Thrash Metal has a level of energy, audio and power that can be addictive. Before they retired and disbanded in 2019, Slayer belonged in the Halls Of The Heavy – along with Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax. I would never debate where the Thrash Metal genre was created; but I’m pretty confident in saying America fine-tuned it!
Bringing the music of Slayer to life has been a long time idea of musicians Chris Ewers (bass), Chris Colwell (guitar), Jared Kiess (guitar), and Mad Man Grant (drums). All these guys are experienced musicians with tons of time on stage. Their desire to bring Slayer’s sound alive culminated in the creation of Hell Awaits!
I was able to attend their inaugural show at a private club in Renton WA on 7 August 2021. I was impressed at how tight the band was, since they had only one dress rehearsal and one sound check under their belts prior to this show. Even if you aren’t a fan of Thrash Metal, there is a certain energy and character to appreciate that is brought on when the band and the fans blend in the same place. And this night was like watching the original monsters of thrash right in front of our noses!
Ewers took on a new role in Hell Awaits, by playing bass AND performing vocals for the band. In the past – with bands like Baby And The Nobodies – he laid down the low road of sound and hovered to the side of the stage without a peep. Now he provides the heavy low signature that differentiates Slayer from other Thrash Metal bands – while duplicating Tom Araya’s audio force!
Jared is best known for Metallica tribute Blistered Earth; his firestorm of riffs and penchant for headbanging makes him an ultimate performer – ready to wave his blond mane to a metal-thirsty crowd!
Chris Colwell has many musical projects, including being the “Rudy Schenker” for Second Sting – The Scorpions Tribute. Thrash Metal – however – has always been his first love, so he gravitated naturally to this project. Colwell brings solid musicianship and truckloads of energy to the stage each time he climbs those stairs!
And there just aren’t enough volumes to document Mad Man Grant!
He enters the stage in a pair of boxers, keeps a tight reign on the timing, and ignites a 2-hour long heatwave of physical pyrotechnics that keeps everyone entertained. I’ve seen Mad Man perform with multiple bands – including Hammerdog, Metal Heart (Accept tribute), plus Lewd N Crued (Crue tribute). He spins his sticks, mugs for the lens, and translates the power he feels into a show like no other!
Hell Awaits played a long set of 15 songs with no break; not like anyone WANTED a break from them, however! The crowd loved every minute of the set. Before the show I left my phone in the car by mistake, and decided to leave it there.
Imagine my surprise when I found out five hours had passed since I had walked in the door! Best estimate is the boys played for nearly two hours – with the remainder of time spent reconnecting with friends since the beginning of Covid.
I’ve always been a Metal fan, but had only listened to Thrash Metal from Metallica. I’m not sure what kept me away from Slayer; but now, after they’ve retired, I’ll never see them play live. At this point, with Hell Awaits putting on such a fantastic show, I can be fine in knowing that Slayer’s music is in great local hands.
Check out their schedule online for upcoming shows!