The "Fucking Slayer!!!" chant is ringing through Knebworth. Everybody wants one of the loudest, hardest, scariest thrash bands ever on the stage right now. After a bit of incitement from the Sonisphere MC, he delivers the standard, "be careful out there" and "help each other up" warnings to the pit that is already heaving. The chants get louder, the heaving in the moshpit is getting stronger and horns are in the air all the way back to the sound booth...and it is still at least another twenty minutes before they will come on.
Finally the band is out and the crowd explodes before the first chord is struck. Gary Holt (Exodus) is standing in for Jeff Hanneman who is currently recovering from a flesh eating bacteria, possibly caused by a spider bite on his arm. Tom Araya(bass/vocals) stand there with a beaming smile, taking it all in, Kerry King(guitar) is ready to shred his fingers off and Dave Lombardo(drums) stretches out. The band is on top form and ready to deliver the gig of a lifetime.
Slayer blasts off with the classic 'God Hates us All' and Araya has his trademark beaming smile whilst delivering the curse. If you didn't know or understand Araya's view of faith, you would probably assume that Satan himself was standing there. Well, perhaps it was, as even the rain has stopped now!
Holt was obviously the right person for the job. Wielding his blood spattered axe, he keeps up with Kings shredding and delivered an awesome set. Araya comments that love is in the air and it's time for a love song, before blasting into 'Mandatory Suicide'.
Slayer continued to crash through classics like 'Raining Blood' and 'Angel of Death'. This was definitely one of the best Slayer performances I have witnessed lately; and Gary Holt delivered some of his best shredding just to keep up with King.
There is a fresh and relentless wave of energy flowing through the crowd, the moshpit is still heaving after the band has left the stage; and with Slayer on top-form, this will be an extremely hard act to follow if not nigh on impossible, except if your band happens to consist of James, Lars, Rob and Kirk off course.
It's game on, 'tallica!!