Slayer's first DVD, War at the Warfield, presents a concert performed at San Francisco's Warfield Theatre on December 7, 2001, as part of the tour promoting the band's tenth album, God Hates Us All. Not surprisingly, more than a quarter of the 19-song, 90-minute show is given over to five songs from that disc: "Disciple," "God Send Death," "New Faith," "Here Comes the Pain," and "Bloodline." But the band is careful to choose additional songs from throughout its career, playing "Die by the Sword" from 1983's debut album, Show No Mercy; "Captor of Sin" and "Chemical Warfare" from the 1984 Haunting the Chapel EP; the title song from 1985's Hell Awaits; "Postmortem," "Raining Blood," and "Angel of Death" from 1986's Reign in Blood; "Mandatory Suicide" and the title song from 1988's South of Heaven; "War Ensemble," "Dead Skin Mask," and the title song from 1990's Seasons in the Abyss; "Dittohead" from 1994's Divine Intervention; and "Stain of Mind" from 1998's Diabolus in Musica. So, all the group's studio albums are sampled, and the selection amply demonstrates the consistency of Slayer's musical approach over 18 years. Song after song is taken at a blistering tempo with pounding drums, screaming guitars, and Tom Araya's thunderous howling of lyrics devoted to horror and damnation. The staging is minimal, with the band performing before banks of Marshall speakers as harsh lighting often keeps them in shadows. The songs are punctuated by comments from fans, who are heard at greater length in the 48-minute documentary Fans Rule that is included in the package along with a music video of "Bloodline" and a photo gallery. War at the Warfield serves as both a fan's statement on Slayer and a good representation of the group's music and performance style.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann