“War At The Warfield” (remaster) by Slayer

Artist: Slayer
Title: “War At The Warfield” (remaster)
Label: Columbia Records
Release Date: 8/17/2010
Genre: Thrash Metal
Rating: 4/5

While this is historically the first Slayer DVD to ever be released it is actually the second long form concert video that they had done since it was preceded by the long unavailable VHS release “Live Intrusion”. Originally released in 2004, and recorded during the bands 2001 tour for “God Hates Us All”, this DVD was also out of print until the recent 2010 re-issue. The fans that missed this the first time around should be aware that the drummer for the video is Paul Bostaph who had replaced Dave Lombardo in the lineup. Bostaph is good and a very aggressive drummer, but as you watch the video you might quickly realize that some of the super sonic speed we loved so much from Lombardo is not present. That is in no way a slight to Paul’s playing, as Dave is pretty much a drummer without peer when it comes to how Slayer music is played. The rest of the guys are still in the lineup and that is of course Tom Araya, Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman who maintain course over the Thrash Metal crazed minions in front of them at the Warfield.

Since “God Hates Us All” was the album of the time, it gets the larger presentation and gives the crowd five tunes while its predecessor “Diabolicus In Musica” only gets a single song. That was fine by me since the latter mentioned release was Slayer’s “cover album” where they offered homage to music that was special to them. For the show the bands playing is tight and the stage does not look all that huge which makes one feel that the group was performing in a more intimate space than one might have been used to seeing them in. This was clearly no arena setting, and since I was not totally following them at the time of this show, I am unsure if the band was playing such places during this point in their history. I don’t say this disrespectfully of course because it is true that many Metal bands of note moved to mid-sized venues after the whole Grunge movement had ended. Looking deeper into the bands set list, the tunes from “Seasons In The Abyss” were among my favorites as well as some of the way back older stuff like “Captor Of Sin” and “Hell Awaits”. Yes I would have loved hearing Dave throttle my senses for them, but Paul was really proving to be an amazing addition to the lineup. Sometimes there is a little bit of a perceived slowness to tunes like “Angel Of Death” and “Chemical Warfare” but I think only the most absolute expert in the bands medium can best quantify this. The rest of the world will hardly notice based on their being too busy enjoying the presentation. The crowd banter is limited and this is par for the course at a Slayer show. It’s more about driving the people in the mosh pit to the point of insanity and then leaving them screaming for more if they even have a breath left in their body. I am kind of thankful for this being the case as some bands talk and talk and talk and I would prefer tunes to speeches any day. The audio production of the video is rather sound and this would make a good CD release when it comes down to it. However, the visuals leave a little to be desired. It is a constant flurry of flashing lights and cameras switching from member to member. It becomes very easy to lose ones focus and get a little bit of a headache from it. Yes Slayer does a lot of light flips during their shows, but I have found that the mind absorbs it differently when you are right there in the mix.

This is the exact same release that came out in 2004 and hence that means the bonus features are the same as well. There is an amusing fan section that shows us just what Slayer means to them, and you will watch this from minute one until it ends. It was great to find this film being re-released as it didn’t need to go away in the first place. The continued popularity of Slayer and their ever growing Metal relevance will find a whole new audience touring their attention to it I am sure. “War At The Warfield” is available as a separate piece or can be purchased as a boxed set with its two brothers “Live Intrusion” and “Reign In Blood”. Choose your poison wisely.

Track Listing:
1. Disciple
2. War Ensemble
3. Stain Of Mind
4. New Faith
5. Postmortem
6. Raining Blood
7. Hell Awaits
8. Here Comes The Pain
9. Die By The Sword
10. Dittohead
11. Bloodline
12. God Send Death
13. Dead Skin Mask
14. Seasons In The Abyss
15. Captor Of Sin
16. Mandatory Suicide
17. Chemical Warfare
18. South Of Heaven
19. Angel Of Death

Official Website: http://www.slayer.net

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