomes the crowds after having a plastic bottom bounced from his microphone mere inches from his face. "War Ensemble" screams through U.S. Cellular Center to a wildly frenzied audience.

The quintessential frontman, Araya eyes the pit in front of him, asking if everyone's doin' fine, pausing to make sure. After a minute or so Tom continues on with the show, but not before tipping his hat to those in uniform.

"Who out there has loved ones making the ultimate sacrifice?", asks Slayer's spokesman. The fans respond enthusiastically, shaking the venue nearly to its foundation. "Mandatory Suicide!" comes the answer.

Often referred to as the Slayer love song, "Necrophilia" is up next with a seamless transition into "Seasons in the Abyss". At this point, I wondered to myself quietly in the midst of all the thrashing and commotion caused by the ebb and flow of the crowd around me, how -any- band would want to be put in the position of following Slayer on stage. Kinda like getting clothes from your grandma at Christmas after Santa brings ya a plasma television.

"Stain of Mind" from _Diabolus in Musica_ began as Slayer rumbled into their second half-hour. "Bloodline", "Dead Skin Mask", "Hell Awaits" and an adrenaline infused version of "Payback" broke loose before Jeff, Kerry, Tom and the prodigal drummer Dave Lombardo ducked backstage before the encore.

Returning for "Postmortem", the primed and ready fans cried loudly enough to knock the paint from the walls. "Reign in Blood" and "South of Heaven" preceded the final signature piece to end the set, "Angel of Death".

Never a disappointment, Slayer could always tear down the rafters in any city. In fact, where compulsory and programmed metal seems to have become the flavor of the week, Slayer has never looked back throughout their more than two decades; they are the soil most bands have placed their roots.

The crowd was eager for the headliners, and Des Moines' Slipknot took the stage shortly before 10:00 pm. The Iowa "maggots" rushed the stage as the nine costumed hooligans lead by Corey Taylor filed out of the darkness to take their places.

Belting out "Three Nil" to follow the barrage of opening songs reinvigorated the pit. Taylor inviting fan participation and reliving the days where he was the one in the crowd watching Pantera, Kiss and White Zombie, Slipknot fired away with "Duality", also from _Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses)_.

Corey confirmed my hunch that the last time Slipknot visited Iowa was on the Pledge of Allegiance tour before busting forth with "Disasterpiece" from the album named from their home state, _Iowa_.

As they finished up "Vermilion", a song dedicated to a couple of Corey Taylor's family members who passed away recently, I came to the conclusion that I had enough. I'm not a maggot or even much of fan of Slipknot's style and antics, so about an hour was all I could endure.

As I gathered up those who accompanied me to the show in preparation to leave, I took a quick glance at the guy's shirt immediately in front of me. An older black tattered "T" adorned with the Misfits' silhouetted skull was staring back at me. I looked up to see the over-rehearsed choreography unfolding on stage presently and pondered: is this the direction metal has taken? From Slayer to Slipknot -- who would have thought? Then again, you have to acknowledge the Slayer to God Forbid's connection, as well. Without that last nugget of consolation, my friends, my outlook that particular Friday the 13th would have been far more horrifying.

(article submitted 31/8/2004)


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