Slayer - South Of Heaven
Where Reign In Blood is half an hour of pure madness and Seasons In The Abyss is aggressive in a more gloomy way, South Of Heaven falls somewhere in between the two, both chronologically and approach wise. But let's not dwell more on one of Metal's most notorious bands and get to the actual songs on this, their fourth full-length album.

Staring off with one hell of a track, South Of Heaven creepingly builds up tension with brilliant raw rhythm guitars and Dave Lombardo's ultra tight drumming. I'm just fascinated by the track's structure and ability to sound so heavy even though it's a more modest Slayer song tempo wise.

Silent Scream kicks things into fifth gear, the opening drum onslaught and subsequent double bass insanity gets my blood running faster right away.
The first solo by King is intense to the bone and when Hanneman steps in with a cool technical procedure it gives it that cool duelling feeling. A marvellous and totally unruly composition.

Live Undead has one of the fiercest breaks I have come across, it's like they just couldn't strike it home without releasing some of that world famous unbound aggressiveness.
This song is a good example of the varied side of Slayer, lots of rhythm changes accompanied by a dynamic bass delivery.

Tom Araya's vocals are a very important aspect in the Slayer sound and his work on this record is just totally amazing, it's hard to explain but alongside the hardness and soaring screams a melodic vibe coexists. Take the way he sings the first line in Behind The Crocked Cross, catchy in a very stripped down fashion.

Mandatory Suicide is not my favourite song on the album but it is still a good one, I think it looses some of its momentum in the extensive ending section.
The massive groove it gains from a heavy rhythm section works out well and check out the second solo by Hanneman, incredible stuff.

Ultra fast riffs and a vigorous vocal presentation make up some really strong points in the fantastic Ghost Of War, "I deal in pain" is just such a powerful line.
Dave throws on some brilliant fills and overall I'm blown away by his performance, as goes for the rest of the band, this is simply an extremely well played record.

Read Between The Lines doesn't really have the same strong structure and great ideas as the other songs. I must give credit to the creative drumming but I'm missing a memorable binding element.

Cleanse The Soul on the other hand jumps right for the throat, high tempo madness performed with great skill. The varied drumming is a pleasure to explore in detail and the solos are stunning.

Sinister acoustic guitar tunes send out an apocalyptic mood of warning before Spill The Blood slowly unfolds its raw and groovy nature. The experimenting approach gives the album a very varied dimension towards the end; the groovy bass and melodic chorus are working out great too.

Not making this any less enjoyable is the groovy take on the Judas Priest classic Dissident Aggressor.

Slayer can with good reason be labelled extreme on both the musical and lyrical front. Hellish scenarios, inner demons, abuse of religion and the horror of war are presented with in a certain outright style, matching the music in a very supportive way. Once in a while we have to deal with the darker sides in life, and Slayer does a good job in presenting some important issues on this record.

The production is classic in it self, crystal clear, balanced and tight in one heck of a heavy mixture.

The sublime mix of raw heaviness, chunky but melodic hooks and a unique touch of spellbinding intensity makes this so special.

Written by Tommy
Friday, May 6, 2005
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RevelationZ Comments

Comment by Maiden Fan (Member) - Friday, May 6, 2005
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Hi tommy,
Good review.. And at last, i see the name SLAYER in ur bands list.. This is what i have been waiting for..
Also, i had listenend to some of ur mentioned albums/songs.. was really good.
Though i like Slayer's aggression.. i feel their weak point is their leads.. I soemhow cant get hooked on to a slayer's lead..
But for ultra-heavy riffs and killing vocals.. its SLAYER... Still Reigning..!

Posted by Maiden Fan
Friday, May 6, 2005

Comment by Tommy (Member) - Friday, May 6, 2005
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Hello Maiden fan.

I fought you would be happy finally seeing Slayer on the site ;)

Cool that you found something you like on that list too.

Up The Irons

RevelationZ Magazine

Posted by Tommy
Friday, May 6, 2005

Comment by nj23nut (Anonymous) - Monday, May 9, 2005
8.5/10??? That's IT?!? Clearly one of Slayer's strongest albums beside Reign in Blood and Seasons in the Abyss, this is a masterpiece of metal and is a 10. Not a bad song on the album.

Comment by Four Seasons (Anonymous) - Thursday, May 26, 2005
When I first picked up this album and listened to it, I was a little skeptical, but after listening to it many times, I believe this one of Slayer's best efforts, soaring above "Reign In Blood". Heavy riffs and constant power destroys all boundaries, I can't recommend this album enough!

Comment by Maiden Fan (Member) - Saturday, August 20, 2005
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Ok.. From the past few weeks i am into this album.. so i thought i will make a second comment here
Well, to be fair enough whenever i play this album - the first song is so damn good that i put it on a repeat..
Also though i know very little or nothing about drumming in general - the starting drums after the first guitar line makes my hand automatically replicate a drummers way of hitting after every 4 counts.. just like the guy who does it in the 'War at the warfield DVD' (one of the guys of the audience i meant)..
Again SLAYER is so good expect for their lead guitar.. i mean like what the hell are they playing man.. in fact during the last minute of 'raining blood' both hanneman/king have termed their lead guitar as "noise"..
But their music is serious head-banging stuff... I dont think i can bang my head for any other riffs from any other band SO HARD

Posted by Maiden Fan
Saturday, August 20, 2005

Comment by Metal Classic (Anonymous) - Sunday, August 13, 2006
Slayers best album along with Hell Awaits.

Comment by notrap (Member) - Friday, September 19, 2008
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The most progressive Slayer output.
South of Heaven, Mandatory Suicide, Behind the Crocked Cross or Spill the blood are dam good songs.

Read Between The Lines is probably the first hip hop/thrash tempo (yes I know Anthrax too..)


Posted by notrap
Friday, September 19, 2008

Review by Tommy

Released by
American Recordings - 1988

1. South Of Heaven
2. Silent Scream
3. Live Undead
4. Behind The Crocked Cross
5. Mandatory Suicide
6. Ghost Of War
7. Read Between The Lines
8. Cleanse The Soul
9. Dissident Aggressor
10. Spill The Blood

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