1988, Music

South of Heaven (1988) by Slayer

This is only my second Slayer record so I am certainly not as knowledgeable about the change of sound as actual fans of this band. It’s also been a while since I heard the previous record, so it’s additionally hard.

But everything I read says how much slower South of Heaven is than Reign in Blood. I feel like I remember how fast the latter was but I can’t honestly say I remember it being so much faster. But the review I wrote at the time indicates as much.

If I put all that aside, I quite like this. It’s like a screamier (shoutier, really) Metallica, with less proggy tendencies. It’s loud and brutal and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that, with the a few notable exceptions – “Silent Scream” for example, which is pretty fast – it had a role to play in the evolution of doom metal. (That’s not to say that this is doom metal, but a deliberately slowed down version of Slayer feels like a step in the general direction of “slower and louder.”)

Apparently some fans (and members of the band) really don’t like this record, because it deviates from their core sound. I happen to like when bands take risks, and I certainly don’t have a problem with it here. I don’t want to hear the same record over and over and over again.

  1. “South of Heaven,” lyrics by Tom Araya, music by Hanneman; 4:58
  2. “Silent Scream,” lyrics by Araya, music by Hanneman, Kerry King; 3:07
  3. “Live Undead,” lyrics by Araya King, music by Hanneman; 3:50
  4. “Behind the Crooked Cross” music and lyrics by Hanneman; 3:15
  5. “Mandatory Suicide,” lyrics by Araya, music by Hanneman, King; 4:05
  6. “Ghosts of War,” lyrics by King, music by Hanneman, King; 3:53
  7. “Read Between the Lies,” lyrics by Araya, King, music by Hanneman; 3:20
  8. “Cleanse the Soul,” lyrics by Araya, King, music by Hanneman; 3:02
  9. “Dissident Aggressor,” lyrics by Rob Halford, music by K. K. Downing, Glenn Tipton; 2:35
  10. “Spill the Blood,” music and lyrics by Hanneman; 4:48
  • Tom Araya – vocals, bass
  • Kerry King – guitars
  • Jeff Hanneman – guitars
  • Dave Lombardo – drums

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