Thursday, February 9, 2017

Best of Slayer

When entering this discography, I expected one thing, and one thing only. Fury. Now looking back at it, I find Slayer to be a more versatile band than I thought before, while still relying on that fury to run over the few doubters that exist. Yes, Slayer truly deserve to be among The Big 4 of thrash metal, showing a relentless (or repentless?) desire to out do everyone in any shape and form. So, let us all sum it up, this is the best of Slayer.

Best albums

3. Hell Awaits

Close to a progressive record, "Hell Awaits" takes that sweet Slayer mantra (that was not yet fully developed), and takes it to its limits. The songs in here are longer, but the band does not slow down the tempo one bit, keeping that furious speed in an impressive manner. With a cleaner production and some more fully developed ideas at hand, Slayer made sure that they would not suffer from any sophomore slump. Yes, this record kicks ass, and it is as evil as the devil himself.

2. Seasons In The Abyss

After the slow experiment known as "South of Heaven", the band bounced back big time with "Seasons In The Abyss". The song library here is simply awesome, and also very diverse, from the classic "War Ensemble" and the incredibly fast "Hallowed Point", to the  haunting title track, "Seasons In The Abyss" delivers an onslaught that few will get away without any injury. Seasoned close to perfection.

1. Reign In Blood

No surprises here, my opinion is just like everyone else's when it comes to the best Slayer album. Not only is "Reign In Blood" the band's crowning achievement, it is also one of the strongest metal records ever released. Screw the fact that it is only around an half hour long, those are the most intense minutes you can ever experience. Simply put, the m/s (metal per second) is incredibly high, and it is just so god damn amazing.

Worst album

Diabolus In Musica

It seems like every band went through a weird phase during the 90's, and Slayer had one too. Fortunately, it was a short detour from what makes the band so good, but "Diabolus In Musica" still made enough damage to make one wonder if they would even recover from that. This is more of a nu-metal record than thrash, and it is really questionable if Slayer really did this, or they just got scammed by Fred Durst or someone.

Best songs

5. Kill Again

Compared to the entire discography, "Kill Again" is not really that special. It is just another typical Slayer song that sounds good, but does not add anything unique. However, I have started to love the raw nature of the song, the rough edges really gives it a cool personality. It also has the single most hilarious moment in the band's history, Araya screaming "Homicidal Maniac" in a crazy, and cringy way. Makes me giggle every time.

4. Raining Blood

The most well known song in the discography, the "title track" for "Reign In Blood" raised the bar for almost all metal bands out there. The evil build up is enough to give you chills, but add an angry Araya, and two wild, screeching guitars that goes completely bonkers in the end, and you get one of the most evil songs ever. It is also a very useful tool for getting rid of a huge crowd of hippies.

3. Black Magic

The Ground Zero of the Slayer sound, "Black Magic" is just as magical as the name suggests. The build up is fantastic, the riffing is simply demonic, the drums pounds with great power, and the solos are just orgasmic. When released, no one had heard anything like this, like it just appeared out of the blue thanks to some evil witch spell. Not even some black metal bands today can reach up to these standards.

2. Angel of Death

It is a debate that everyone who listened to "Reign In Blood" has encountered, which is the better song, "Raining Blood" or "Angel of Death"? I prefer the latter, not because it is more effective in its execution or anything like that, but simply for the lyrics about the manic scientist (or torturer depending on who you ask) Josef Mengele. It is so easy to imagine him in front of your eyes, doing all of those awful things, when listening to this song. An infamous song for an infamous butcher.

1. Chemical Warfare

Winning this battle is a song that is not even in an album. "Chemical Warfare" first appeared in the 1984 EP "Haunting The Chapel", and is probably the most evil thing I have heard from the band ever. It still had that underground production that highlighted "Show No Mercy", so the darkness was only increased here, and added with the insane solos and the ever shifting tempo, this song was something out of the scariest haunted house ride you could ever imagine. Such a shame that it never got to shine in a full length release.

Best album cover

Reign In Blood

I love highly detailed album covers, and there are few covers out there that can match "Reign In Blood" on that. There is so much going on here, from the evil goat overlord to the severed heads. It was a statement, telling who Slayer was and what they were all about. Larry Carroll, you have made one hell of a painting, one that probably Lucifer himself has hung up on his bedroom wall.

Total discography verdict

Quality: 8/10
You know what you get with Slayer, and they rarely disappoint (except late 90's Slayer). It is ball breaking fury that gets the blood pumping and the antichrists rolling.

Creativity: 6/10
In one way, it is interesting to see someone reinventing the wheel over and over again, but at the same time, it means that your dreams of this band making a fantasy epic are not coming to reality in your (or their) lifetime.

Band Chemistry: 7/10
The band chemistry took a big hit with the death of Hanneman and the second departure of Lombardo in 2013, but it still holds up pretty well, with an old friend and a former member replacing, keeping the band stable.

Musicality: 6/10
Okay, it may not be too much musicality in a style that relies heavily on speed, but these guys know what they are doing. King and Hanneman could truly cook up some insane solos when they were at their best.

Lyrics: 7/10
It started out as almost pure satanism, but has in later albums evolved into more social criticisms, like war and such. The band has evolved in this department over the years, but I doubt a lot of people listen to Slayer for their "deep meanings".

Album rating summary
Show No Mercy: 7,5/10
Hell Awaits: 8,5/10
Reign In Blood: 10/10
South of Heaven: 6,5/10
Seasons In The Abyss: 9/10
Divine Intervention: 6/10
Diabolus In Musica: 4,5/10
God Hates Us All: 7/10
Christ Illusion: 7,5/10
World Painted Blood: 7/10
Repentless: 7/10

Average rating: 7,318181818181818/10

Another discography done then, which means I have to do a new one. Which band will be next? Follow me on Twitter (@ForsakenGates) to find out tomorrow (or just wait and you will see the first review eventually, still give me that follow though :P)

Stay Metal!
Robert "Sharkruisher" Andersson

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