Thursday, July 30, 2015

King Diamond & Slayer @ Mayhem Fest 7/29/15 in Atlanta

Mayhem Festival has been getting some bad press about poor ticket sales and I am here to tell you its not trolls or press trying to bad mouth metal, its the truth. Last show I saw at Aaron's Amphitheater was Iron Maiden who sold the place out, this was a harsh contrast, not even half sold I'd say a quarter sold, maybe thirty percent once Slayer came on. The doors opened at one in the afternoon and I had no intention of seeing bands like the Devil Wears Prada or Whitechapel...even Hellyeah is pushing it for me.
My girl friend's finals put us a little behind schedule so we missed the first three King Diamond songs..."The Candle" ,"Sleepless Nights" and "the Eye of the Witch" and got there during "Welcome Home". The first thing I noticed was King's voice sounded great. The stage up was a similar version of what King had when he came through in October. This is my 6th time seeing him so I had a few shows to compare it to. I have seen him in a festival setting before and did not remember the guitar tone sounding like your average wall of chug. Then I realized they had tuned down. At times this made King sound flat as the original notes transposed to the lower key sometimes better than others . King Diamond's set did not have the sort of sound problem's Slayer's had but we will get to that soon enough.
The theatrics were toned down a little no burning coffins. He mainly stuck to acting things out with the dancer who took on multiple roles from Grandma to Miriam. He hit the same songs from his October set, focusing heavily on his three best albums "Them" , "Conspiracy and "Abigail" with "Digging Graves" from " the Graveyard" and two Mercyful Fate songs "Evil" where like you might have seen on the inner webs Kerry King joins them on stage  and "Come to the Sabbath". The final three songs were all from "Abigail"..."the Family Ghost" , July 7th 1777" and "the Black Horsemen". King Diamond was in good spirits about the sad state of affairs, having been somewhat of an outsider from traditional mainstream metal due to his outlandish singing style being an acquired taste, he seemed to be glad to be playing in such a setting, if this had been in Europe it would have been a much larger turn out.
While waiting for Slayer we found some of our friends, and I looked at passing band shirts with the stand outs aside from your more typical fare  being Paradise Lost and Destruction. Then Slayer took the stage with a lot of bombast and pyro, but their sound was thin. It was my first time seeing them with Gary Holt in Jeff's place. The first half of their set was newer stuff which all sounds the same to me. "God Send Death" was the only song that stood out until they hit "War Ensemble". Up until then I was bored by the other Six songs. They had clips of  supposedly gruesome things , but hand's down the movies Morrissey had playing behind him during his show were way more brutal than what Slayer had going . It was during Mandatory Suicide" that  I turned to my girl friend and said "See now this finally sounds like music" and then as if on cue the guitar's cut out .  This was worth a laugh. They also hit "Chemical Warfare" where Tom proved his voice has no held up any where close to King Diamond's, but ignoring the high notes all together. We also caught "Ghosts of War" and left during "Dead Skin Mask".

Is this the state of mainstream metal? Would it made that big of a difference if say Motorhead had been added to the bill? I remember when Slayer would have packed the place out by themselves. Is it because they are pulling a Kiss and only have two original members? It doesn't effect Kiss that much. This was like a Cheap Trick level crowd, where the band is on a Spinal Tap like decline. Kerry King has gone on record blasting the promoters of the tour, but while we got free tickets from a friend, I would have been pissed to have paid money to see Slayer clock in and plod through a set where over half the songs sounded the same. Ticket went down to 7 dollars day of the show,  the cost of seeing a local band. It's a sad state of affairs. The first video I posted of the show in Arizona shows this was not just in Atlanta , who is notorious for low turn outs. At the end of the summer I'll take a look at the other big tours and show you how they fared when the numbers come in and see where metal is heading.

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