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Review of the Album Show No Mercy by American Thrash Metal Band Slayer

Updated on April 29, 2023
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Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

This photo symbolizes the unrelenting nature of Slayer's debut album Show No Mercy. It is fast, raw, and unrelenting but a good album for sure.
This photo symbolizes the unrelenting nature of Slayer's debut album Show No Mercy. It is fast, raw, and unrelenting but a good album for sure. | Source

Slayer's Debut Album Show No Mercy May Catch Some Fans by Surprise

Slayer is a band that has become a major part of the Southern California thrash metal scene. Their 1983 debut album Show No Mercy is the one that got this band started. With this being the first album of Slayer, stylistically it is still different than even Reign in Blood. The guitar sound is very much raw and old-school. Tom Araya's voice is a little different here and he sounds like a better version of Randy Rampage. The riffing is fast and there is definitely that early raw influence. If you remember songs such as Metallica's Motorbreath, you know what I am referring to here.


Analyzing Slayer's Debut Album

The first song Evil Has No Boundaries is about well, the usual lyrics of going through Hell and not being stopped by anyone. “The Antichrist is stylistically like Mercyful Fate's Don't Break the Oath as it has an early black metal feel to it without actually being black metal. Slayer has come under much criticism for its lyrics but if you can't handle their music then stay away and listen to something else. Die By the Sword is another song that sounds like Mercyful Fate and it could be a reference to the fact that in life when you make certain choices you either live or die by them. In spite of the album's title this is not a merciless onslaught of thrash metal but it can be described as early old school thrash metal with black metal influences. Fight Till Death lyrically is about a series of soldiers that are marching off to war to carry out their commander's orders. Even though I have said in previous reviews of Slayer albums that they have often been too one-dimensional at times, Show No Mercy is one of those albums that doesn't fit that description because it is not like most other albums by this band. The songs on this album are not the fast thrashing Slayer that fans hear but it is a slower to mid-tempo thrash with black metal influences. If you are one of those people that craves this band but you want to hear something somewhat musically different then Show No Mercy is definitely the album for you. The song Black Magic is the song that Japan's Shadow would cover 25 years later on their album Forever Chaos but they would do it in a melodic death metal way. Tormentor is a song that describes someone that is afraid to walk the streets alone at night as terror consumes their body. The Final Command is another fast song about soldiers doing their duty as they go out to fight in the heat of the war at great risk to their lives. This song more than likely would set the stage for the influential debut of the band Annihilator which is called Alice in Hell. Crionics is a song that lyrically asks the question of whether freezing people's bodies is a cure for what ails us? Or is it just a painless way to deal with the situation? Show No Mercy is the song that ends this album in rather fast fashion. The song is what has given Slayer its trademark style of fast, uncompromising, punishing guitar work.

"Black Magic"

Final Thoughts About the Album Show No Mercy

As a debut album from one of the best known American thrash metal bands ever, Show No Mercy offers fans of the genre an interesting kind of album which gives Slayer at least some kind of musical variety and at least temporarily gets them out of that one-dimensional trap if we can ever call it that.

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"Show No Mercy"

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2020 Ara Vahanian


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