Slayer's fourth full-length album, released in 1988 just after Reign in Blood, marked a different turn for these exponents of thrash metal. Unlike most of their previous releases, this album is more melodic, much slower, but crushingly heavy nevertheless, and the lyrics are darkly brooding and sinister as anything Slayer has ever produced. Many less enlightened fans of Slayer came away from South of Heaven somewhat disappointed, not understanding that every band must experiment or stagnate, and as far as experiments go, I think this was an unqualified success. It paved the way for the style that characterized their later albums, in particular, Seasons in the Abyss. The album cover depicts a somewhat broken skull with a lot of strange objects and horrible-looking things peeking out of the cracks and openings, and on the whole reminds me of a Hieronymus Bosch painting. Here's the obligatory track listing:

  1. South of Heaven
  2. Silent Scream
  3. Live Undead
  4. Behind the Crooked Cross
  5. Mandatory Suicide
  6. Ghosts of War
  7. Read Between The Lies
  8. Cleanse The Soul
  9. Dissident Aggressor (a Judas Priest remake apparently)
  10. Spill the Blood

The lyrics to the title track are on the wu by Dis.

Highights: South of Heaven, Live Undead, Mandatory Suicide, and Behind the Crooked Cross.

I used to be a metalhead in my time, and still occasionally listen to this sort of thing when I feel nostalgic for my younger days, but I probably may never buy any new heavy metal albums in the future...

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