Slayer
Hell Awaits


3.5
great

Review

by Shadows USER (89 Reviews)
August 16th, 2006 | 173 replies | 28,687 views


Release Date: 1985 | Tracklist


13 of 15 thought this review was well written

Surely everyone, metal fan or not, recognizes the name Slayer by now. If only the same could be said for their second album Hell Awaits, which has recently celebrated its 20th birthday. Slayer didn’t begin as the unrelenting, controversial thrash act they are today. At one point they were little more than a NWOBHM-worshipping band who differentiated themselves by garnishing their music with an aggressive attitude and writing evil, violent lyrics. It may sound simple, but this otherwise anticipated formula paved way for a unique sound and ultimately a whole new world of heavy metal. Suddenly, riffs were heavier, drums were louder and faster, singing was replaced by shouting and screaming, and solos were played at warp speed. In an age when songs of love and partying were considered acceptable, a new wave of music swept over the world where death and Satan were commonplace. Thrash metal had breathed its first breath, and for those too weak to withstand its wrath…Hell Awaits.

“Relentless Lust Of Rotting Flesh, To Thrash The Tomb She Lies…Heathen Whore Of Satans Wrath, I Spit At Your Demise”
-Necrophiliac

It may not have been until Reign in Blood that Slayer truly found their musical footing, but they weren’t exactly clueless in the beginning. After Show No Mercy’s visibly British metal sound, it was time for America to kick it up a notch. What they produced was 37 minutes of Satan’s own personal soundtrack. Riffs and lyrics are as evil and menacing as ever while the vocals could turn wine back into water with the bread to match. At Dawn They Sleep and Necrophiliac (a wholesome, family-oriented song m/) both feature demonic guitar histrionics from the underworld. Tom Araya’s voice, while obviously hindered by the mediocre production qualities, still succeeds in throwing out some torturous shouts and Angel of Death-style high shrieks (see Crypts of Eternity).

Even though Sebastian Bach may not put them in the most devilish light, the title track Hell Awaits is a lesson in malevolence set to music, commencing with inhuman chants and a slow instrumental buildup into what has been effectively referred to as “the heaviest riff ever”.

“No Apparent Motive, Just Kill And Kill Again…Survive My Brutal Thrashing, I'll Hunt You Till The End”
-Kill Again

Musically, Slayer wasn’t at all behind the times, as the riffs and solos were faster and more technical than most bands were putting out at the time. Multiple shred hysterics were delivered via the legendary guitar duo of Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman. Screaching harmonics and “tremolo bar wankery” highlight their demonstrations in Hell Awaits, Kill Again, and Hardening of the Arteries, all of which are smothered in Chemical Warfare-type riff chaos. Easily the only drawback of Hell Awaits, a staple in the thrash metal genre, is the production. While the drums cut through powerfully, the guitars sound held back while the bass is all too prominent. This is painfully evident on Kill Again and Crypts of Eternity as well as every other instance where Araya overshadows King and Hanneman. Despite the technical lack of proficiency in Slayer’s sophomore effort, there’s no doubt that the merciless wickedness that went into its making blazes brightly throughout all seven songs.

“Angels Fighting Aimlessly, Still Dying By The Sword…Our Legions Killing All In Sight, To Get The One Called Lord”
-Hell Awaits

To recap…what happens when two parts New Wave of British Heavy Metal, two parts all-American extreme thrash, and one part pure evil is turned into music? Slayer puts out another album, and this concoction was fresh and distinctive, if undernourished, on Hell Awaits. Sinister riffs with the most aggressive voice in metal highlight Dave Lombardo’s percussive blast-fest and an unholy amount of screaming guitar shredding. While later Slayer albums too often overshadow it, Hell Awaits is as much a thrash classic as any Reign or Master.

Summary:
- Absolutely malevolet riffs!
- Fast, brutal, and innovative
- Poorly produced yet conveys the intended feel

Recommended tracks:
- Hell Awaits
- At Dawn The Sleep
- Necrophiliac

It’s very tough to single out songs here, so do yourself a favor and check out the entire album. Your bleeding corpse will thank you.



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user ratings (1324)
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
metallicaman8
August 16th 2006



4677 Comments


Nice review

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
August 16th 2006



16083 Comments


Lies, you doing two reviews in one day? !!!
It's a good review sans the random mistakes, but I still doubt I will ever get into Slayer.

Shadows
Moderator
August 16th 2006



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I never submit less than two reviews at a time!!!!!!

It's unfortunate but understandable that you doubt your enjoyment of this band. I'm a metal enthusiast and it took me years to grow to like Slayer. Most people likw them from the moment I hear them, but I can totallt relate as to why someone wouldn't.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
August 16th 2006



2806 Comments


[quote=Modman]I never submit less than two reviews at a time!!!!!![/quote]

Lies. You did 4 once.

Shadows
Moderator
August 16th 2006



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Um...lawl?

south_of_heaven 11
August 16th 2006



5433 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ah yes...'Hell Awaits'. I reviewed this giving it a 4, and possibly a 3.5, like you....but now I can't stop listening to the damn thing.
Good review as always, you've done this album justice.

Thor
August 16th 2006



10186 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Liking the review....it kicks the crap out of mine.

Shadows
Moderator
August 16th 2006



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Why thank you, of Monarch of All That Is Slayer. :D This would probably tie Christ Illusion for my 4th favorite Slayer album...I think. It's hard for me to rank at this point, but that's how it feels. :p

south_of_heaven 11
August 17th 2006



5433 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This would probably tie Christ Illusion for my 4th favorite Slayer album


You're weird with your ratings...you gave CI a 4 and this a 3.5 and the highest you have Slayer rated at is a 4, yet you say CI is your fourth favorite, tied with Hell Awaits....you are confusing...

Why thank you, of Monarch of All That Is Slayer.


If thats seriously my new title, that would be the sweetest thing ever.This Message Edited On 08.17.06

Thor
August 17th 2006



10186 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It should be, seeing as how all of your reviews of Slayer are of epic proportions and you know the most about them.

Still, this album is weaker than their "classic" releases. Why it still has some enjoyable moments and songs, it's just not as consistent as their material would be in the next few albums to come, so that's why I think it needs a 3/5.

Shadows
Moderator
August 19th 2006



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

[QUOTE=soh11]You're weird with your ratings...you gave CI a 4 and this a 3.5 and the highest you have Slayer rated at is a 4, yet you say CI is your fourth favorite, tied with Hell Awaits....you are confusing...[/QUOTE]
My Slayer ratings have been fluxuating lately. =\

Thor
August 20th 2006



10186 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Glad to see that this review is now the default. It's much better than my old one.

VicRattlehead18
August 28th 2006



7 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Sick album, but i'm always too afraid to listen to it at night.

lightningmetal666
September 6th 2006



27 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This is my absolute fav. Slayer album.

I'm a live-in caretaker in a senior citizens place and you would not believe the ruckus that playing the title track caused with my neighbors. \m/\m/.

I think it was the whole "Welcome Back" thing that terrified them.

I like how at the end of Hardening of the Arteries, they kinda repeat the main theme of the title track. What a brilliant way to end the album. It made everything seem like it fit together in a way.

south_of_heaven 11
November 12th 2006



5433 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm really digging this album lately.

At Dawn They Sleep :evil:This Message Edited On 11.12.06

Bfhurricane
December 16th 2006



6197 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review. This is one Slayer album I don't have, I'll have to check this out

WARPATH_88
February 6th 2007



514 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review. This was the first Slayer album i heard and it scared me sh*tless. Im not even joking.

wakeupdead
March 20th 2007



2208 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I cannot believe I found this album in the cd place yesterday! It was the first time I've ever seen it in stores and I didnt even stop to think if I should buy it. Amazing title track!!! My new favourite Slayer song is hell awaits.

bren732
March 28th 2007



76 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

awesome!! best songs to me are hell awaits, kill again, at dawn they sleep, and necrophiliac. also love the album art!!

jebus FX
November 11th 2007



301 Comments


anyone notice if u play the title track backwards the last minute has a hidden message?

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