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 3.66 | 84 ratings
Show No Mercy
Thrash Metal 1983
SLAYER Hell Awaits album cover 3.92 | 89 ratings
Hell Awaits
Thrash Metal 1985
SLAYER Reign in Blood album cover 4.28 | 195 ratings
Reign in Blood
Thrash Metal 1986
SLAYER South of Heaven album cover 4.25 | 131 ratings
South of Heaven
Thrash Metal 1988
SLAYER Seasons in the Abyss album cover 4.22 | 121 ratings
Seasons in the Abyss
Thrash Metal 1990
SLAYER Divine Intervention album cover 3.53 | 60 ratings
Divine Intervention
Thrash Metal 1994
SLAYER Undisputed Attitude album cover 3.11 | 37 ratings
Undisputed Attitude
Crossover Thrash 1996
SLAYER Diabolus in Musica album cover 3.22 | 50 ratings
Diabolus in Musica
Thrash Metal 1998
SLAYER God Hates Us All album cover 2.46 | 49 ratings
God Hates Us All
Thrash Metal 2001
SLAYER Christ Illusion album cover 3.23 | 53 ratings
Christ Illusion
Thrash Metal 2006
SLAYER World Painted Blood album cover 3.40 | 61 ratings
World Painted Blood
Thrash Metal 2009
SLAYER Repentless album cover 3.80 | 27 ratings
Repentless
Thrash Metal 2015

SLAYER EPs & splits

SLAYER Haunting the Chapel album cover 3.86 | 34 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 3.50 | 3 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 3.74 | 25 ratings
Live Undead
Thrash Metal 1984
SLAYER Decade of Aggression: Live album cover 4.39 | 27 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 4.69 | 4 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 | 5 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
5.00 | 1 ratings
Angel of Death
Thrash Metal 1986
.. Album Cover
4.00 | 1 ratings
Criminally Insane
Thrash Metal 1987
.. Album Cover
5.00 | 2 ratings
South of Heaven
Thrash Metal 1988
.. Album Cover
4.75 | 2 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 Divine Intervention

Album · 1994 · Thrash Metal
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SilentScream213
Divine Intervention has remained not only my favorite slayer album, but my favorite album of all time since I heard it in my freshman year of high school, 2010. Not that it immediately became my favorite album upon first listen – no, this is a slow grower, but a very easy album to come back to. And come back to it I did, many times; I’m sure this is in my top 10 most listened albums of all time, and a certain contender for the #1 spot.

But, why Divine Intervention?

Why the album AFTER Slayer stopped being the greatest Thrash band in the world? After the lineup change and the death of metal in the 90’s? The album with troubled production and almost no live representation?

Quite frankly, because I don’t give a damn about any of that stuff.

I speak with utmost sincerity when I say I think this album is absolutely as great in every department as the 5 preceding it. The only exception being that the production is lower quality, but you know what? That higher class sheen on Seasons in the Abyss never did it for me as much as the raw, honest sound that we get here. The complaints about the production quality are completely unfounded if one enjoys Show No Mercy, or Kill ‘Em All, or basically any Black Metal.

With sufficient clarity on why none of this album’s “weaknesses” bother me, let me now express why I love it so much.

The mood. The atmosphere. The writing. Slayer were always that too evil band that were somehow mainstream. From day one they were writing about Satan, demons and infernal hellfire, and they remained consistent in that approach throughout the 80’s, with growing themes of real horrors as well, including war and mental illness. However, on Divine Intervention, hell froze over. The hell fire faded and the demons gave way to a much more terrifying being – humanity. Strongly influenced by literature about serial killers as well as newspaper articles, Tom Araya took a stronger writing role here and focused almost exclusively on real world evil and suffering. Songs took a deeper look into the psych of serial killers, criminals, and even drug abuse on the closing “Mind Control.” The riffs followed suit, and as such, this album isn’t as flashy as their previous material, and I think that gets lost on a lot of people. The riffs here are cold and calculated, evoking sincere darkness and an unrelenting bleakness that remains consistent throughout the entire album.

Which leads to an immense strength of this album; the songwriting. Hints of Tech Thrash break through in many of the tracks here, with less conventional rhythms courtesy of Paul Bostaph taking the songs into twisting territory that deviates far from their simpler punk roots. The guitar solos on this album are actually good, and more often than not add to the song with more thoughtful melodies as opposed to pure chaos. The title track and closing track both have perhaps the best solos by the band, and truly these songs felt like they had gained a level of maturity and depth in their structure. Tom’s vocals are also the most aggressive, manic and eclectic he has ever laid to record; in title track “Divine Intervention” he pushes his yelling to its limit, and haunting “Serenity in Murder” allows his lower registry to croon wickedly between more thrash roars. Divine Intervention could easily be argued to be Slayer’s heaviest album, which cannot be said for most metal releases from bands that were “declining” in the 90’s.

At the risk of sounding crazy, I’ll also confess that the insanely dark lyricism and mood on this album, particularly on tracks like “Killing Fields,” were immensely helpful for me emotionally. Since I discovered it, Metal has always been an extremely cathartic way for me to deal with negative emotions. Divine Intervention did that better than any other album I’d heard, and still remains one of my weapons of choice when I need it. People don’t usually label Slayer as being emotional music, but they probably forget that anger is an emotion. Some people have their OK Computers, some people have their Dark Side of the Moons, and I’ve got my Divine Intervention.

SLAYER South of Heaven

Album · 1988 · Thrash Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
SilentScream213
South of Heaven was my first favorite album. The first one I ever listened to while thinking “god damn, this is music for me.” I had never heard sincerely dark or heavy music before that, and I never looked back.

It all started with my first videogame, DOOM. I played that game when I was just 2 years old – I worked the gun while my father did everything else, but it was still an incredibly memorable experience that was burned into my memory. I didn’t play the game for a long span of time because we had to get rid of it after Columbine happened, and then it became kind of a pipe dream to be able to play it again.

It was actually right as I was entering public school in 8th grade (I was homeschooled prior) that we managed to get the game again. Man that was a triumphant moment, and the game was just as great as I remembered. However, one thing that struck me was the music – holy hell, that music kicked ass.

I wasn’t even into music yet at this age. I listened to The Beatles, I listened to whatever the parents had, and I didn’t really listen too intently. I didn’t even know what metal really was, other than hearsay. But I LOVED this game’s music. I went to shady websites to download mp3s of the game tracks, and naturally, I started reading up about it more. Well it turns out a ton of the tracks are based on real songs by real bands – all metal bands I had never heard of save Metallica. I had to get this stuff.

I actually downloaded all of the original songs without listening to any of them first, bought my first mp3 player, and then listened to them all at once. It was a rite of passage of sorts. I loved everything I heard, even the gruff stuff like Pantera, who’s vocals were too much for me but the riffs were good enough to get through it. This new form of dark, aggressive music was striking all my chords, even though I had no experience with it. But at the end of the list – as the bands were in alphabetical order and there were only 10 or so – was Slayer.

Slayer hit different.

The three songs from DOOM were “South of Heaven” “Silent Scream” and “Behind the Crooked Cross” and they instantly became my favorite songs (barring “The Long and Winding Road, which will never not be one of the most beautiful songs ever). Such condensed aggression and evil had never struck me in aural form like that before. I mean, even Pantera, who were just as heavy, didn’t sound nearly as dark and evil as this. And the lyrics! Holy hell, they were actually disturbing at that age. A song about abortion – what the hell was that. And I loved them.

Finding that the songs were all from the same album, I got it immediately – digitally, physically, everything. I didn’t even know what riffs were before this! This was insane to me. The whole album was just as good as the few songs I’d heard. I easily listened to it at least once everyday for probably the rest of that school semester. And it ended up being really important in me finding my identity in a crucial period of life – I now knew that metal was my passion. I knew what kind of music I liked, I could talk about it, I met people through it, and I searched for more.

The funny thing is, though Slayer remains my favorite band, their other material didn’t click with me at first. Turns out this album was Slayer at their slowest and most melodic; if I started with any other album, I may not have been infected so easily. But yes, it was South of Heaven that turned me into a full-time metalhead, and it was the first album I could confidently say was my favorite. Listening to it while writing this review, I’m not surprised in the slightest that it gives me the same feeling of intense bliss as it did nearly 10 years ago, still comfortably sitting among my favorite albums of all time.

SLAYER Reign in Blood

Album · 1986 · Thrash Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
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
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
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.

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