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South of Heaven

Updated on July 17, 2012

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.

Release Date

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.

Kerry King - Guitar
Kerry King - Guitar

Album Theme

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.

Dave Lombardo - Drums
Dave Lombardo - Drums
Jeff Hanneman -  Guitar
Jeff Hanneman - Guitar

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

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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.

Tom Araya - Bass & Vocals
Tom Araya - Bass & Vocals

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    • SkySlave profile image

      Skyler DeCristoforo 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate you all stopping by, and thanks for the comments. By the way Steve my other favorite Slayer albums are South of Heaven, Hell Awaits and Reign. I just think they did something different with South of Heaven., a change up. I'm also a priest fan and while i like the original better, i think its awesome that Slayer paid tribute to the band they covered in the night clubs before they made it big.

    • Steve Orion profile image

      Steve Orion 5 years ago from Tampa, Florida

      Voted Seasons in the poll, without a doubt their best! I thought South wasn't really up to Seasons or Reign, but it had a couple decent tracks. I also thought their cover wasn't all that great, you can't beat the original!

    • loveofnight profile image

      loveofnight 5 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      You have a way of putting pen to paper, a good read indeed......thx 4 share

    • Georgie Lowery profile image

      Georgianna Lowery 5 years ago from Lubbock, TX

      This album has always been one of my favorites. Like TheHeavyReview, I haven't listened to it in a long time. I think I'll go do that now!

    • SkySlave profile image

      Skyler DeCristoforo 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for the read! I hadn't listened to it in a while till just the other day and i forgot how much i enjoyed it so i decided to share one of my old favorites. Rock on HeavyReview!

    • TheHeavyReview profile image

      TheHeavyReview 5 years ago

      Great job! I like South of Heaven a good bit- haven't listened to Slayer in a while, though. Show No Mercy has pretty much always been my favorite even though I haven't listened to it in a long time like I said before. Very well written!

      Voted up!