With no fewer than four furious slam-dance circles operating simultaneously on the Olympic Auditorium floor, an uninformed patron might have thought it was just another Olympic punk extravaganza. But the headliner Friday was Slayer, one of speed-metal's most popular and controversial outfits.
At a time when many heavy-metal bands sound more like hard-core punks and vice-versa, Slayer is establishing itself as one of the most brutally dynamic speed-metal warriors. Standing in front of the L.A. quartet's barrage of crunch guitars and mile-a-minute drum fills is a physically draining experience, but it's also an exhilarating one--if you can take the band's extreme death and devil imagery with a grain of salt. Unlike most speed demons, Slayer has the instrumental prowess and imagination to make its material work live.
Second-billed Metal Church blew in like a hurricane, but after several songs its hackneyed brand of speed-metal revealed a band going nowhere fast.