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Concert Reviews:
Rob Zombie, Slayer bring heavy metal heaven to fans at DTE

for Journal Register Newspapers

Posted: Saturday, July 23, 2011

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INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- It may be called the Hell On Earth Tour, but it was more like heaven for the headbangers who showed up the disparate bill of Rob Zombie and Slayer on Friday night (July 22) at the DTE Energy Music Theatre.

The two acts certainly come from different sides of the heavy metal divide; Slayer is as Spartan and straightforward as Zombie is theatrical and flamboyant. Nevertheless, the two managed to complement rather than compete -- or contradict -- and give the crowd that braved the heat and filled about two-thirds of DTE exactly what it wanted.

And even more, actually. Following a muscular half-hour opening set by fellow thrash veterans Exodus, Slayer ran about 20 minutes late, and following a lengthy 40-minute break "to make sure all our (stuff) was set up right," Zombie was pushing DTE's 11 p.m. curfew. But even at $1,000 for every minute over, he told the fans that "it's Detroit, I'll (expletive) pay it" rather than cutting his set short. The guy knows how to win over a crowd.

And he knows how to entertain. Though not too different from his other two visits to the metro area in less than two years, Zombie's show remains a vanguard of visual assault, with so much going on at the same time -- extensive videos, special effects, large-scale interactive puppets and pyrotechnics (particularly fire) along with Zombie and his frenetic four-piece band -- it's hard to know where to look at any given moment. Though he did make a couple concessions to the impending curfew, deleting one sung and shortening Ginger Fish's drum solo, there was no let-up in the 70-minute show's energy.

Zombie and company, including Detroit-born guitarist John5 (ne Lowery) romped through a selection of the best of his grooving, electro-flavored hard rock, including "Jesus Frankenstein," "Superbeast," "Living Dead Girl," "More Human Than Human," "Never Gonna Stop" and "Mars Needs Women." An array of colored balls were rolled out into the pavilion during the glammy "Sick Bubblegum," while Zombie hopped offstage and walked through the crowd, all the way up to the lawn and back, while John5 soloed during White Zombie's "Thunderkiss '65."

Slayer, meanwhile, delivered its particular brand of thrash in characteristically unvarnished fashion. With Exodus' Gary Holt filling in for Jeff Hanneman, who's battling the flesh-eating disease necrotizing fasciitis, the group powered through 70 minutes of precision shredding, a typically brutal exposition that had mosh pits going on the hill from the first notes of "World Painted Blood." The quartet used its time efficiently, too; with just a few thank-yous from singer-bassist Tom Araya, it jammed 15 songs into its time on stage, loading it with doomy favorites such as "Hate Worldwide," "Mandator Suicide," "Seasons in the Abyss" and "Snuff" as well as "Raining Blood" and "Angel of Death" from its landmark 1986 album "Reign in Blood."

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