SLAYER
Thrash Metal • United States

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Slayer is a thrash metal band from US, formed in 1981. The band was founded by guitarists Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King. The band was credited as one of the "Big Four" thrash metal bands, along with Metallica, Anthrax, and Megadeth.

Slayer's musical traits involve fast tremolo picking, guitar solos, double bass drumming, and shouting vocals. The band's lyrics and album art, which cover topics such as death, deviants, suicidal, genocide, necrophilia, insanity, Nazism, religion, Satanism, serial killers, and warfare have generated album bans, delays, lawsuits and strong criticism from religious groups and the general public. Slayer is best known for speaking through perspective without being necessarily sympathetic to the cause of their inspiration.

Since their debut record in 1983, the band has released two live albums, one cover album, one box set, three DVDs, one VHS, two EPs, and nine studio albums, four of which have received gold
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Repentless CD+DVDRepentless CD+DVD
Nuclear Blast America 2015
Audio CD$16.99
Reign In BloodReign In Blood
Extra tracks · Explicit Lyrics
American 2002
Audio CD$6.48
$3.15 (used)
South Of HeavenSouth Of Heaven
Explicit Lyrics · Import
American 2002
Audio CD$5.79
$2.86 (used)
Seasons In The AbyssSeasons In The Abyss
Explicit Lyrics · Import
American 2002
Audio CD$5.23
$3.64 (used)
Diabolus In MusicaDiabolus In Musica
Explicit Lyrics
American 2002
Audio CD$2.16
$2.01 (used)
Hell AwaitsHell Awaits
Metal Blade 1994
Audio CD$6.78
$3.68 (used)
Christ Illusion [Explicit]Christ Illusion [Explicit]
Explicit Lyrics
American 2013
Audio CD$5.18
$6.26 (used)
Divine InterventionDivine Intervention
Explicit Lyrics
American 2002
Audio CD$3.32
$0.89 (used)
God Hates Us AllGod Hates Us All
Explicit Lyrics · Import
American 2001
Audio CD$5.80
$3.47 (used)
Undisputed AttitudeUndisputed Attitude
Explicit Lyrics
American 2002
Audio CD$2.20
$0.33 (used)
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SLAYER Discography

SLAYER albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.48 | 58 ratings
Show No Mercy
Thrash Metal 1983
.. Album Cover 3.84 | 60 ratings
Hell Awaits
Thrash Metal 1985
.. Album Cover 4.49 | 142 ratings
Reign in Blood
Thrash Metal 1986
.. Album Cover 4.27 | 100 ratings
South of Heaven
Thrash Metal 1988
.. Album Cover 4.08 | 87 ratings
Seasons in the Abyss
Thrash Metal 1990
.. Album Cover 3.37 | 40 ratings
Divine Intervention
Thrash Metal 1994
.. Album Cover 3.25 | 24 ratings
Undisputed Attitude
Thrash Metal 1996
.. Album Cover 3.19 | 35 ratings
Diabolus in Musica
Thrash Metal 1998
.. Album Cover 2.41 | 35 ratings
God Hates Us All
Thrash Metal 2001
.. Album Cover 3.50 | 38 ratings
Christ Illusion
Thrash Metal 2006
.. Album Cover 3.48 | 43 ratings
World Painted Blood
Thrash Metal 2009
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Repentless
Thrash Metal 2015

SLAYER EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 3.74 | 19 ratings
Haunting the Chapel
Thrash Metal 1984
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Tour '95
Thrash Metal 1994
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Serenity in Murder
Thrash Metal 1995
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Slayer / T.S.O.L.
Thrash Metal 1996

SLAYER live albums

.. Album Cover 4.02 | 12 ratings
Live Undead
Thrash Metal 1984
.. Album Cover 4.09 | 13 ratings
Decade of Aggression: Live
Thrash Metal 1991
.. Album Cover 4.50 | 2 ratings
Hell Awaits At Dynamo
Thrash Metal 2007

SLAYER demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Raining Blood
Thrash Metal 1986
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Mandatory Suicide
Thrash Metal 1988
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
War Ensemble
Thrash Metal 1990
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Übernoise
Thrash Metal 1998
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Exclusive Members Only DVD
Thrash Metal 2010

SLAYER boxset & compilations

.. Album Cover 4.50 | 3 ratings
Soundtrack to the Apocalypse
Thrash Metal 2003
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Vinyl Conflict
Thrash Metal 2010
.. Album Cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
B-Sides And Rarities
Thrash Metal 2013

SLAYER singles (20)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Postmortem
Thrash Metal 1986
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Angel of Death
Thrash Metal 1986
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Criminally Insane
Thrash Metal 1987
.. Album Cover
5.00 | 1 ratings
South of Heaven
Thrash Metal 1988
.. Album Cover
4.50 | 1 ratings
Seasons in the Abyss
Thrash Metal 1991
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Serenity in Murder: Divine Live!
Thrash Metal 1995
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live Intrusion
Thrash Metal 1995
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
I Hate You
Thrash Metal 1996
.. Album Cover
3.00 | 1 ratings
Stain of Mind
Thrash Metal 1998
.. Album Cover
1.00 | 1 ratings
God Send Death
Thrash Metal 2001
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Bloodline
Thrash Metal 2001
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Eyes of the Insane
Thrash Metal 2006
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Cult
Thrash Metal 2006
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Eternal Pyre
Thrash Metal 2006
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Hate Worldwide
Thrash Metal 2009
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Psychopathy Red
Thrash Metal 2009
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
World Painted Blood
Thrash Metal 2009
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
World Painted Blood / Atrocity Vendor
Thrash Metal 2010
.. Album Cover
3.25 | 2 ratings
Implode
Thrash Metal 2014
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
When the Stillness Comes / Black Magic
Thrash Metal 2015

SLAYER movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
4.33 | 3 ratings
Combat Tour Live: The Ultimate Revenge
Thrash Metal 1985
.. Album Cover
4.00 | 4 ratings
Live Intrusion
Thrash Metal 1995
.. Album Cover
4.17 | 3 ratings
War at the Warfield
Thrash Metal 2003
.. Album Cover
3.83 | 3 ratings
Still Reigning
Thrash Metal 2004
.. Album Cover
3.75 | 2 ratings
Slayer: Unholy Alliance Live
Thrash Metal 2007
.. Album Cover
4.67 | 3 ratings
The Big 4: Live from Sofia, Bulgaria
Thrash Metal 2010

SLAYER Reviews

SLAYER Hell Awaits

Album · 1985 · Thrash Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Vim Fuego
Faint feedback fading in, a multitude of demonic voices chanting in tongues, the feedback becomes clearer, wails of tormented lost souls almost undetectable in the background, louder, it grows, the sense of doom impending looms larger, a throbbing bass line becomes evident first subconsciously then audibly, a guttural voice completely indecipherable growls. The feedback disappears, a thumping, driving drum beat and and razor sharp guitars in its place, rumbling kick drums join, the intensity builds, the riffs build, layer upon relentless unstoppable layer. Suddenly, a single guitar riffs furiously, followed moments later by the rest of the band keeping perfect pace, then barked vocals, clear, but too fast to comprehend, the guttural voice returns "HELL AWAITS". Screaming, wailing frenetic paced solo, single guitar again, back to the full band, once again the rhythm section drops out just leaving the guitars, another tremolo abusing solo, then suddenly it's all over with a no nonsense finish.

The listener is left asking, "what just happened?"

Hell happened.

The song just described, "Hell Awaits" is one of the most distinctive, intense opening tracks to an album ever (Slayer managed to top it with "Angel of Death" on ‘Reign in Blood’, but that's a story for another day). Many bands have produced tracks with dynamics and a sound like this since. None, however, did it in 1985.

Yes, Satan's favourite sons were back with a vengeance. The title track's ode to damnation was quickly followed by six more pummelling tracks dedicated to all things ungodly– mass murder, vampirism, and necrophilia all get a mention, and the songs just that shade more disturbing because they are first person descriptions. While Metallica were chanting "DIE DIE DIE" on "Creeping Death", Slayer upped the ante, with a chorus of "KILL KILL KILL" on "At Dawn They Sleep". The track is also notable for the first appearance of Dave Lombardo's now legendary double kick drum solo.

From the frenetic rifferama of "Praise of Death", the percussive cascade of "Necrophiliac", there's no let up on this album. As "Hardening of the Arteries" fades into nothingness, you're left with a feeling of relief the sonic barrage is over, but also craving more, as your body struggles to cope with an adrenaline induced high.

In hindsight, all the ingredients for the definitive Reign In Blood were present on Hell Awaits. It just took Slayer a little more time to perfect the recipe, cutting away the excess, expanding the essential, and building intensity.

SLAYER South of Heaven

Album · 1988 · Thrash Metal
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Vim Fuego
‘South Of Heaven’ was probably the most difficult album to record ever, not in any sort of technical way, but in terms of what Slayer would face on its release. ‘Reign In Blood’ dropped Slayer right in the middle of a catch-22 situation. If they tried to top that album, more than likely they’d crash and burn. Conversely, if they tried something different, it might be seen as a sell-out. The easiest solution would have been to retire.

History now tells us Slayer didn’t retire, and while ‘South Of Heaven’ was a change of direction, very few saw it as a sell-out. It is an album of contradictions, slower and heavier than its predecessor, at once simpler and more complicated, and overall more challenging.

From the first notes of “South Of Heaven”, it’s apparent Slayer has undergone a transformation. The band controls the title track is like a wild animal handler, reigning in his charge on a short leash. At any moment, this wild beast could break from its bonds, free to rampage uncontrolled on a killing spree. Tom Araya barks with a spiteful vitriol not heard before, placing more emphasis on his vocals than in the past. The King/Hanneman guitar duo grinds and churns, while drummer Dave Lombardo takes the simple rhythm of the song and wrings its neck. The overall effect is like a menacing storm, roiling and brewing, preparing to unleash devastation on the helpless land below.

The lightning strikes on second track “Silent Scream”. It blasts off with all the trademark ferocity of ‘Reign In Blood’. Lombardo’s pummelling double kickdrums underpin a simple main riff, which is adorned with an oddly discordant guitar duel where Jeff Hanneman abuses the tremolo more than Kerry King does. Abortion was never so much fun.

“Live Undead” combines the building menace and thunderous destruction of the previous two songs, leading to an insane thrash-out in the second half of the song, cut up with seven incredible solos. No one else could have delivered a song like this in the 80s.

Tom Araya almost sings melodically on “Behind The Crooked Cross”, without sounding any less threatening. The song describes the life of someone forced to fight or an army or nation, while not really understanding why. While the true meaning of the song is never made clear, the crooked cross is more than likely the Nazi swastika, but it could well apply to any number of misguided crusades or campaigns throughout history, justified by the cause of Christianity.

“Mandatory Suicide” is a dark, brooding anti-war song, where Araya shows more vocal versatility. He punctuates many of the statements with a growl, similar to the style used by Testament vocalist Chuck Billy. It ends with a flat, emotionless monologue which describes a scene of intense horror and death from a thoroughly detached viewpoint.

“Ghosts Of War” sounds a lot like “Angel Of Death Part 2”, featuring a similar riff, but then backs off in intensity, bringing forth a heavier riff and allows Lombardo the space to pound away to his heart’s content.

Television evangelists were fair game for pretty much every thrash band of the 80s, but few ever pinned them down quite so squarely as Slayer, except perhaps Holy Terror. “Read Between The Lies” has a feel of utter disgust at the manipulation and deception employed to fleece the vulnerable and feeble minded. Like the demonic priests of the Inquisition, do the ends really justify the means, if it’s done in God’s name?

The inclusion of a cover of Judas Priest’s “Dissident Aggressor” is a little unusual. Sure, it’s given the full Slayer treatment, and fits the album perfectly, and must surely have scared the shit out of Tipton, Downing and crew, but why not another Slayer song?

“Spill The Blood” is one of the heaviest songs Slayer has ever written. The acoustic intro sounds like it could have come from the soundtrack of “The Omen”, and provides a stark contrast to the crushing riffs and massive percussion of the main body of the song. Araya wails like never before, a soul tormented, becoming the tormentor. The controlled aggression, unleashed with restraint and deadly accuracy, is a fitting finale to an incredible album.

There is a small revisionist sector which sees ‘South Of Heaven’ as a sell-out album. After all, it went gold in the US, and sold thousands upon thousands of copies the world over. And shock, horror, Slayer actually used verse-chorus song structures. What were they thinking? Hindsight is supposed to be 20/20, but it rarely ever is, because the vital context of the time is missing. That ‘South Of Heaven’ sold well was quite a surprise because in 1988, outside Metallica and Megadeth, thrash albums hardly ever broke six figure sales. Real metal was still dominated by the old school of Maiden/Priest/Osbourne, while the glam ladyboys of Guns ‘n’ Roses, Motley Crüe and their ilk were at their peak. Sure, there was harder music than Slayer available at the time, but albums by Necrophagia, Death, Repulsion and Carcass weren’t exactly filling prime space on record store shelves either. As for the song structures, they don’t mean shit. They are a method of putting a song together, nothing more, nothing less, and not a concession to the mainstream.

The shift in Slayer’s sound between ‘Reign In Blood’ and ‘South Of Heaven’ added some much needed variety to the band’s repertoire, without which their output may have become stagnant. A combination of these two albums led directly to the massive success of ‘Seasons In The Abyss’ in 1990. ‘South Of Heaven’ saw one of thrash’s leaders breathe some life back into the genre’s rotting corpse.

SLAYER Undisputed Attitude

Album · 1996 · Thrash Metal
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Vim Fuego
One of the building blocks of thrash metal was a healthy dose of hardcore and punk, which fans of the genre have often trumpeted about loudly. It supposedly gave thrash a streetwise edge, and an open mindedness not always evident in more traditional metal. So what would happen if one of the true originators and innovators of thrash recorded an album of punk and hardcore covers? Would Slayer's `Undisputed Attitude' be embraced with open arms and accepted by fans as the band paying tribute to their influences? Um... no.

Tom Araya's opening scream "Disintegrate, you bastards!" may as well have been aimed at hundreds of thousands of tiny, narrowly focused minds which couldn't cope with this album. The casual observer might have thought perhaps Slayer had thrown away their amplifiers, discovered religion and sat around a campfire strumming folk songs with Joan Baez, such was the barrage of criticism thrown at this album. Slayer's actual crime? Not recording a Slayer album.

Instead of allowing their beloved band a little room to indulge themselves, and perhaps recharge their creativity by reinterpreting some punk classics, fans the world over ripped into the band for not recording a metal album. Thrash's thin façade of "open mindedness" fifteen years in the making was smashed by one short album - thrash fans simply couldn't accept something a little out of the ordinary.

Obviously, the album is different to other Slayer albums. There is little room for Kerry King's trademark tremolo abusing soloing, Paul Bostoph's drumming is kept relatively (and necessarily) simple, the riffing is dumbed down to the level of the originals, and Tom Araya's vocals are slightly higher pitched, with a touch of melody. However, it's still fast, vicious and heavy.

Perhaps the biggest problem was Slayer's choice of songs to cover. Taking the obvious route and revisiting "acceptable" metal favourites like the Sex Pistols, The Ramones, Discharge or even The Exploited, might have made the album easier for thrash fans to stomach. Instead, Slayer quite rightly went for their own personal favourites.

Minor Threat was possibly the least expected artist covered. Their philosophy ran somewhat counter to Slayer's own, and their music suffered from underproduction, but the guitar lines and aggressive vocals translate well. Tom Araya struck a little strife though, by changing the final line of "Guilty Of Being White" to "Guilty of being right", giving it a slightly racist overtone. However, Araya himself is of Chilean descent, hardly prime Aryan stock in the first place.

"Sick Boy", originally by GBH was probably the most obvious choice of the entire album, and one of the highlights. GBH's own style sometimes veered toward very basic Thrash, and the song is one of the most faithful covers on the album, with the bouncy, repetitive main riff given the full treatment. Oddly, it was left off the American release of `Undisputed Attitude', perhaps because it was a track from a British band.

"Violent Pacification" originally by D.R.I. was another oddity, in that the band were contemporaries of Slayer's. Also emerging from the West Coast underground, D.R.I. contributed a great deal toward the development of the crossover style of thrash, and often pushed speed barriers as the former holders of the title of fastest band in the world.

D.I.'s two contributions "Spiritual Law" and "Richard Hung Himself" are violent in their lyrical content and their simplistic riffing. Other offerings by T.S.O.L., Verbal Abuse, and Dr Know all fit reasonably well around each other.

Jeff Hanneman contributed a couple of tracks he'd written himself, originally intended for a punk side project which never came to much. "Can't Stand You" includes early thrash style sub-blast passages, while "Ddamm" has strong bass lines and Discharge style soloing. The full project could well have been a crossover classic had it developed fully.

The old Iggy And The Stooges song "I Wanna Be Your Dog" caused the most friction, both within the band and among fans. Jeff Hanneman was the only member of the band who actually wanted to record the song. It's masochistic, submissive lyrical bent did not suit Slayer at all, so as a compromise, it was retitled "I'm Gonna Be Your God", and Araya's aggressive vocal attack turned the filthy lyrics on their head, making for an unexpectedly sleazy spectacle, which never quite gets off the ground.

So as to pacify those expecting more traditional Slayer fare, new track "Gemini" was added to the end of the album. A dark, brooding song, in the style of "South Of Heaven", "Seasons In The Abyss" and "Dead Skin Mask", it slowly builds from a pounding mid pace tempo to a percussive climax, and would hold it's place on any post-`Reign In Blood' album.

Anyone expecting a pure thrash album from `Undisputed Attitude' is going to be disappointed, and probably deserves a smack around the head for expecting it. Instead, this is an album of reinterpretations of a number of punk classics, which helped shape Slayer, and by extension, led to the release of albums like `Reign In Blood' and `Seasons In The Abyss'.

Take it or leave it.

SLAYER Live Undead

Live album · 1984 · Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Live Undead" is a live album release by US thrash metal act Slayer. The album was released through Metal Blade Records in November 1984 and along with the "Haunting the Chapel" EP from June 1984 it bridges the gap between the band´s debut and 2nd full-length studio albums, "Show No Mercy (1983)" and "Hell Awaits (1985)". The album notes don´t inform us exactly when or where the album was recorded, but according to various different sources "Live Undead" was recorded at Tiki Recording Studios in Glen Cove, New York sometime during the autumn of 1984. It was recorded live in the studio in front of a small crowd of people, but was originally intented to be a genuine live recording at a venue. Persistent rumours have it that the audience noises were overdubbed later. This has never been 100% confirmed by neither producer Bill Metoyer nor by Slayer, but the former has given a couple of hints during interviews that point in that direction.

The 7 tracks on the 23:21 minutes long album appear in their studio versions on the band´s debut full-length studio album "Show No Mercy (1983)" and on the "Haunting the Chapel (1984)" EP. 5 tracks from the former and 2 tracks from the latter. Overdubs/live in the studio recording or not, the tracks are delivered with fierce conviction and raw power, and already this early on in the band´s career established their reputation as a great live act. The sound production is also of good quality and to my ears these versions of the tracks are much better than their original studio versions. They are generally played in a faster pace and with a more aggressive attitude. Tom Araya´s spoken introductions to a couple of the tracks are also really great and provide the recording with an authentic live feel. His introduction to "Die by the Sword" is what I characterize as legendary: "They say the pen is mightier than the sword. Well I say fuck the pen! Cause You can Die by the Sword". His introduction to "Captor of Sin" is quite provocative in nature and has often met a lot of criticism, but it fits with the lyrics.

The audience noises may or may not be fake/overdubbed, but it´s not something I´ve ever thought about before I read about the rumour. This just sounds like a really professional live recording with a band in top form in front of an active enthusiastic audience. Of the early releases by Slayer (pre-"Reign in Blood (1986)"), "Live Undead" is at the top of the list for me. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

SLAYER Show No Mercy

Album · 1983 · Thrash Metal
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siLLy puPPy
SLAYER jumped into the mosh pit with their debut album SHOW NO MERCY. The year was 1983 and metal was wasting no time fragmenting into several strains of sub-genres. On this brutal behemoth of a debut you can hear the early 80s traditional metal sound that was fairly common for the day (with Maiden and Priest being obvious influences) taking an incremental step into the thrash world that wouldn't take full form for another few years. What we get hear is a chugging dual riffage assault from Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King that still utilizes old school metal method of songwriting but the brutality is turned up and the tuning turned down. There is emphasis on creating a more ugly and defiant atmosphere than the more party oriented glam metal that was taking metal by the horns and leading it into that direction.

Dave Lombardo kills it on the drums setting the pace that the other members have to keep up with and Tom Araya lowers the vocal range by introducing some proto-thrash styles but still retains a wailing operatic scream here and there. The album cover depicts a minotaur which SLAYER helped usher in the darker imagery of the ever expanding underground of extreme metal. Although glam acts like Motley Crue and the sub-genre defying act of Celtic Frost were flashing Satanic imagery and included it in their lyrical content, it was SLAYER who really brought the brutality to the beast and because of this album's relative popularity really catapulted extreme metal into the thrash and death worlds. Although I have always viewed SLAYER as in a sprinting race with Metallica, the former eschewed the technical classical challenges that the latter displayed and instead focused on the most intense possibilities for the day in regards to both the brutality of the sound and of the shocking imagery of lyrics. I find this first outing quite a pleasing listen and although not their absolute best, a very worthy place to begin. I have to admit that I love this album from beginning to end.

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