Album Reviews of the 80s

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Slayer, "Hell Awaits" / 1984 Review by: Joel McIver
Slayer's second studio effort repaid most fans' expectations with a collection of gritty but well-written tunes. As with their debut "Show No Mercy", the production (courtesy of Brian Slagel) was murky at best - Slayer's music remained pretty opaque until '87's "South Of Heaven" which established the superclean sound we now hear. What distinguished Hell... was the development in the songwriting of the players - the old satanic cliches remained in evidence, diluted with an obvious sense of humour in the lyrics and Araya's sneering delivery, but the tempo changes that had been lacking on SNM and are now part and parcel of Slayer's tunes (e.g. Dittohead, from Divine Intervention) were first seen on Hell Awaits in tracks like Kill Again (still a live benchmark) and Hardening Of The Arteries. Basically a fun album by a band sharpening its claws. Only controversial for the fairly poor-taste Necrophilia (subject matter - obvious). Look to Reign In Blood for the ultimate thrash album though - still two years ahead...

7 out of 10.

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