The twice-delayed Canadian Carnage tour finally found its way to the Moncton Coliseum on Tuesday night, bringing heavy metal legends Slayer and Megadeth together for a much anticipated evening of American metal, much to the delight of those in attendance. Megadeth and Slayer co-headlined this tour; each band played a 70-minute set with neither band (unfortunately) taking an encore.
After a strong opening set by Testament, Megadeth took the stage to thunderous applause before tearing into their opening song (Holy Wars). From there, the group tackled the remainder of their 1990 landmark record Rust In Peace with such precision that I wouldn’t have blamed anybody for thinking that they might have been playing to backing tracks.
Their technical ability is truly astonishing, especially in the live setting. Leaving barely enough time to catch their breaths between songs, the group did not take anything in the way of a significant break until the 50-minute mark, when Megadeth leader Dave Mustaine paused to acknowledge the crowd and implored them to sing along to one of the group’s newer songs. Their entire set was well received by the crowd, while the biggest applause was reserved for earlier Megadeth standards Peace Sells … But Who’s Buying, and Symphony Of Destruction. With audience participation – including air guitar and air drum accompaniment by hundreds in the audience – it was clear Megadeth was well-received by the crowd … until Slayer took the stage.
Opening with two tracks from their latest record, World Painted Blood, Slayer brought the intensity of the evening to a whole new level. Backed by a wall of Marshall amplifiers, the California-based band proceeded to flawlessly tear through their Seasons In The Abyss record. Once that was under their belts, they hauled out classic tracks like South Of Heaven, Raining Blood, and Angel of Death. While none of the Slayer members are slouches in their respective roles, kudos have to be given to drummer Dave Lombardo – he didn’t falter once throughout the group’s intense show. With a mosh pit occupying a large portion of the floor throughout their set, Slayer had the Coliseum crowd in the palm of their hands for the duration.
While both groups were undeniably tight, the preciseness of Slayer’s live sound walked all over Megadeth. Many parts of Megadeth’s set were troubled by muddy vocals and drums that seemed to wash into the mix of everything else. Slayer (or their sound-man, more precisely) had everything set and balanced perfectly, making for a much more enjoyable show. Not one Slayer guitar solo, drum accent or cymbal crash went unnoticed and ultimately, this gave them the upper hand that evening.