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I purchased this DVD way back when I first got into metal. At the time I was obsessed with Slayer (and naïve, might I add) and thus I was completely happy upon viewing it.
As time has gone on however, I’ve matured and not only listened to much more metal, but also have had the opportunity to watch plenty of metal DVDs. Looking back on War at the Warfield, I can’t say the same thing now as when I first viewed the DVD. While I am still a huge Slayer fan, I’ve come to realize their DVDs are not exactly great. In fact, they’re far from it.
The one thing that stands out to me about War at the Warfield is the fan section. Holy shit it’s hilarious. I mean, I consider myself to be a big Slayer fan, but I’ll be fucked if I ever act like such a ridiculous moron as the people did on the DVD. I know they selected that footage for the very reason that it’s “extreme” and that it will sell better and garner the most reaction, but man, I don’t know how some people can be so… ridiculous, especially over a BAND; it’s the one word that continually enters my mind when I think of those people. Anyway, the fan section is definitely funny and I always make a point to watch it when I play the DVD to remind myself that no matter how much I love metal, I’ll never be as ridiculous as those people.
The DVD lacks special features. It’s Slayer’s first DVD and they don’t have much content, which I always find disappointing. I’d like to think a band such as Slayer would have a large collection of material from their years of touring and random appearances. I understand they were releasing Soundtrack to the Apocalypse a few months later and included various and rare footage with that, but they could’ve included some more stuff on this release. The music video is a nice addition, but so what? It’s nothing special and even if it was, it wouldn’t be enough to save the DVD. The interview is alright but again nothing special. It would’ve been a lot better if other interviews were included, or if it was longer.
For the most part, to me the DVD seems to function primarily as a tool to sell God Hates Us All, probably because sales were diminishing two years later, and to hype up the tour. I purchased the disc after I bought the CD, and I didn’t see Slayer in concert (that year, anyway).
Now onto the meat of the DVD: the concert. It was my first time seeing Slayer play live, even before actually seeing them live. My initial reaction of course at the time was that it was awesome, and to this day my opinion has only slightly changed. Tom’s voice has always been a thing for me; it’s degraded quite a bit over the years, and I understand that it’s inevitable, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. His vocals aren’t his worse here (his vocal performance in London, Ontario was pretty brutal), but I’ve heard better from relatively the same time period. When they opened for Judas Priest at the Molson Amphitheatre in July 2004, Tom’s voice sounded surprisingly good.
The setlist is awesome. I dislike the abundance of songs from God Hates Us All, but I understand why they are there. It’s nice to see some other songs from the “forgotten” albums of Slayer, namely Dittohead and Stain of Mind. I happen to quite enjoy Diabolus in Musica and Stain of Mind is one of my favourite songs from that album, so seeing it on the setlist is a plus. It would have been nicer if they included more from Show No Mercy, but they don’t play a lot of songs from that album, even nowadays. Die by the Sword is a sweet song, but Black Magic would have been better. All the “must haves” are there as usual, such as Mandatory Suicide, Seasons in the Abyss, Captor of Sin, etc., and of course they finish with Angel of Death.
The sound quality is pretty good, and it’s nice the concert is in 5.1 surround sound, which I always take advantage of (and it makes a difference).
In the end there’s nothing incredibly redeeming about this DVD. The fan section is worth a few good laughs, and the live performance contributes nicely. Aside from that that though, there’s nothing else worth watching. The music video can be downloaded in five minutes, and probably the interview too, or just go to Youtube.
If you’re a huge Slayer fan I recommend buying this. Otherwise I suggest passing this up for something with more value.
This must be what fans have been waiting for and undoubtedly rekindles the fires of their past live offerings. The main attraction of this DVD is yet another bold and terrifyingly energetic performance from the band, which is just what fans would expect. Inlcuded also is a rather hilarious 50 minute documentary, full of stupid fans doing stupid stuff, a video for the God Hates Us All cut "Bloodline" and a rather small photo gallery.
This performance lives up to Slayer's reputation and follows on in the tradition of the live masterpiece of "Decade of Aggression". They manage to get through a good set of generally regarded "classics" and some of the better songs from "God Hates Us All". Though I would love more than just the title track to be played from the Hell Awaits album, which makes Slayer's live releases an eternally frustrating experience in addition to one of reverence. They are still on top form here, with hiccups and improvisation here and there never hurting the material.
They stamp their authority all over the Warfiled and both band and crowd are frantically feeding off each other's energy. Inclusion of some questionable material, of which Diabolus In Musica's lackluster "Stain of Crap" is firmly accused of being doesn't bring down the set much, but like most live offerings all falls under the banner of opinion. There is never a setlist that can truly satisfy everybody, and while this one is very good with some favourites making an appearance (Postmortem, Chemical Warfare etc etc etc) leaves off several other crucial numbers. At least in my opinion.
After the blazing live performance, Slayer's DVD still has one surprise left in the form of a documentary. Basically this is a collection of some of the stupidest and craziest fans ever seen, some interviews with a bunch of aging gits (also known as "the band") and many laughs along the way. I give credit to this for the sheer absurdity of some of the folk presented here: fantatical fans willing to self mutilate on Tom Araya's command, a girl pondering which band member would be a better fuck, one man who's inner demon bears the name Jim Carrey and another girl who would kill herself if one of the band members would want to have sex with her corpse. Madness, utter madness (also including guests in the form of Scott Ian and rather randomly, Kirk Hammet) and well worth seeing for the comedy value, I watch the DVD more for this than the live show. Rounding off this release, the "Bloodline" video is well directed and produced but is built upon one of the more annoying tracks on GHUA. Stick a proper solo in there and it might have been okey, but no... I digress.
Fans of the band will like this DVD which stays true to Slayer's uncompromising and brutal live show. Those who want a laugh will apply for the documentary too. Not the perfect DVD release but one that will definitely please Slayer fans' cravings for more.
Normally I don't buy DVD's because they typically suck, especially live ones. Seeing as this was slayer though I was hoping for an extreme show buy them, instead I got a pile of shit for a DVD. First of all the video quality was horrible. Maybe it was my DVD player but the lighting really fucks up the quality of the DVD and made it a pain to watch.
The setlist for the DVD was also not that great apart from having a few better songs from Reign in Blood and the fact they remembered classics, but I think we could do without some useless tracks on the DVD. I felt myself skipping through a lot of songs on it because they're either shitty songs and my eyes started to hurt from all the color, watching it was like asking for a seizure. Overall the setlist could have been much better.
One benifit is that slayer did play some classics, including Die by the Sword from Show No Mercy, Angel of Death, War Ensamble, South of Heaven, and others, but that doesn't really get it off as a good DVD. It was still a complete pile of steaming cowshit. I was not impressed with this dvd in any way shape or form.
Oh and what about the action? I thought Slayer ruled live. When I saw them live, and when I saw this DVD both shows sucked. Nothing really happens that's interesting. It's just like every other band playing live. What makes live slayer any better? Especially when their lights try to give you a seizure.
I would avoid this DVD. While it may be slayer live on DVD it's still shit. I can't believe I made an idiot of myself to be so gullible to spend $20 on a live slayer DVD. I warn everyone to stay away. Maybe the new DVD is better, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
So, finally a DVD from Slayer...
Let's begin with the advantages: The quality is awesome. The guitars sound extremely heavy and sharp, the bass is audiable, drums are also very well. All together, the istruments sound brilliant. Take Raining Blood and its e-power chord interlude - its just crushing! Or War Ensemble, which - when it comes to the music - sounds better then on SITA. The visual quality is also professional - but that's no surprise.
The setlist is very good - contains some better songs from GHUA (Disciple destroys live!), a few songs from their more recent albums (although I would love to hear more of Divine Intervention than just Dittohead... it's a good song, but what about Serenity in murder for example?) and ofcourse their all-time classics - check the discography and you will know. As I said - I like this setting, but there are some songs that could be great here: Spirit in black, Silent Scream, Kill Again or Black Magic for instance...
Slayer's on-stage appearance is very good. They don't jump all around but they don't need to - it's their music that does it all. Kerry may look a bit funny banging his bald head though ;). Tom rerely introduces upcoming tracks and speaks very little, but it's Slayer - they simply go there to play the music - not to have a conversation. So that's good.
So what about the drawbacks? Well, first of all - Tom's voice... I know that getting older cannot be avoided, but on this release he sounds particulary ..tired, not old! Ofcourse, you cannot overlook the enormous changes in his voice as he got older, but it's normal. In this case he screams as if it was very tough thing to do - I'm not saying that it's easy, no! But compare this to their older live recordings. On the other hand - he still sounds good in many songs. His much lower voice fits to the newer songs, but also Dead Skin Mask or Die by the sword sound ok. Im not expecting him to scream like he used to in Angel of death (he actually does it quite good on this one, even though its obviously not that famous high-pitched scream), but what about War Ensemble? I hope his voice improves on the new album!
But frankly that's nothing we can blame Slayer for... They still rock and kick ass. So why 75, not 85? Well, I don't really like the "too professional" production of the dvd. Ofcourse, it sounds great, but you can hardly hear any audience - you cannot see them too often either! That's quite disappointing, because Slayer is well known of the moshpits during their gigs. Take Sepultura's Under Siege - moshing, chanting with the band or the crowd singing the lyrics can be heard very good while the quality remains perfect!
As I said before - the sound quality is awesome, but there's the same problem that the Decade of Agression had - Jeff's guitar is too silent! It's not that you can't hear him - you can perfectly capture his sound, but I think that it should be more balanced. At least its not like on DoA, where Kerry dominated the whole thing. On the other hand, despite being a better guitarist (imo), Jeff plays his solos less accurately. If it was some kind of improvisation - it would be great - but how can we call Slayer's solos improvisation :P? (there are some good though). For instance - Seasons in the abyss has one of the best solos and - ofcourse - Jeff plays it like all their up-the-neck-and-down leads. No original melody, just plain chromatic ride...
There is also the (in)famous Fans rule section... Well I have some (very) mixed feelings about that. I liked the interviews, the moshing scenes (something which the actual video lacked of) and the general idea, but those fans are (mainly) - idiots. For example that fat teenager that screams "slaaayerr" at the end: "you know...stuff... you know...well..you know..stuff"... O_o. Anyway - this could have been a lot better. I would prefer to see some backstage stuff, more interviews - maybe something more about the gig, the instruments - etc...
If you are a Slayer fan - get it. If you're not...get it also - it sounds great and can be a nice show to watch. But don't expect to get the atmosphere of a real concert. Not here...
So, is this DVD concert the closest thing to actually seeing Slayer live? Well, probably, but listening to the live CD Decade of Aggression is still more fun.
There's a pretty good list of songs on this concert, but still could have been better: I was kinda disappointed that the twins, Altar of Sacrifice and Jesus Saves, with those magic riffs, weren't there. And some typical 80's sing-along classics like The Antichrist and Blood Red would have been nice, too. They could have left out shit like that Mr. Bean's disco-beat Stain of Mind from the Assholus in Shittus album (thank GOD they only played one song). And instead of playing so many songs from God Hates Us All, they could have played more from Divine Intervention. But I guess this is a God Hates Us All tour, yeah. Most of their other best songs are there, although there are no 80's era songs which didn't already appear on Decade of Aggression. They sure gave a good run on the songs from the album God Hates Us All.
The performance is nowhere near as great as Decade of Aggression. They have changed the structure and pace of some songs for the worse, and there's a bit too much bass in the guitar sounds; they don't sound so trashy and shredding anymore; they just sound very heavy. But the worst part... sorry Tom, you're the man, but you've had much better days. I don't know if he's been smoking, drinking, doing blowjobs for crack or yelling too much on God Hates Us All, but he sure sounds here like old Jasper from The Simpsons. When he yells, his voice is much growlier and less "screamy" (less "puberty breaks") than back in the 90's live CD - I'm not into the girl screaming he did on the first album, Show No Mercy, but I his normal screaming sounded better before; it sounded easier for him. I don't think he can scream like he screamed on Show No Mercy anymore, since he can't even get the legendary Angel of Death scream right; instead of a high pitched scream, it sound like he's trying to do an impression on Cannibal Corpse. It sounds like he's either getting too old or getting a cold. Some of the songs are not as good without this old screaming, but the newer songs and the growlier songs like Dead Skin Mask and Seasons in the Abyss don't suffer much from this.
I'll name the biggest problem in the whole concert. I'm so relieved they didn't forget to play my personal fucking favorite, War Ensemble! Some sections are slower, but that didn't bother me much, as the riffs are so goddamn delicious, and fortunately they neither forgot how to play the solos. But... TOM FORGOT TO SING PARTS OF THE CHORUS!!!!!! You know, where he goes "Sport the war!!! War support!!!", EXCEPT the first time the chorus is played, he forgets to sing the "Sport the war" part, and the other two times he forgets to sing the "War support" part. I feel like something is missing from my favorite song! I was also disappointed about Seasons in the Abyss, because the long almost-2-minute intro is missing, and the way it sounds, it always brings a very welcome variation to the hard and mercyless trashing. Well at least my real favorite song, Raining Blood is nearly flawless.
The performance I was most satisfied with, must be the kick-ass Die By the Sword. The new songs, such as Bloodline and Disciple, sound great, and other good performances were Postmortem, Hell Awaits and Captor of Sin. Angel of Death doesn't disappoint me, except for the missing "AAANGEL OF DEEEAAATH..." scream in the beginning and that unsuccessful "AAAAA..." scream. They solos in the concert are excecuted well, although once Hanneman goes like "I don't really remember how this went... so I'll fucking finish it off quickly!"
What you see is just the band playing and moshing like hell. There's pentagrams and devils, but there's no bullshit on the stage like the fucking naked gargoyle man or the vampiressess in Cradle of Filth's DVD, although I otherwise loved that concert.
There's not a shitload of extras on this DVD: a very short photogallery, the Bloodline music video, and the 50-minute documentary, which is great and will make you laugh the shit out of yourself. The fuckumentary has interesting interviews with Araya, Hanneman and King, and they're all really funny guys; Araya has some great jokes, King just looks and has always hilarious, and Hanneman seems to be most interested of beer and boobs, and we even get some chit-chat from Metallica's Kirk Hammet and Anthrax's ridiculous vocalist. There are many interviews with uh... "fans", and it's really funny but also worrying - well in fact it's shocking, to see how stupid people there really can exist. There's not a single smart one among the 20-30 fans they interview - they're all so fucked up in the head I feel sorry for them. They all think satanism is cool, some of them like nazis, and they claim they would mutilate themselves if Tom Araya told them to. One poor sucker says he would not be alive anymore without Slayer since he has nothing else to live for, another idiot goes on screaming "SLAYEEERR!!! SLAYEEERRR!!!" like a lunatic, a father who brings his 11-year old son to a Slayer concert and raises him to sport satanism and nazism, and then there's this guy who talks and looks like he escaped from a mental institution or something. So if you thought Limp Bizkit fans were fucked up, then these people are one hundred times more fucked up in the head! It's better than the Ricki Lake Show! Fucking hilarious stuff!
This isn't apparently even close to the best Slayer concert, but if you wanna SEE Slayer then this is a must-have, plus the few extras which are very entertaining. This was the first chance for me to actually see Slayer, since I regretfully never have been to a Slayer concert.