Anyone who has ever been to, or seen (War at the Warfield) a live Slayer performance can agree on one word to describe it: Chaos.
Following the release of their acclaimed 'Seasons in the Abyss', Slayer has blessed us all with another unholy album, and call it their greatest hits if you must. 'Decade of Aggression' lives up to its name, showcasing live tracks from 'Show No Mercy' up until 'Seasons in the Abyss'. It's painfully obvious sometimes to know that this is the 'Seasons in the Abyss' tour because some of the songs (Ex: 'Blood Red' and 'Born of Fire') are all good in their own right, but most likely would not appear during another Slayer tour.
From the opening chants of 'Slayer!' over and over, you can only smile and wish you were there. And what better way to soothe the crowds chants then to kick off with some backwards talking off of 'Hell Awaits'' What 'Decade of Aggression' really has going on for it that will go unnoticed more than likely is the fact that Slayer has arranged the list of songs in such an order that they 'flow' right into each other. It's done so well that it bothers me to listen to 'Hell Awaits' without immediately having 'The Anti-Christ' come blaring in right afterwards. Another great example of this would be that near the end of 'Raining Blood', right after Tom yells, 'Now I shall reign in blood!' they pause for a second, before they blast right into 'Alter of Sacrifice'. All of these songs are complimented with a song that picks up right where it left off, or slows it down, such as 'South of Heaven' following 'War Ensemble'.
As for the live versions of the songs, all of them are done exceptionally well. Yes, there are slip-ups, such as some missed vocals during the chorus of 'South of Heaven', and one or two skipped notes here or there on 'Angel of Death'. But for the most part, every song is hit dead-on, and then some. Even with a slip-up on vocals on Tom's part during 'South of Heaven', it is easily more haunting than the original version of the song. This is partly due to the intro, in which you can hear the crowd, but the moment that eerie intro riff kicks in, that's all you can think about. Others, such as 'Angel of Death', start off with Tom yelling the song title, and then the crowd just goes insane. 'Captor of Sin' wastes only a small time with Tom telling the crowd what's next before these good ole boys pound the speakers to pieces with the heaviest version of this song I've ever heard. But the song that takes the icing on the cake here is easily 'Chemical Warfare'. The palm-mutes on the opening guitar-riff are heard very clearly, but it's the drums in the intro that get your heart racing. The quick drum rolls over and over have a huge punch that joins them, and then once everything kicks in, it's off to races.
I'd like to point out right here something else I noticed: Slayer does not bull-s**t around when it comes from going from one song to the next. They don't stop and give a five-minute speech about what's wrong in the world today or a funny story they know. For the most part, they might stop and say 'Hey thanks for coming out tonight. You guys sound energetic. How bout we continue' Oh, and one thing, you guys up front, keep on eye on each other.' And then they will smash their way right into the next song. And that only happens about twice. It's great, and it keeps the crowd moving. And speaking of the crowd, everytime it gets silent for a split-second, the air is filled with chants of 'SLAYER!' or random screams over and over. Or you might also hear the punk in the background yelling out his favorite song that he wants next. Silly boy, you'll get yours soon enough!
Tom's vocals are just as good as they sound on the albums these songs come off of. Some may say that he can't do the opening yell on 'Angel of Death' as he used to, but I beg to differ. So he might not hit as high as he used to be able, but it still sounds downright evil and hate-filled. In each song, Tom puts everything he's got into it, and by the end of the show, you can just hear him trying to catch his breath from the amount of energy he just gave to the crowd. Really, the only slip-up that should go mentioned here is that during one of the choruses to 'South of Heaven', he misses his cue, and doesn't say 'On and On, South of Heaven'. There are some small slips here-and-there, but another noticeable one would be one 'Blood Red', where Tom starts a verse late and misses a few words to catch up.
Finally, the song list is great. It contains all of their famous songs, such as 'Hell Awaits', 'Chemical Warfare', 'Seasons in the Abyss', and of course, 'Angel of Death'. Some nice surprises also make their way into the line-up, such as 'Altar of Sacrifice', 'Spirit in Black', and 'Jesus Saves'. When you look at both discs, you'll soon realize the way they set them up. The first disc houses most of Slayer's major songs after 'Haunting the Chapel', save 'Hell Awaits' and 'The Anti-Christ'. The second disc, however, is just the opposite. The big two off of 'Show No Mercy' (it'd be three, but Anti-Christ isn't on this disc) are back-to-back, and they are 'Die by the Sword' and 'Black Magic'. Also, off their 4-track EP, 'Haunting the Chapel', they play 'Captor of Sin' and the all-mighty thrash classic that is 'Chemical Warfare'. The line-up is great, and depending on how you're feeling, old Slayer or really old Slayer, you can listen accordingly.
There can also be a downside to the way the CD's are set up. Sometimes, you just want to listen to certain songs all at once, and you are forced to constantly swap CD's in and out of your player. It can get rather annoying and frustrating at some points.
For those of you out there who are into Slayer and don't own this, I strongly recommend you buy this now. Their live show they put on here is top-notch, and it's a great way to reduce the amount of Slayer albums you have in the car, that is if you don't use an I-Pod or something.
Every song on here is very well done. By the power of Slayer, I command you to listen and enjoy them all.