Album Reviews of the 80s

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Slayer, "Undisputed Attitude " / 1997 Review by: Johnson
Look back at L.A. punk-rock posters from the dawn of the '80s, and you're sure to find Slayer playing the same venues as many of the bands covered on this album. Hailing from Huntington Beach, Slayer grew up fans of both more traditional heavy metal and of the increasingly fast and aggressive American hardcore punk movement. The combination of metal's technicality and hardcore punk's flat out aggressiveness and speed are the seeds that Slayer's breakneck sound originally grew out of, and Undisputed Attitude, while not perfect, is a fitting tribute to the bands that inspired Slayer to break from the traditional metal mold. The album includes tracks originally by Minor Threat, Doctor Know, Verbal Abuse, T.S.O.L., D.R.I., D.I., Iggy Pop, and a few originals, all played in the trademark Slayer style. While the original material doesn't compete with the revolutionary and epic proportions of an album like 1987's Reign in Blood or 1989's South of Heaven, the songs seem to stay in form with the theme of the album. With the exception of "Gemini," they're under two minutes long, and the tempos tend to fall within the mid-tempo to fast realm of most hardcore punk, rarely blazing into a full force thrash assault. The covers are undeniably marked with Slayer's sound, but are played with minimal alteration for the most part. A notable exception is the rewording of Iggy Pop's "I Wanna Be Your Dog" to "I'm Gonna Be Your God." This is a reversal of the song's original meaning. Apparently, a song about being submissive would be a blow to Slayer's tough semi-satanic image. Undisputed Attitude does not serve as a historical review of hardcore and punk of the '80s, and some might argue that the many important punk bands missing from this collection of songs diminish its value. However, this record intends to provide hindsight from the perspective of the band, not popular culture as a whole. For fans of Slayer and all the grindcore, crust, and thrash borne out of the marriage of punk and metal, it's an interesting and sometimes entertaining listen.

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