Friday, June 12, 2009

Slayer - South of Heaven

9/10

This is by far the slowest-paced Slayer release up to this point, but that doesn't mean it's bad at all. In all honesty, I prefer my metal at this particular tempo, and appreciate the fact that they didn't try to outdo Reign in Blood by moving up to grindcore-level speeds. I especially liked the intros on this release, including the beginning of the opening title track and the one to "Behind the Crooked Cross" (which was famously sampled in the video game Doom).
However, the soloing is just as fast and gloriously sloppy as ever; it's still unmistakably a Slayer album, even if it's not that fast for most of its running time. I also appreciated how the drums stick out more to my ears; I've never really been a fan of ludicrously fast drumming (it all sounds the same), and Dave Lombardo's performance here is excellent largely because it's quite varied.
South of Heaven is far superior to the overrated Reign in Blood. If you get just two Slayer albums, I recommend this one and Hell Awaits so you can get the best of both worlds.

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