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The fan section is hilarious - 64%

Bonesnap, February 25th, 2008

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.