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Slayer Classics


Slayer - South of Heaven
By Joannie Foney

For many metal fans, this release is the basis of comparison by which to compare not only subsequent albums of Slayer, but also a helpful device for measuring other metal of the day. At a time when many bands were pretending to be controversial for fun & profit, many posers slapped pentagrams on their drum kits or album covers in the hopes of convincing gullible kids that they were daring & edgy rather than ludicrous & laughable.

The came "South of Heaven", with its incredibly excellent music, dark, sinister themes and lyrics that delved into topics no one had ever explored before, such as abortion form the perspective of the baby being aborted & the twisted world of Josef Mengele. This album showed a musical & lyrical complexity that was such a welcome addition to the metal scene of these old days, and redefined how real metal bands wrote songs, pushing acts that didn't suck to explore more substantial themes in their lyrics. It did this at the same time it exposed the posers for their posturing, making a running joke out of all the 'Anton LaVey for President' bandwagon hangers on. The music the lyrics are set to even today sound much harder & heaver than about anything you'll hear on the Clear Channel radio station cartel. Since Slayer never went much for doing what everybody else was doing, this CD never sounds dated, establishing this album as one of the classics in metal.

"South of Heaven" today still adds new fans to Slayer's army, is still their most enduring CD ever, with their present stage set centered around songs from it. If you don't already own this one, buying it today is advisable. You then won't be alone in liking every single track on here. Preview and Purchase This CD Online

Slayer - Reign in Blood 
by DeadSun 

"Still Reigning After All These Years : From the Vaults of DeadSun's Favorites" 

To me, the best thing about a great album is its ability to never go stale. I'm not talking about a "nostalgic magic", either--- I mean those albums that can you can feed to your stereo, year after year, and which never lose that power to reach out and sink into your gut. 

Even as an eleven year old kid, I had a burgeoning cassette collection that bested most of the high school kids that I knew from the neighborhood--- and at that point in my life, nearly all of it was Heavy Metal. Surprised? On one day in particular, I conned my pop into buying an edition of Hit Parader magazine. Having a substantial music collection himself, which ranged from Alice Cooper, to BB King, to Cream, to Roxy Music, he was always fair about my own musical choices--- though not without a harmlessly snide comment or two thrown in for good measure. 

It was in this particular copy of Hit Parader that I found a very small write up, nestled in its back pages, of a band that I had never before heard of--- and band who called themselves "Slayer". To paraphrase this review, it was said of Slayer that, when it came to furious, intricate and relentless guitar shredding--- Slayer ranked over most of their peers as being among the best--- but that when it came to lyrical content, they ranked among Fear and the Mentors as being among the worst. My curiosity had been piqued. Turning the page, they had a concert photo of some guy called Kerry King, snarling at his axe. What more does an eleven year old kid need to see? The following weekend, as my parents were food shopping, I hot footed it over to a nearby record store, and headed straight for the "S" section. 

For those of you who are familiar with what the album cover for "Reign in Blood" looks like, you can appreciate with what wonder your average juvenile delinquent might behold upon it. Having never even heard this band, I felt I had a solid case in favor of a purchase--- after all, I had discovered Iron Maiden in a similar way. I bought it without reservation. When I got home, I bolted for my bedroom, tore the cellophane away from its case, and cued it up. 

What came out of those speakers was not like any music that had ever laid its sound upon my ears. What came out of those speakers was the opening riff for "Angel of Death"--- and it spoke to me in a language of power that shot straight into my guts. It was that sudden. In a matter of four minutes and fifty seconds, my eyes were opened to the world of thrash/speed metal. I knew I had been let in on one of metal's secret weapons--- Slayer. This little "awakening" turned my cassette collecting to a whole new direction, and when I peeled away this layer, I discovered more and more bands and albums that I otherwise might not have for years--- one huge reason that "Reign in Blood" is and always will be a "DeadSun Favorite". 

I began preaching the gospel of "Reign in Blood" to everyone--- most of whom read the song titles and dismissed me as crazy. It didn't matter in the slightest. The fact of the matter was that it was hard to take Bon Jovi seriously when I had a song like "Post Mortem" within my reach. To me, the satanic trappings were an after-thought, a complimentary embellishment to what was the fastest, heaviest, most vicious metal band I knew of at the time. I understood that overlaying the music of Slayer with words about "long walks on the beach", or "green, verdant fields", would be about as appropriate as opening a restaurant for anorexics. 

What I didn't realize then, was that what I had in my possession was an album that would ultimately come to be regarded as one of the most seminal, influential, and primary works that metal has served us to date--- helping in no small way to thrust open the gates of thrash, speed, and death metal before us. Referencing "Reign in Blood" is like invoking metal scripture. It is unshakably brilliant, yet ruthlessly fierce, and almost universally acknowledged as one of the most important musical reference points in the entire genre. 

Since 1986, "Reign in Blood" has reigned in the realm of metaldom as a high lord of heart-pumping, intricate brutality--- and as a personal favorite is an album I feel must be present among the ranks of any self-respecting metalhead's collection. It simply must be so. 

"Reign in Blood" : a twenty-eight minute long, pulverizing, sonic blitzkrieg that can strip the tar paper off of your roof and make your neighbor's bleed from both eyes; ergo… an inviolable classic. Preview and Purchase This CD Online

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