Label: Def Jam Recordings
I assume you’ve heard the news by now; but if not, word is that Slayer will be announcing their final, goodbye world tour soon. For all their highs and lows over the years, there’s sure to be a lot of people who will be sad if they can’t make these shows – assuming, of course, that final actually means final (and given the actions of bands like Black Sabbath, announcing farewell after farewell after farewell tour, no one will hold any cynicism against you). There’s no doubting that a lot of this is down to their 80’s output, and whilst many will argue for Reign in Blood being Slayer’s best album, my pick is always South of Heaven.
Of course, Reign in Blood is a monster of an album, that anyone would have been proud to record. But South of Heaven is an album from a band unafraid to show that they can take the thrash metal template they were already helping to form, and twist it in to dark, creative new sounds. The opening title track is a masterclass in mood and dark atmosphere; and the contrast between this and the raging ‘Silent Scream’ makes the second track seem all the more effective. Practically every song on here is perfect, including the cover of Judas Priest’s ‘Dissident Aggressor’. ‘Mandatory Suicide’; ‘Live Undead’; Read Between the Lies’ – so many excellent songs. It’s because of this album, more than any other, that I still think fondly of Slayer, and should this tour prove to be their last, I shall miss them when they are gone.
South of Heaven is available from pretty much any record store you can visit. It can also be streamed via Spotify.