SLAYER / LIVE: DECADE OF AGGRESSION 12 inch
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Decade of Aggression is Slayer's live double disc. It was recorded in 1990 and 1991, with mobile units in Lakeland, FL, at Wembley Arena in London, and in San Bernardino. A live set from this band is risky business because it's Slayerlive that gained an international reputation for taking on all comers and ripping them to shreds on a stage. The fear is simply that the audio recording alone -- without the subsequent live DVDs they've issued -- won't capture the sheer overblown intensity of the unit in a concert setting. The bad news is that it doesn't; the good news is that it comes a lot closer than one might imagine before hearing it. It's a double live album that approaches the league of Ted Nugent'sDouble Live Gonzo!, the Who's Live at Leeds, and the Allman Brothers' At Fillmore East when it comes to representing a band perfectly. This is the original incarnation of Slayer with blastbeat progenitor Dave Lombardobeating hell out of the drum kit, guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman, and vocalist/bassist Tom Araya. They run through the material on virtually all of their studio albums to that point, going all the way back to 1983's Show No Mercywith the tracks "The Anti-Christ" and "Black Magic." While it's true that the majority of the tunes here come from South of Heaven, Reign in Blood, and Seasons in the Abyss, that's as it should be, reflecting live the band's compositional and overdriven blend of thrash, hardcore, and classic death metal. Producer Rick Rubin stays out of the way; his production seems to be in terms of shaping the live sound to make it sound like this is all one gig. It's exhilarating ("South of Heaven") and exhausting ("Dead Skin Mask"), and by the time they get to "Angel of Death" closing the first disc, most listeners will be drained. That said, disc two is just as furious, with classic Slayer performances of "Born of Fire," "Spirit in Black," and the closer, "Chemical Warfare." Decade of Aggression is a record for any serious Slayer fan to own, and one that serves as a fine -- if excessive -- introduction to any late bloomers out there.