The imminent end of Slayer's final tour has metalheads everywhere feeling nostalgic for their favorite moments from the hell-born thrashers' nearly 40-year history, so we challenged fans to pick the Los Angeles band's single greatest album. The results were surprising: While everyone may freak out when they hear the opening thunder claps of "Raining Blood," the groundbreaking album from which the song hails did not garner the most votes. Read on to see which Slaytanic opus did land in the top spot, as well as which later-era offering made the top five.
After Slayer debut LP, Show No Mercy, became Metal Blade's highest-selling album to date, label head Brian Slagel decided to put his whole weight behind the band, empowering them with an actual recording budget and several professional producers. The outcome was an adventurous, sulfur-drenched, Mercyful Fate-worshipping album that set the tone for the even darker and more evil Slayer we all know and love.
In an eerie moment of marketing anti-serendipity, God Hates Us All debuted on September 11th, 2001, one of the most infamous dates in U.S. history. Sinister cuts like "Bloodline" fittingly saw the band move even more away from overblown satanic imagery into the realm of everyday life's horrors. But it's the song "Disciple," with its compulsive chant of the album's title, that surely cements the LP as both a modern classic and a fan favorite.
The thrash pioneers' fourth album was their second with producer Rick Rubin, who was able to nail down what many consider to be the true "Slayer sound," drawing out a deepened and more mature wrath from within their blazing licks. The record was also the band's second to enter the Billboard 200, peaking at No. 57, confirming Slayer's commercially viable appeal on the backs of such catchy ditties as "Mandatory Suicide."
It's impossible to separate Slayer from their most famous song, "Raining Blood," thus it's hard to believe anything would rank higher than the near-perfect album from whence it came: Reign in Blood. Hardly a cut on the record is anything but a classic, with songs like "Angel Of Death" literally redefining the way heavy metal was seen and created. While Reign has been called the greatest metal record of all time, fans still chose one above it, and that one is ...
Slayer's fifth album, Seasons in the Abyss, was the culmination of nearly a decade spent aggressively perfecting their sound, blending blistering speed metal with more down-tempo and atmospheric evil. Unfortunately, it would also be drum master Dave Lombardo's last with the band for a while, thus ending the golden age of OG Slayer. Slayer's first-ever music video, for the LP's titled cut, made them staples on MTV show Headbanger's Ball, introducing them to a whole new crowd looking to get their metal fix. That song along with classics like "Dead Skin Mask" and "War Ensemble" are still huge hits in Slayer's live set, and they, combined with the rest of the album, make Seasons possibly the fullest representation of the band's earth-shattering vision.