Slayer
South of Heaven


3.0
good

Review

by John weathered old reviewer Hanson STAFF
June 21st, 2006 | 379 replies | 33,093 views


Release Date: 1988 | Tracklist


I’m writing this before I listen to the album in question, South of Heaven. In all honesty, I’ve heard maybe one full album by trash metal “gods" Slayer, and I was not impressed in the least. Sure, the guitarists were solid at what they do, and no doubt godsends for their time, but it just sounded as if time had taken its toll on the band. So, as there has recently been a trend in rating classic metal albums low, I decided I’d do a review of South of Heaven. Upon acquiring this album, I realized I had heard Spill the Blood before, and had actually thought it was the best Slayer I had heard up to that point.

This is where that point of me not listening to the album comes to an end. After a preliminary listen to Spill the Blood, I was wholeheartedly anticipating listening to the rest of the album. The low-key intro that led into the bombastic song itself was fantastic, and the guitarists surely proved to me why they are referred to as gods by the general thrash public. I was disappointed by two things (and these two things are very important, so listen closely): for one, the mix on the bass was far too low for my liking, with it being almost completely drowned out by the blistering guitars. Secondly, the drums were entirely under whelming. When I’m listening to “heavy" metal (heavy in general, not specifying any particular genre), I want my drums to be pounding, to drive the music. Slayer’s drummer just felt…weak.

I was unfortunately displeased by the remainder of the album. It could very well be that I am an untrained noob listening to thrash with no real appreciation for it, but honestly most of the songs blended in for me. Sure, the guitar work was astounding, but then again, the guitar work began to wear on me by albums end. With the other instruments really not being there to back them up, the guitars are basically tasked with the charge with both being explosive and shredtastic, but also with keeping the song together. The guitarists actually do quite the job at keeping everything together, but after a while, I just got sick of it.

One thing I came in thinking and came out knowing was that Slayer’s vocalist is absolutely terrible. While it may be cliché, the only person I can compare him too is that one dude guy from Metallica (shows how much thrash I listen to in all honesty). His delivery is barely adequate, but when your voice is just so generic and depends on that horrible “Gruffness" that metal is known for in the mainstream, you’re just going to have to at least have an interesting way of singing. On that note, as has been said at least three times, Slayer has rather poor lyrics. An example from the title track:

Chaos rampant,
An age of distrust.
Confrontations.
Impulsive habitat.


Here goes a small example from the “ballad" and previously mentioned track, Spill the Blood:

Spill your blood, let it run on to me,
Take my hand and let go of your life.
Close your eyes and see what is me,
Raise the chalice, embrace for evermore.


Now, admittedly, those are near the bottom of the barrel when it comes to this album, but when trying to look for lyrics I actually thought were nifty, I couldn’t find any. Like much of what Slayer does, it really just seems to be one of those now stereotypical things that they were the originally the pioneers of. Honestly, they’re rather stupid and I’d much rather have most of these songs be about some beautiful woman than epic battles filled with blood.

And alas, we approach what must be called the conclusion. I have a few things I suppose I should say that will pretty much sum up my feelings on the album. One, the mix is completely unfair to the bass, drums, and even vocals (although that does less hindering than it should…), and really makes the guitars too much of a focus. Secondly, going on that note, the guitarists are amazing. For the first 10 minutes you listen to Slayer. After that, if you’re not a metal-head yourself, you’ll probably find yourself thinking “Ok cool more guitar solos…I’m going to go take a leak." Third, the album itself is extremely dated. What was impressive back then it just sort of “Well, that’s good" now. So, in short, I am actually on the borderline of liking this album. If there was more variety (Silent Scream and the previously mentioned [twice at this point] Spill the Blood are really the only two songs I can distinguish off the top of my head), I would probably be inclined to give this an immediate score of “Great." However, I am instead going to make a mockery of reviewing scores, and score this in every cliché way possible. Here we go!

Out of Genre: 2
In Genre: 4
For its Time: 4
These Days: 2.5
Instrumentally: 3
Vocally/Lyrically: 2
Influence Level: 4.5
Personally: 2.5

So there you have it, 8 ratings that really don’t mean much. Averaged out, that’s a 3.0625. So in the end, I am going to go ahead and give South of Heaven a 3. IF you want one of the pioneering records of thrash, by all means pick this up. If you enjoy other Slayer material or like thrash in general, I’d recommend it. Otherwise I really can’t. Unless you like cheesy lyrics, which I know many of you do. If that’s the case with you, I say: Why the hell are you not in your car driving to get this now.



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user ratings (1935)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 22nd 2006



16071 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'm not thrilled with this review, but it is what it is. My general lack of knowledge hindered me here, but I do believe I speak for non-thrash/psuedo-metal fans out there with this review.

btw the not naming members was intentional.This Message Edited On 06.22.06

Bron-Yr-Aur
June 22nd 2006



4405 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review. Nowhere near your best (I'm sure you know that), but on the hole, definately worth a positive vote.This Message Edited On 06.22.06

ToWhatEnd
June 22nd 2006



3172 Comments


Unless you like cheesy lyrics, which I know many of you do. If that’s the case with you, I say: Why the hell are you not in your car driving to get this now.
Giggle giggle, Slayer gets old very fast IMO. Nice review.

The Sludge
June 22nd 2006



2169 Comments


Pretty nice, I liked the mock scores.... still cracking up at the 3.0625 :D.

... patiently awaits the silly Slayer fanboys.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 22nd 2006



16071 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks for the comments and votes and stuff people.

loathed
June 22nd 2006



174 Comments


wow, good rating style.

-anti.hero-
June 22nd 2006



29 Comments


ok, you haven't even listened to the album? thats like a movie critic reviewing a movie he hasnt watched, infact its the excact same, now i respect your opinion because when it comes to slayer you either love it or you hate it, but atleast listen to the album and give it a thorough listen, before reviewing it, i own this album and have for a few years and i listen to it quite regularly, and in my opinion it was a pinnacle point in slayer's career, but yes, you are entitled to your own opinion and we shall all respect freedom of speech...most of the time

Bron-Yr-Aur
June 22nd 2006



4405 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The preamble to the review was written before he listened to it, the rest he obviously had to listen to it to write. As a matter of fact...

[quote=The review, genius]This is where that point of me not listening to the album comes to an end[/quote]

Had you bothered to read past the first paragraph, you'd have stumbled across that.This Message Edited On 06.22.06

Apocalyptic Raids
June 22nd 2006



810 Comments


I wouldn't really say this is a pioneering album in Thrash. It's a good album, but definitely not their best.

Jimmy
June 22nd 2006



717 Comments


You make it sound like you only listened to the album once...

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 22nd 2006



16071 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

If my first paragraph does that, my apoligies for your reading comprehension not being that high.

south_of_heaven 11
June 22nd 2006



5426 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Actually, I'd agree with Jimmy. You really made it out to sound like you've listened to it only once. (And thanks to some school testing, I have a rather high reading comprehension level)

You're the first person outside of thrash to acknowledge Kerry and Jeff as good guitarists. Thank you.

Slayer’s drummer just felt…weak

I'd have to disagree. Dave is one of the best drummers I have ever heard. He actually does drive the music on this album most of the time, especially on 'Mandatory Suicide'.

And I'm surprised you choose 'Silent Scream' as one of your favorites. I would've personally thought you would've favored the ever-changing 'South of Heaven' or the better-heavier song 'Ghosts of War'. Oh well. It just rather surprised me, that's all.

And to finish off my rant, I thought it was an alright review. Really no where near your best, but then again, no where near your worst. You did a good job talking about the album instrumentally, but you didnt really even brush on the songs, save for 'Silent Scream' and 'Spill the Blood'. And a few lines from 'South of Heaven'. I won't vote.This Message Edited On 06.22.06

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 22nd 2006



16071 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Silly young people.
last.fm says I have 27 plays on this album, 4 of which do belong to both South of Heaven and Spill the Blood.
My whole point on Dave was that the mix hindered him again. Occasionally I'd be like "hmm, he could be good", but it just sounds so weak I had to say it.
Again, I had a point in not really "brushing" on the songs. Most of them just felt the same to me, with the three I'd mentioned being the only ones that really stoodout in any way.
I really don't care, as some noob neg'd my underoath review, which I'm far more proud of/care about anyways.

Bron-Yr-Aur
June 22nd 2006



4405 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Oh, people. It's a well-written review regardless. This was certainly better than "alright".

south_of_heaven 11
June 22nd 2006



5426 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I really don't care, as some noob neg'd my underoath review

That's always a bi*ch

metallicaman8
June 22nd 2006



4677 Comments


Solid review. Not your best but still darn good.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 22nd 2006



16071 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Oh by the way guys, this was in fact the first metal review (much less thrash) review I've ever done. I really don't expect to be doing too many more, to be honest.

Deth
June 22nd 2006



13 Comments


Please alert an R&M Forum mod! I cannot post in the forums. I'm not banned. I have no idea what's going on. Only in CD reviews. Thanks!

The Sludge
June 22nd 2006



2169 Comments


Ahh, those Slayer fanboys were mild on you from not rubbing on the review's genitallia. Still, good review, it was well written and entertaining all the way through :DThis Message Edited On 06.22.06

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 22nd 2006



16071 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

My Machinae review is ten thousand times better than this. Maybe I'll continue on with metal reviews after all. Although assuredly not Slayer.



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