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Apoch's Top Five Slayer Albums

The death of Jeff Hanneman was one that came out of nowhere and blindsided the Metal community. We all felt the tremors of this loss much like the sudden passing of Dimebag, an insanely influential musician that still had plenty of life left in him. The same goes for Jeff. While he didn’t go out so tragically, his work in Slayer greatly influenced an entire genre, and countless Metalheads into picking up an instrument, starting a band, or just being a source of inspiration to overcome any obstacle or achieve a dream. Yes, I am one of those individuals, which I’ll mention later on in this list. But, that being said, I greatly dislike putting lists together, but in honor of this man I’m going to break that disgust by naming my top five Slayer albums of all time. Rest in peace, Jeff. This one’s for you…

#5: Seasons in the Abyss
Slayer
How the hell can you go wrong with Seasons in the Abyss? You just can’t. I’ll never forget being on the hunt for this for so long, finally finding a used copy in the local music store. The second I got home, I threw this one on, dying to hear “War Ensemble,” “Seasons in the Abyss,” and the many others I was already introduced to by a friend who owned his own copy. I remember getting up and starting a one man mosh pit in my bedroom to “Expendable Youth,” then knocking over my lamp and a slew of other things, breakable and non, to “Dead Skin Mask.” I blasted this at full volume that day and irritated everyone within range, but I didn’t care. I finally had my copy of Seasons in the Abyss, and it was like my ears had a Thrashy orgasm… a Thrashgasm if you will. Sadly, it had to be replaced after someone stole it from a party, and I have yet to find that culprit and skin him (or her) alive…

In the end, this one makes it more for personal reasons, but any fan of Slayer will tell you that this album has plenty of reasons as to why it’s great.

#4: Undisputed Attitude
Slayer
Yes, it’s largely a cover album, and that’s the reason it’s one of my favorites. No, I don’t usually pop this one in, but the reason is just: I got a better understanding of Slayer after hearing it. One thing that intrigues me about cover albums is what inspired the band I’m listening to in the first place. It’s one of the reasons I ask about it in nearly every interview, it helps me to better understand and respect the artists, as well as their work. And, well, that’s what happened here.

While I’ll admit I’m far from a fan of the many bands covered here, I did appreciate Slayer‘s renditions. But, what impressed me the most were the Pap Smear related tracks “Can’t stand You” and “ddamm.” For a while I didn’t know of Jeff’s involvement with that bad, and when I found out it set a whole other light on Slayer as a musical entity. I’ll still randomly throw on their versions of “Guilty of Being White” by Minor Threat, something I find a little more true today than back when it was originally composed, and “Violent Pacification” by D.R.I. because, let’s face it, there’s always a right time for D.R.I., covers or not…

#3: Reign in Blood
Slayer
Everyone knows Reign in Blood by it’s title track. It’s the one song that really made Slayer a household name. Literally. And there’s a number of other great songs on here as well. I love “Jesus Saves” with an undying passion. When I’m at the bar, I always look for this song on the jukebox, and make sure it’s the first one I play whenever it’s available, then go to my seat and order up a few shots of Jager to go along with it. “Necrophobic,” “Altar of Sacrifice,” “Epidemic,” all great tracks that I can sit down and listen to time and time again without them ever getting old. This is one of those releases that makes for a great disc to have for a long road trip, especially when I’m not driving and stuck with family. It helps me cope with the random outbursts of whatever number of bottles of beer that somehow were placed on the wall, or the ever rousing game of “I Spy” that makes me want to grab the wheel and drive the car right off a bridge and into the deepest spot of the Susquehannah River I can aim for…

#2: God Hates Us All
Slayer
A lot of people bash this album but, you know what? This is one of my all time favorites from Slayer, and I listen to this a hell of a lot more than some of their early classics. This was actually the first album I owned by them, and if it weren’t for “Disciple,” I probably wouldn’t be a fan for as many years as I have been now. The amount of energy in it, and the album in general, is what really grabbed me, and made it perfect material to blast in my car speakers later in life when I got my license. It also made for one hell of an awkward moment when Tom Araya starts screaming “God hates us all! You know it’s true he hates this place! You know it’s true he hates this race!” as I’m stuck at a red light next to a funeral home packed with mourners during a viewing the volume as loud as it can go. This ranks up there with being chased by Slayer‘s security around a venue for going right instead of left, and watching these Thrash legends pull up to an autograph signing during Tattoo the Earth in a golf cart after witnessing a man get arrested for picking up a garbage barrell and then putting it down. Ahh, memories…

Where was I? Oh yes, why is this number two…

To me, this was the first great Slayer album I ever owned, and, in my eyes at least, the last the band will ever put out considering Christ Illusion and World Painted Blood simply don’t grab me the same way. I still don’t get the hatred for this album, but it doesn’t bother me one bit. God Hates Us All is just one of those sick Thrash albums that suits any given mood perfectly, and even is common ground between my fiancee and I. This is also where she got her start with Slayer, though a lot later in life than I. It’s something I can throw in for a long car ride and we’ll both be satisfied.

#1: South of Heaven
Slayer
Hands down my favorite of all their works. Every song on here is simply fantastic, the perfect mixture of insanely catchy material, and pure, unrestrained Thrash rebellion and rage. “South of Heaven,” “Mandatory Suicide,” “Spill the Blood,” “Cleanse the Soul,” need I really go on? This is one I picked up during my high school years, and is part of the reason I wanted to start up a Thrash Metal band, but where I live had no talent, or didn’t want to play that style. The other part is having seen the band live, and getting one major kick in the ass to do something more interesting with my life, fueling my passion to be on stage, and eventually play Wacken Open Air, a dream that, at this point, I know will never come true. But, I can still throw this one on and dream about it, and just overcoming normal things like dealing with the stress of every day life, or keeping my calm and not taking a tire iron to the son of a bitch that cut me off and nearly made me slam right into an old lady and the guard rail (long story short that small town cop and I had a history and clearly he remembered me). For both personal and quality reasons, South of Heaven is easily my number one Slayer album.

So, there you have it. That’s my top five Slayer albums of all time. I remember reading that the band was considering packing it in after their next album, and I get the feeling without Jeff we may not see another new release. But, I’ll be fine with that. It just wouldn’t be the same without him. And, personally, I don’t think Slayer would really be where they are today if he wasn’t involved in the group from the start, or as long as he was. Jeff left us with eleven Slayer albums, an infamous as hell EP, and plenty of other releases that are all worth checking out for what they are, whether appreciated from the fans or not. Hell I’ll be the first to admit I still don’t care if I ever add World Painted Blood to my collection, I really didn’t like it that much. But, even though it’s not one of my personal favorites, it is to someone, and no matter what happens, the legacy will continue from this day forward, as these releases, and the ones that many don’t like, are still out there influencing people to this day.

Slayer
Slayer