Digging Into Songs on Slayer's Final World Tour Setlist

After nearly 40 years together, Slayer is hanging it up for good.
The two-time Grammy Award-winning thrash metal giants are in the midst of their Final World Tour, which kicked off in May 2018 and is expected to wrap in early 2020.
With support from various metal acts like Lamb of God, Anthrax, Behemoth, Napalm Death, Obituary and Testament, Tom Araya, Kerry King, Paul Bostaph and Gary Holt are going out the same way they started: kicking and screaming.
The four-piece has just embarked on a fifth leg of the Final World Tour, revisiting cities throughout the US and Canada. They've kept a pretty consistent setlist so far, including cuts that span their entire career.
We’ve dissected some of the songs on their carefully selected setlist... so make sure to cue up our Setlist Playlist on Spotify and follow along to see which songs made the cut.
"Angel of Death"
The opener to 1986's Reign in Blood, this song is Slayer at their most radical and dangerous, and what some would call the pinnacle of speed metal.
The late Jeff Hanneman– the band's original guitarist– wrote the song about Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, whose deadly human experimentation on prisoners gave him notoriety during WWII.
"I collect medals and other Nazi stuff that my dad got me started on because he gave me all this shit he got off of dead Nazis," Hanneman said.
"I remember stopping some place where I bought two books on Mengele. I thought, 'This has gotta be some sick shit.' So when it came time to do the record, that stuff was still in my head—that’s where the lyrics to 'Angel of Death' came from."
Despite being one of the band's most controversial and...extreme... songs, "Angel of Death" remains a live favorite for fans– hence why they save it for last.
Slayer "Angel of Death" lyrics
"War Ensemble"
This song is one of the defining tracks off of 1990's Seasons in the Abyss. With its brutal imagery, blaring guitars and muddy tones, it epitomizes thrash metal and is one of the band's most famous works.
Written in the midst of the Gulf War, "War Ensemble" compares the art of war to sport, with its "propaganda," "twisted psychology" and victory by survival.
Slayer "War Ensemble" official music video
"Dead Skin Mask"
Another Seasons in the Abyss track, this song is an ode to serial killer Ed Gein. Gein was known for– you guessed it– mutilating his victims. Araya places himself in the The Butcher of Plainfield's mind, and at the end of the song you can hear a voice crying "I don't want to play anymore, Mr. Gein!" ...CREEPY!
Fun fact: Kerry King admitted in 2010 that he'd been playing the song incorrectly live for some time. "You know what my funny revelation was?," he said.
"That I was playing the solo to ‘Dead Skin Mask’ wrong for, like, eight years. I went back and checked … Because when that came out, I’d just gotten done working with my original guitar teacher again. So for him to make some extra money, I said ‘Dude, you should do the songbook for this and I can give you the riffs just how I wrote them.’ And most of the leads are pretty much in the ballpark. So I just glanced at one for amusement and I’m like ‘F–k!’ I was playing it a fret wrong one way or the other. I was like, ‘You dick!”
Slayer "Dead Skin Mask"
"Evil Has No Boundaries"
This explosive opening track from Slayer's 1983 debut, Show No Mercy, embodies the band's fast and demonic demeanor.
Drummer Gene Hoglan (Dark Angel, Death) provides the backing vocals for the chorus.
"Back at the time it was Jeff and Kerry doing the 'Evil!'," Hoglan said.
"You know, it didn't sound too heavy and I mentioned to like Tom or Jeff or somebody like, 'You know you guys should consider...maybe consider doing like big gang vocals on that, make it sound evil like demons and stuff,' and they were like 'Good idea.' But how about now, we got about eight dudes sitting around in the studio, and now everybody jumped up and yelled 'EVIL!!!' So I was like 'Cool' because I'm like, 'I wanna sing on this record somehow, that's how I can do it,' totally unplanned you know?! Sure enough they were like, 'F–k we have the time, let's do it.' So I was like 'Yeah, I got to sing on it!'"
Slayer, "Evil Has No Boundaries"
Check out the remaining North American tour dates below, and make sure to visit Slayer's official website for a full list of dates and ticket information.
...and remember, this will be your final chance to see these legends playing live!
Slayer Final World Tour North American dates:
May 16 – Noblesville, Ind. @ Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center May 17 – Bonner Springs, Kansas @ Providence Medical Center Amphitheater May 19 – Clarkston, Mich. @ DTE Energy Music Center May 20 – Youngstown, Ohio @ Covel Centre May 22 – Ottawa, Ontario @ Canadian Tire Centre May 24 – Camden, N.J. @ BB&T Pavilion May 25 – Mansfield, Mass. @ Xfinity Center
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Last updated: 25 May 2019, 18:39 Etc/UTC