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South of Heaven
The American thrash metal band Slayer recorded South of Heaven in Las Angelas, California with the producer of their Reign in Blood album, Rick Ruben.
In the direction it was recorded, South of Heaven was a unique Slayer album because they implemented undistorted guitars, slower tempos and they toned down the vocals to set South of Heaven from their other albums. This was also the first record to feature Bassist/vocalist Tom Araya playing his bass with a pick rather than with his fingers. After recording this album Tom continued to record and preform with a pick.
South of Heaven was released on July 5, 1988 and became slayers second album to enter the Billboard 200. By the time that the album peaked it was at the 57th position on the charts and was awarded a Gold Certification by the RIAA.
The album launches with it's title track. The eerie opening of this song brings an immediate, grim and disturbing atmosphere upon the listener. As you dig deeper into the supernatural sounds, the dark obscurity begins to paint a vivid picture of disturbing imagery. South of heaven pulls you through twists and turns, keeping it interesting and keeping you in tune.
South of Heaven meets the critics
The album got mixed reviews, but ultimately came out on top. Slayers determination to release a new sound on their album was successful. They were recognized for their musical growth and their ability to avoid repeating old trends. Overall the album can be acknowledged for being powerful, disturbing and unique piece of artwork.
Slayer covers Priest
The only cover song to ever be released on a Slayer studio album is on the South of Heaven record. The song they covered was Dissident Aggressor by the British heavy metal band Judas Priest. Slayer chose to recreate this song because it was a lesser known Priest song that fit in the war-themed style that often appears on Slayer albums.
Album Track Listing
1. South of Heaven 4:58
2. Silent Scream 3:07
3. Live Undead 3:50
4. Behind the Crooked Cross 3:15
5. Mandatory Suicide 4:05
6. Ghosts of War 3:53
7. Read Between the Lines 3:20
8. Cleanse the Soul 3:02
9. Dissident Aggressor 2:35
10. Spill the Blood 4:49
Best classic Slayer album
Legacy and Inspiration
Several tracks off of the South of heaven album have inspired the creation of cover songs by various artists. Bands such as Pro-Pain and Modest Mouse have covered the title track along with the band Korn, who have covered several of the albums other tracks live. The song Silent Scream has been covered by Children of Bodom along with several others. In its entirety, south of Heaven is a hard hitting, kick ass thrash metal album that with inspiring sound and presentation that any metal fan is sure to enjoy.