May Artist of the Month is...
So Cult and Feind kindly thank you all for reading our clap trap and we love you all!
Not much to ask for, right?
I remember a boy in one of my classes, surprisingly another loner, who introduced me to this something different. I vividly recall him telling me to check out Motley Crue. But they just weren't for me, there was something amiss, long curly hair, pink headbands and heavy makeup. huh? What...shout at the what...stylist!?
He tried again. And after sifting through a myriad of releases from bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax and Sodom I knew I was close, within reach even. Then on a dark, cold and dreary day, which incidentally happens several times a week where I hail from, I was handed something else.
I was yet to discover horror movies soaked in crimson, dripping in dark humor sporting piles and miles of gravity defying intestines that were to follow, and for that vice I also blame Slayer!
Hell Awaits was a release that found me, all of a sudden, donning headphones wherever I went. I would furiously pump my little legs until exhaustion in hopes that my bicycle tires might attain the speed found within the album itself. Thank the Horned forked tongued one I didn't attempt the same feat whilst listening to Reign in Blood.
Here are the all important details…
1985 Metal Blade records
1 Hell Awaits
2 Kill Again
3 At Dawn they Sleep
4 Praise of Death
6 Crypts of Eternity
7 Hardening of the Arteries
This release's introduction surpasses even Venom's genre defining, mishandling-of-a-chainsaw Black Metal.
Upon recent discovery I have learned that the incantations are actually several phrases played backwards, you would think I'd know this, as I've been known to listen to Judas Priest over and over and over again.
Hell Awaits, the title track has been covered many times over, most notably by Cradle of Filth, Incantation and Vader to name but a few. A lyrical quote within this track in part, I believe, pays homage to an earlier track on the Show no Mercy release: Angels fighting aimlessly still dying by the sword
This track cements Tom Araya's vocal prowess and proves his worth as a front man. Many of the vocal passages here seem rushed but still very decipherable. The fret picking madness and galloping rhythms displayed in this track foretell the sonic brilliance about to unfold within the rest of the album.
I'm guilty of singing the next track ad naseum to the point of my parents considering vocal removal surgery. Kill Again has a breakneck pace and is quite simply...brilliant!
And how can we forget the infamous lyrical content contained within Necrophilliac? I know I can't! “I have the urge a growing need” If you're a self proclaimed 'Metalhead' and can't finish this passage...words escape me! This song sails above all others and finds a special place when it comes to influences for my scribblings (Dark Desires, anyone?). But enough of my self congratulatory diatribe and on with the show…
Crypts of Eternity has a remarkable introduction that reeks of Morbid Angel, no two guesses here folks as to who influenced who (Altars of Madness was released four years prior) There is a riff that begins around the five minute mark that could quite possibly be my favorite on this album. It leads to a truly memorable and outstanding riff laden finale. The final lyrics, “my kingdom, my domain”, are chilling and bring about a great conclusion to this epic song.
Hardening of the Arteries is the last track and contains maniacally diabolic riffage and head bangin' melodies rounding off my favorite Slayer release nicely, the final minute however hints at something a little different, a mid tempo Slayer that which can be found within South of Heaven. Personally, I consider this Slayer's crowning achievement. It boasts technical guitar prowess and chilling riffs that twist and turn evoking medieval scenes of hell committed to many a skin canvass. Lyrical brilliance makes for an epic narrative that takes the listener on a unpredictable and chaotic quest that spirals swiftly into lust, madness and unmentionable clandestine need and overpowering urges.
It has everything you need folks. Galloping melodies, maniacally twisted riffs, black magic leanings and coitus with the undead, what else could you possibly wish for in a release, that's still considered legal.
My favorite Slayer release is Hell Awaits though I will admit Seasons In The Abyss and South Of Heaven came awfully close.
Released in 2001
Def Jam Music Group
1. Darkness Of Christ
3. God Send Death
4. New Faith
5. Cast Down
8. Seven Faces
11. War Zone
12. Here Comes The Pain
For me God Hates Us All is a true thrash masterpiece. Slayer returned to Reign In Blood form after writing longer dirges for South of Heaven through Divine Intervention. They had begun to return to form on Diabolus In Musica but GHUA is classic Slayer start to finish, fast, brutal and pummeling. Kerry King & Jeff Hanneman(RIP) have one of the most recognizable sounds in guitar history. When you hear a new Slayer song no one should have to tell you that it’s a Slayer song and I don’t think of that as a bad thing. Most guitarists play for years never distinguishing themselves from everyone else. It’s rare to create a sound that can be distinguished from anyone else and to me there was never anyone better than the tandem of King & Hanneman. God Hates Us All just oozes in great riffage with dueling solos back and forth all held together by the rhythm section of Araya’s bass and the last album for Paul Bostaph on drums before Dave Lombardo returned (sadly we’ll never see Lombardo with Slayer again as that is just a mess).