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South of Heaven


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Album Review

When it comes to death metal, no band is more convincing than Slayer. For other bands, focusing on death, Satanism, the supernatural, and the occult became a cliché; but Slayer's controversial reflections on evil always came across as honest and heartfelt. The group's sincerity is the thing that makes South of Heaven so disturbing and powerful — when the influential thrashers rip into such morbid fare as "Spill the Blood," "Mandatory Suicide," and "Ghosts of War," they are frighteningly convincing. With their fourth album, Slayer began to slow their tempos without sacrificing an iota of heaviness or incorporating any pop elements. South of Heaven would be Slayer's last album for Def Jam. When Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons (brother of Joseph "Run" Simmons of Run-D.M.C.) parted company, Slayer went to Rubin's new company Def American, while LL Cool J, Slick Rick, and other rappers recorded for Simmons at Def Jam.

Customer Reviews

Grade-A Slayer

The first song on this album exemplifies what South of Heaven is all about. As opposed to the blinding speed of Slayer's first album, Reign in Blood, South of Heaven incorporates more melodic and slower tempo qualities, without losing that distinct Slayer edge. Slow riffs build upon one another to create atmospheric and amazing songs. Tom Araya's vocals have also improved. Slayer also altered their lyrics slightly when crafting this album. Instead of purely singing about Satan and blood, they added in songs about modern evils such as Nazis ('Behind the Crooked Cross') and suicide ('Mandatory Suicide'). This in effect made their songs all the more disturbing. All in all South of Heaven, although not as fast, is a must have for all Slayer fans, if not all metal fans. Album Highlights: 'South of Heaven', 'Behind the Crooked Cross', 'Ghost of War'

misunderstood by some, worshiped by others

some slayer fans don't like south of heaven because it is slower and more accessable, but in truth this album is one of slayer's best and most unique works. This album is not that slow, half the songs are still very hard and brutal, but there are ones that are slower. These slower songs don't diminish the slayer sound, in fact they add a haunting mysticallity to the songs that make them all the more mindshatteringly powerful and morbid. This style is also added to the faster songs to produce great and haunting riff changes. This album is a must for all fans of slayer or worshipers of metal!

A little South of Reign in Blood, but...

Slayer's fourth full studio album was a bit of a departure from the all out brutality of their previous effort "Reign in Blood". However, this does not mean that the album is less significant, and nearly all of the songs still hold up well today. Tom Araya's vocals on this album are the clearest they have ever been, and the songwriting itself is clean and straightforward. This album also represents Dave Lombardo's finest hour. It really is a clinic in heavy metal drumming, as he rarely goes more than ten seconds without a blistering drum fill. Any of the first five songs on the album could and should be mandatory for any Slayer afficionado. "Mandatory Suicide" has become one of the bands signature live songs, and it is also the first time a classic Slayer song has dealt with the subject of warfare through the eyes of a soldier. However, as the album progresses, the songwriting and the tempo both, in general, decline. This is not to say that the songs are bad, just that they are not as good as the first five or six. Again, as with all Slayer albums, the guitars of Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman are proven to be the finest in the metal world. Sometimes understated, and never the focus of the listener, Slayer's twin guitar attack is rarely imitated successfully, and never duplicated.


Formed: 1982 in Huntington Park, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Slayer were one of the most distinctive, influential, and extreme thrash metal bands of the 1980s. Their graphic lyrics dealt with everything from death and dismemberment to war and the horrors of hell. Their full-throttle velocity, wildly chaotic guitar solos, and powerful musical chops painted an effectively chilling sonic background for their obsessive chronicling of the dark side; this correspondence helped Slayer's music hold up arguably better than the remaining Big Three '80s thrash outfits...
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