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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.
Performance CreditsSlayer Primary Artist
Tom Araya Bass,Vocals
Jeff Hanneman Guitar
Kerry King Guitar
Dave Lombardo Drums
Technical CreditsSlayer Producer,Audio Production
Steven Ett Engineer
Peter Kelsey Engineer
Rick Rubin Producer,Executive Producer,Audio Production
Andy Wallace Engineer
Howard Schwartzberg Illustrations
Larry Carroll Illustrations
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Slayer slows the speed down just a notch on this recording, but not much. However, this recording is still far from disappointing. The pace of the album runs at full throttle, hardly ever breaking in between songs. Guitarist Jeff Hanneman acts as primary songwriter (Kerry King co-wrote more than 1/2 of the tracks), along with the lyricism of vocalist Tom Araya (and yes, he's actually singing on this one). Kudos to Dave Lombardo for the brilliant use of his drumplaying ability without being overbearing. The most surprising aspect of this album is the arrangement of the songs, being more complex and thought out to the best of its ability, and truly making South Of Heaven a masterpiece in itself.
South of Heaven is the sound of Slayer refining their sound without losing any of the quality or impact of the groundbreaking Reign in Blood. It's frequently mentioned that the tempos are slower this time around - not much. The opening title track is fairly slow and rather mediocre, but after that things take off quickly. The crunching, aggressive riffs that made Slayer famous are still here. There's a little more melody in the vocals and the arrangements are more complex and longer, making for an interesting metallic journey. 'Silent Scream', 'Mandatory Suicide' and 'Ghosts of War' are all memorable thrash songs. No fan of the genre should overlook this fine effort by one of metal's best bands.
The album is not a favorite of the critics or die hard Slayer fans. However, I think it is one of their more diverse and intelligent albums. The title track
There is just a couple of good songs (two first and mandatory suicide) Others are too simple.
SLAYER HAS BEEN THE MOST INFLUENTIAL BAND IN METAL SINCE THE 80s. SOUTH OF HEAVEN IS PROOF OF THIS. IF YOU NEED MORE PROOF BUY REIGN IN BLOOD.