SLAYER

Thrash Metal / Crossover Thrash • 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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SLAYER Discography

SLAYER albums / top albums

SLAYER Show No Mercy album cover 3.58 | 73 ratings
Show No Mercy
Thrash Metal 1983
SLAYER Hell Awaits album cover 3.82 | 79 ratings
Hell Awaits
Thrash Metal 1985
SLAYER Reign in Blood album cover 4.27 | 178 ratings
Reign in Blood
Thrash Metal 1986
SLAYER South of Heaven album cover 4.21 | 119 ratings
South of Heaven
Thrash Metal 1988
SLAYER Seasons in the Abyss album cover 4.21 | 105 ratings
Seasons in the Abyss
Thrash Metal 1990
SLAYER Divine Intervention album cover 3.35 | 54 ratings
Divine Intervention
Thrash Metal 1994
SLAYER Undisputed Attitude album cover 3.18 | 34 ratings
Undisputed Attitude
Crossover Thrash 1996
SLAYER Diabolus in Musica album cover 3.22 | 46 ratings
Diabolus in Musica
Thrash Metal 1998
SLAYER God Hates Us All album cover 2.43 | 44 ratings
God Hates Us All
Thrash Metal 2001
SLAYER Christ Illusion album cover 3.23 | 48 ratings
Christ Illusion
Thrash Metal 2006
SLAYER World Painted Blood album cover 3.42 | 55 ratings
World Painted Blood
Thrash Metal 2009
SLAYER Repentless album cover 3.91 | 21 ratings
Repentless
Thrash Metal 2015

SLAYER EPs & splits

SLAYER Haunting the Chapel album cover 3.83 | 28 ratings
Haunting the Chapel
Thrash Metal 1984
SLAYER The Tour '95 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Tour '95
Thrash Metal 1994
SLAYER Serenity in Murder album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Serenity in Murder
Thrash Metal 1995
SLAYER Slayer / T.S.O.L. album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Slayer / T.S.O.L.
Thrash Metal 1996

SLAYER live albums

SLAYER Live Undead album cover 3.61 | 20 ratings
Live Undead
Thrash Metal 1984
SLAYER Decade of Aggression: Live album cover 4.34 | 22 ratings
Decade of Aggression: Live
Thrash Metal 1991
SLAYER Hell Awaits At Dynamo album cover 4.50 | 2 ratings
Hell Awaits At Dynamo
Thrash Metal 2007
SLAYER The Repentless Killogy (Live at The Forum in Inglewood, Ca.) album cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
The Repentless Killogy (Live at The Forum in Inglewood, Ca.)
Thrash Metal 2019

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

SLAYER Raining Blood album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Raining Blood
Thrash Metal 1986
SLAYER Mandatory Suicide album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Mandatory Suicide
Thrash Metal 1988
SLAYER War Ensemble album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
War Ensemble
Thrash Metal 1990
SLAYER Übernoise album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Übernoise
Thrash Metal 1998
SLAYER Exclusive Members Only DVD album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Exclusive Members Only DVD
Thrash Metal 2010

SLAYER re-issues & compilations

SLAYER Soundtrack to the Apocalypse album cover 4.50 | 3 ratings
Soundtrack to the Apocalypse
Thrash Metal 2003
SLAYER The Vinyl Conflict album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
The Vinyl Conflict
Thrash Metal 2010
SLAYER B-Sides And Rarities 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
4.00 | 1 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
3.50 | 1 ratings
Serenity in Murder: Divine Live!
Thrash Metal 1995
.. Album Cover
4.50 | 2 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
3.42 | 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
4.20 | 5 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
3.50 | 3 ratings
The Unholy Alliance
Thrash Metal 2007
.. Album Cover
4.83 | 6 ratings
The Big 4: Live from Sofia, Bulgaria
Thrash Metal 2010

SLAYER Reviews

SLAYER Reign in Blood

Album · 1986 · Thrash Metal
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SilentScream213
Slayer were never holding punches, but Angel of Death is the most face ripping opener maybe ever. It just shreds you for five minutes straight, everyone hitting you at full overdrive. The guitars are either striking with lightning quick rhythmic tremolos or screaming solos, the drums are at a constant full-speed pummel, and Tom's shouting, no longer muddled by reverb or any other effects, tears your skin off word after venomous word. And those lyrics are absolutely insane - Slayer were always dark, but god damn, they took a level in real evil here, especially as Tom started writing more.

And then Angel of Death ends, and every single song following is more of the same eviscerating insanity, consistently delivering riff after riff without letting up an inch. All concluding with one of the most evil, intense, and infamous closers of all time. Surely I don't need to say its name.

SLAYER Hell Awaits

Album · 1985 · Thrash Metal
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SilentScream213
When Slayer’s debut album rose from Hell in 1983, there was really nothing like it, and it sat comfortably atop the heaviest, fastest, most evil records in the world. Times had changed, and for metal, that meant pushing boundaries. Many bands heard Slayer and those who didn’t try to do exactly what they did, tried to up the ante.

So when Slayer went to record their sophomore album, they didn’t create Show No Mercy vol. 2. They had been listening to Mercyful Fate, and were inspired to create more complex song structures, longer and more varied compositions. However, they would sacrifice none of their brutality in doing this. The complex song structures allowed them to capitalize on their ability to create a truly evil, infernal mood; this is captured best on the opener “Hell Awaits,” with its backwards chanting and plentiful midtempo sections between the assaults of speed. Dave employs double bass drumming on every track, rather than occasional bursts. Tom’s bark, while definitely solid on the debut, was perfected here. He rattled off vicious lines at a speed unheard of, and despite pushing his vocal chords to their aggressive limits, remained intelligible the whole time. For me, this is the Slayer album that actually took the longest to love, but that’s a testament to the depth and timelessness of the album itself.

Slayer didn’t exactly invent a new genre with this album, but despite the Thrash label, it was more important to the development of Death Metal than anything. Slayer abandoned most of their punk roots here (Though they’d bring them back for the next album) and the sound is unmistakably darker. Possessed’s Seven Churches is awarded the title of first Death Metal album, but it’s a short step from Hell Awaits, and had death growls been employed here, the music would sound right at home on a pure Death Metal record.

SLAYER Show No Mercy

Album · 1983 · Thrash Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
SilentScream213
I’ve always loved Slayer, this album being among my favorite releases by them, but it becomes so much more amazing when compared to the contemporaries at the time. Absolutely nothing was this insane – not even close.

Speed? We had Metallica, but they’d only go into overdrive on a couple songs – and even then, it never matched Slayer. Tremolo guitar picking has never been this fast. And Dave’s drumming was something else. The speed and technique of the drumming here had never been seen in metal before. I’d guess only some Jazz and the best Prog Rock drummers had the level of chops Dave put on this album back in 1983.

Riffs? Hell no. You think Paranoid had great riffs? Number of the Beast? They were all lacking something. Slayer doesn’t just deliver riffs – they deliver evil riffs. Wailing, screaming guitars walked the line between melodic and chaotic, bringing a perfect harmony of very catchy riffs and a dark, harrowing mood. No music sounded this dark and melodic at this time; any other bands attempting the evil schtick at the time relied on purely being noisy and chaotic with little technique (Venom, Hellhammer).

And then there’s the vocals. Not just the style, but the delivery. Tom’s trademark yelling here has become something often imitated, and I daresay it was many people’s introduction to harsher vocal styles. Tom was not the first to employ a harsh vocal style (Venom, Black Flag), but he absolutely did it better than anyone else at the time. He brought just the right amount of melody to the table; he can hit notes, and his words are very intelligible. Despite that – or perhaps, because of it – his bark comes off as much more convincing. As opposed to the flat screaming or growling of bands like Hellhammer and Venom, you could discern emotion in Tom’s voice, and that emotion was anger, hatred, a general misanthropy and dedication to the dark arts. That delivery carries over to the lyrics – again, Slayer were not the first to write Satanic lyrics. Venom mostly started that, but they didn’t take it too seriously. Slayer, along with King Diamond, were really the first band to convince you that those lyrics about Satan, murder, and black magic were genuine. Of course they weren’t, but damn was Tom’s fierce, rabid bark convincing.

Back in 1983, there were absolutely no albums that matched this. Any other album that had traits of what makes this great was missing something else, whether it be the speed, aggression, technique, or mood. Slayer was the first band to unite these qualities in a way that would spawn a staple style of dark metal carried on by thousands of bands.

Even after listening to hundreds of albums that were released pre-1983, Show No Mercy remains chronologically my earliest 5-star release, and nothing up until that point in music has come even close to instilling in me the sense of awe as Slayer did with their debut.

SLAYER Reign in Blood

Album · 1986 · Thrash Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"Reign in Blood" is the 3rd full-length studio album by US, California based thrash metal act Slayer. The album was released through Def Jam Recordings in October 1986. It´s the successor to "Hell Awaits" from 1985. Slayer were still under contract with Metal Blade Records, but label boss Brian Slagel, who at the time was also Slayer´s manager, saw the opportunity for the band to sign to a major label and was ready to let them go. Producer and Def Jam Recordings owner Rick Rubin showed interest in the project and while some members of the band were reluctant to sign to, what at the time was primarily a hip hop label, Rubin´s enthusiasm and vision for Slayer, finally pursuaded them.

Rubin had no prior experience with producing heavy metal oriented music, so Slayer took quite a risk. Both with the choice of label but also with hiring Rubin to produce their new album. History shows that they made the right choice, but back then...who could have known? "Reign in Blood" went on to become one of the most iconic and influential albums of US thrash metal and greatly increased Slayer´s profile on the scene.

Stylistically the material on the 10 track, 29:02 minutes long album are quite different from the dark and occult themed thrash metal style of "Hell Awaits (1985)". While "Hell Awaits (1985)" certainly features fast-paced riffs and rhythms, it´s nothing against the fiercely aggressive and ultra fast-paced material on "Reign in Blood". Slayer shortened the song lengths, quit repeating their riffs and sections in regular vers/chorus formats (at least in the most strict form of that structure), and generally just went berserk and delivered one of the most furious and intense thrash metal releases of the day.

"Reign in Blood" opens with the longest track of the album in "Angel of Death". A track which revolves around the horrors of the holocaust and especially the medical atrocities committed by the infamous nazi doctor Josef Mengele at the Auschwitz death camp during World War 2. "Angel of Death" is a structurally rather complex track, with many tempo changes, different sections, and a host of screaming atonal guitar solos (and even a short drum solo break). The piercing scream during the opening of the track is one of Tom Araya´s finest moments. The intensity and brutality don´t let up on the following tracks and both "Piece by Piece" and "Necrophobic" threaten to rip the listeners head off. The same can be said about "Altar of Sacrifice" and "Jesus Saves". The either very short breaks between tracks or the way some tracks seque into each other makes the listening experience only that more intense. It´s like the sonic violence never stops. No peace, no breathers.

The first track on the B-side of the original vinyl is "Criminally Insane", which opens with one of the most instantly recognisable drum patterns in metal (and it´s so simple it´s almost criminal). Then on to the crushingly fast-paced brutality of "Reborn" and "Epidemic", before the album closes with the brilliant "Postmortem" and "Raining Blood". While everything on the album is delivered with high level aggression and intensity, the closing minute of "Postmortem" still takes the prize as the most badass moment on the album. The level of extremity and intensity goes through the roof at that point of the album.

So the songwriting is really something special on "Reign in Blood". Every track is memorable, powerful, and raw, and although the pace is predominantly fast, there are enough heavy mid-paced grooves for the album never to sound one-dimensional. The vocal parts are also filled with hook laden phrases, and after a while you may even find yourself making a twisted humming sound to imitate the screaming atonal guitar solos, which there are plenty of on the album.

Other than the high quality songwriting one of the greatest assets of "Reign in Blood" is the powerful organic playing style. Dave Lombardo relentlessly drives the music forward with his hardcore punk on meth influenced drumming style, Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King deliver one razor sharp and furiously fast-paced riff and solo after another, and Tom Araya lays down a heavy bass bottom and performs his vocal parts with great aggressive passion and conviction. So the skills and the unique sound are there, and when you pair that with the organic, raw, and detailed sound production, which was by far the most powerful and well sounding production on any Slayer release up until then, you get a release that is high quality in all departments. A 5 star (100%) rating is fully deserved.

SLAYER Seasons in the Abyss

Album · 1990 · Thrash Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Unitron
The word atmosphere in relation to music is often connected to ambient and an implied quiet and/or lack of hooks. While ambient music is definitely atmospheric, I see all music as atmospheric in a way, as different albums and songs capture different moods and places. The Crystal Method's Vegas, Kool Keith's Black Elvis/Lost in Space, Godflesh's Songs of Love and Hate, Korn's Issues, Slayer's Seasons in the Abyss, this is just a handful of albums that are far from ambient or lacking in hooks yet are some of my favorite albums when it comes to atmosphere.

Seasons in the Abyss continues where South of Heaven left off, but with even more focus on the atmosphere the album sets up. It's bleak and apocalyptic, but far from a miserable dungeon synth album that's no fun to listen to. War Ensemble is one of metal's greatest openers, and fittingly evokes a war march in a stomping thrash format. The album's got such a great flow from track to track, making it one of those albums that's hard to listen to just one song. Blood Red, Spirit in Black, Born of Fire, Skeletons of Society, and the moody title track are all my favorites. Skeletons of Society especially, might be my favorite Slayer song, it's got such an instant headbanging hook. Dead Skin Mask and the title track are definitely the album's atmosphere at its most disturbing but also melodic. Tom Araya is often underrated as both a bassist and his unique way of delivering melody that fits perfectly in Slayer's dark and aggressive world.

I often have a hard time choosing between South of Heaven or Seasons in the Abyss as my favorite Slayer album, but I think Abyss wins just by a bit. It takes South of Heaven's already more atmospheric approach and expands upon it with just as strong songwriting.

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