SLAYER — Show No Mercy

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SLAYER - Show No Mercy cover
3.52 | 72 ratings | 8 reviews
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Album · 1983

Filed under Thrash Metal
By SLAYER

Tracklist

1. Evil Has No Boundaries (3:10)
2. The Antichrist (2:50)
3. Die by the Sword (3:37)
4. Fight Till Death (3:38)
5. Metal Storm / Face the Slayer (4:54)
6. Black Magic (4:04)
7. Tormentor (3:46)
8. The Final Command (2:33)
9. Crionics (3:30)
10. Show No Mercy (3:06)

Total Time: 35:08

Line-up/Musicians

- Tom Araya / Vocals, bass
- Jeff Hanneman / Guitars
- Kerry King / Guitars
- Dave Lombardo / Drums

About this release

Full-length, Metal Blade Records, December 3rd, 1983

Thanks to UMUR for the updates

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SLAYER SHOW NO MERCY reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

martindavey87
There was a time in my early teens when I was really into Slayer. I'd just gotten into rock and metal via Kiss, Metallica and Megadeth, and was craving anything heavy, and nothing was heavier to 15 year-old me than Slayer!

But that was in 2002, and while I quickly outgrew my foray into thrash metal, I remained loyal to a lot of the bands. Of what is known as the "big four", Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax stayed with me as my musical tastes evolved and ventured to pastures new. But there was one band that got left behind very easily, and it's time to become reacquainted with them; Slayer,

Released in 1983, 'Show No Mercy' is Slayer's debut album, and much like all the other early thrash releases, it's raw and aggressive, but very unpolished and lacking anything truly memorable other than it's penchant for playing fast. There's not really much going on save for a song or two, with the riffs being fairly bland, typical 80's thrash riffs and Tom Araya's vocals not really suiting the music either. A weird combination of shouting and talking that just sits there but doesn't really do anything for me.

The musicianship is fine. Nothing to celebrate or shout about, but the early makings of one of metal's most beloved bands is certainly there. Guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman are certainly competent at keeping up with each other and all the other thrash metal bands of the day, and drummer Dave Lombardo is able to keep the tempo up throughout.

Admittedly, there is one song I like, and that's 'Tormentor'. It has a cool NWOBHM vibe to it, with some very nice riffs that are hindered by Araya's lacklustre vocal delivery. There's worse debuts out there, but I'm not a fan of 'Show No Mercy', and hearing it now, it makes me wonder how Slayer were ever considered a part of the big four to begin with.
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.
J-Man
Before Slayer achieved world domination with a long string of thrash metal classics, they released this humble debut in 1983. While still an eighties' metal classic in its own right, Show No Mercy shows a much different Slayer than what would be heard on albums like Reign in Blood and South of Heaven. Their trademark extreme thrash sound hadn't yet been developed, and in its place is a primitive example of early NWoBHM-infused thrash metal. Considering its context, Show No Mercy is a pretty damn original album, but it's definitely not a flawless entrance into the scene - these American legends would improve quite a bit over the next few years, but for what it is, Show No Mercy is a very solid debut.

Although future albums would prove that Slayer would only get even more aggressive and extreme as the decade progressed, Show No Mercy must've been quite a shock back in 1983. Everything from the Satanic imagery on the album cover to the relentless riffs contained within was pretty radical by 1983's standards, and calling this one of the first thrash releases certainly wouldn't be out of the question. NWoBHM plays a bigger role here than it would on any future Slayer releases, but this is still definitely a pretty heavy and fast-paced primitive thrash release. In spite of Show No Mercy's originality, however, this is still a rather flawed release in many aspects. Legend has it that the entire album was recorded in eight hours, and it's pretty apparent when considering the quality of the musicianship and production. Although Slayer were clearly talented musicians, their performances are much less refined than on future releases - Dave Lombardo's drumming especially pales in comparison to his later works. The thin production also sounds incredibly dated from a modern perspective.

Still, in spite of its glaring flaws, Show No Mercy manages to be a pretty damn enjoyable album. Slayer had a sense of pure aggression from day one, and the raw passion of these performances manages to shine through the album's shortcomings. Newcomers to Slayer will definitely want to check out a few of the band's later releases before listening to this one, but this is still an important early thrash metal document that every fan of the genre should experience at some point. A flawed but enjoyable album like this is well-deserving of 3 stars in my book.
Warthur
Sure, perhaps Slayer's later albums would show considerable artistic growth, but in context Show No Mercy is monumental. Easily the most complex and intriguing of the debut albums by the Big Four of thrash, the band may be showing their Iron Maiden and Mercyful Fate influences on their sleeves this time around but the performances and compositions here would do their predecessors proud. Tom Araya's furious vocals spit out lyrics more or less in keeping with the Satan-and-battles themes of the likes of Venom, but lends them a ferocity few bands (aside from perhaps, in a very different way, Mercyful Fate) could compete with. On the whole, an excellent start.
Phonebook Eater
Slayer is one of the most popular metal bands in music history, mainly thanks to the 1986 release "Reign In Blood", a landmark album for the genre. Their debut album, "Show no Mercy", isn't at all at that album's heights, but it still maintains to be a good and enjoyable album, that has become among metal heads a sort of a cult album.

Regularly classified as one of the four great thrash metal bands ("the big four"),with Megadeth, Anthrax and Metallica, Slayer has started their career seeming just like one of those heavy bands such as Venom, with fast, heavy songs and satanic references in the lyrics; "Show no Mercy" has these two elements, and these are exactly what made it a cult album. Furthermore, we have some pretty typical thrash metal characteristics that make the album such: take the screamed but nut growled vocals, the shredding guitars and solos, the fast and repetitive rhythm, a very rough and poor production, which is nothing compared to the impressively refined one of Slayer's third album, "Reign In Blood".

"Show No Mercy" has ten tracks, which all flow pretty fluidly along the album, but the structure as a whole doesn't feel too solid or consistent, musically speaking. The only thing that is solid is the lyrical content, at all times referring to satanism, hell, violence and such. Many songs, by nature,don't have a label, like some other songs have, saying where the song should be positioned in the LP, but in "Show no Mercy" I can't see any of these labeled tracks, probably due also to their sort of in your face, violent tones . There are some good moments here, like the opener "Evil Has No Boundaries", or "The Antichrist", one of the band's most successful songs of the first era, the somewhat catchy riff of "Die By The Sword" does sound a bit like a sort of guilty pleasure. Then again there are some songs I don't car for, but their definitely less than the ones I like.

A really good album, to conclude, and a great way to start a career. If thrash metal is your thing, I strongly recommend you pick this up ad try it.
The Angry Scotsman
The debut album from Slayer. While Metallica's "Kill 'Em All" may have been the first thrash metal album, Slayer's "Show no Mercy" stepped it up a notch. This album is faster and darker than KEA. It is also more technical. While KEA suffered from lots of open E string tremolo picking, and simple riffing, "Show No Mercy" has more complex and wild riffing. This gives it a more intense feel. Indeed, this album feels alot more intense then KEA.

This is a straightforward thrash metal album. However, the true Slayer sound is not quite developed. This album still has alot in common with Thrash predecessors NWOBHM (Metal Storm and Tormentor) and hardcore punk (Show no Mercy). Also, the solos on this album are a tad more melodic and more composed then later Slayer. They are still quite good of course. Just like KEA this album also follows a fairly standard rock/metal structure.

This is a good album. However, being a debut it is quite amateurish. The sound quality, (while usually not an issue for me) is pretty poor. The guitars often sound distant and kind of weak, the drums sound quite poor. Tom's vocals aren't quite developed and again the quality is not to good, (can pierce all the music at times). There is no really weak song, but a lot sound kind of the same and frankly this album can be a bit bland. The drumming is pretty simplistic. Straightforward beat keeping and simple fills, (punk influence again).

That being said there is some killer music on here. Some great riffs, some pretty interesting sections, flat out intensity, really good guitar solos, and overall Tom's vocals are not so great, but he does have his moments. As he screams "I AM THE ANTICHRIST!" how can you not be floored? Standout songs: The Antichrist, Die by the Sword, Black Magic

A straightforward thrash metal album, it packs all the intensity you'd want. Amateurish in quality, and song writing (some are a bit uninspired and overall the album has a NWOBHM and punk feel) this is not a brilliant album. But it is a decent debut and great thrash.

Two and a Half Stars

UMUR
Show No Mercy is the debut full-length studio album by American thrash metal act Slayer. The album was released in December 1983 through Metal Blade Records. Show No Mercy were alledgedly recorded in only eight hours in November 1983.

The music on Show No Mercy is one of the earliest examples of thrash metal. This means that Slayer at this point hadn´t fully developed their trademark sound and you´ll hear lots of influences from NWOBHM and traditional heavy metal in the songs in addition to the more aggressive thrash metal parts. For example take a listen to a song like Tormentor, that´s almost a fully fledged NWOBHM tune IMO. The trademark Slayer screaming, atonal guitar soloing isn´t fully developed on Show No Mercy yet either. While there are certainly some fast playing and not so nice notes being played, the solos are generally much more melodic than on later albums by the band. Kill 'Em All (1983) by Metallica was released in July 1983 and must have made a big impact on Slayer ( as well as on the rest of the metal scene), but a band like Venom and their first couple of releases were probably also a big influence. Judas Priest´s more aggressive tracks too.

There are some classic tracks on Show No Mercy like Evil Has No Boundaries, The Antichrist, Die by the Sword, Black Magic and Show No Mercy, but honestly I much prefer the "live" versions released on the Live Undead album in November 1984. I say "live" as the Live Undead album was recorded live in the studio in front of a very small crowd of fans. Not at a concert venue. Actually the studio versions on Show No Mercy pale in comparison, and overall I´ve never really been very fond of Show No Mercy. The production lacks punch and while the above mentioned classic songs are excellent tracks, the rest of the tracks on the album were never favorites of mine. Also the musicianship isn´t that well developed yet either. I especially find Dave Lombardo´s drumming and Tom Araya´s vocal performance lacking. And yes I acknowledge that the album was recorded in only eight hours with all the limitations that leads to. So Show No Mercy certainly isn´t a personal favorite but still it´s a seminal thrash metal album. A 2.5 - 3 star rating is warranted.
Stooge
Show No Mercy came as quite a shock to me when I first heard it. It’s been years since I’ve looked at the liner notes, but the images of King, Hanneman (while playing guitar with an inverted cross!!), and Lombardo in heavy eye makeup are still etched into my mind. Tom Araya’s higher-pitched vocals also took some adjustment, but he does a fairly good job with hitting some high screams, though often overdoing them. At this stage, they were clearly still trying to find their identity. Satanic and occult imagery was there from the beginning, with songs like “The Antichrist” and “Black Magic”, which coincidentally are probably the most popular songs on their debut.

Musically, their debut is quite different from the form of thrash metal they would go on to produce. Many of the songs showcase much more of a traditional metal sound (particularly during “Metal Storm/Face The Slayer”) albeit sped up slightly. The guitar solos also sound more structured than on their later albums. Some may prefer it that way, but I think the style King and Hanneman would later adapt is more suiting of their aggressive sound. While several songs chug along with decent velocity (“Evil Has No Boundaries”, “Fight Till Death”, “Show No Mercy”), they have yet to truly put their foot down on the accelerator. Their true speed will emerge once Dave Lombardo (only 18 years old here) finds his own sound on the drums.

Not a horrible album, but not a highly recommended one. Show No Mercy makes for an entertaining half an hour to hear a legendary metal band in their infancy, but would say you are neither better off nor worse off having heard it.

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