Greetings metal heads, I’m going to take the opportunity in this review to discuss two things. The first being some of Slayer’s major accomplishments . The second being a review on the box set itself. The first realization when purchasing this collection is it’s amazing feat that Slayer have been around for more than 20 years. What’s even more amazing is that they have been releasing uncompromising extreme, head banging, face ripping, and jaw breaking metal in that whole time span. Firstly, one has to look at the time when Slayer debuted. During 1983 thrash metal was being born. Thrash being the combination of the New wave of British heavy metal and punk. Bands such as Slayer, Anthrax, Exodus, Testament, Overkill, Viovod, Megadeth, Nuclear Assault, Hollow’s Eve, and yes even the once mighty Metallica were among the many that helped pave the way for the birth of extreme metal. Bands like Slayer, Anthrax, and Metallica were taking their love of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Motorhead to name a few and increasing the speed and heaviness of their music and combining it with the rawness and intensity of hard punk. Thus thrash was born. Slayer took this a step further by adding lyrical content from influences such as Venom and Mercyful Fate. This was the true anti music of the 80s.
No other band in my opinion achieved this better than Slayer. They might not have been the very first (Metallica beat them by a year). But as far as the raw brutal intensity and heaviness Slayer had them all beat. This is a band that has some of the most loyal fans in all of heavy metal. Metal critics all say if a new band is opening for Slayer and can make it through their set without getting booed, cursed at, and beer thrown at them they must be doing something right. Slayer fans are relentless at letting people know were their loyalty is. Slayer fans are true metal fans. The reason for this in my opinion is that Slayer never disappoints, they have never been what I consider to have sold out, and they have always been the embodiment of heavy metal. In the last 20 years they have only had one member change Dave Lombardo who is now back with the band. This is also amazing considering how many bands that are around for just half as long as Slayer have had numerous line up changes. Slayer are also one of the most un PC bands of their time and still are to this day. They have never won a Grammy, they have not sold millions upon millions of records, and they are not considered one of the greats in music. But inside the metal world they have done far beyond these feats in the hearts and fists of metal fans. Here is a band that has sold 5 million records world wide without any radio play (at least in the U.S.), heavy advertisement and publicity. They just work on word of mouth alone, gut wrenching live shows, and with the help of a few metal magazines and headbanger’s ball. And Slayer has done this for more than 20 years!
I am hearing Slayer’s influence more and more lately especially in newer metal bands. In fact Slayer is probably one of the most extreme bands one could listen to until the birth of Death and Black metal, Which anyone can see that Slayer are a massive influence to both of those metal genres. All one has to do is look at Slayer tribute record and see the band listings. The release of this set is to reflect on the first 20 years Slayer has brought to the world of metal. The next question being is how is this set?
First, lets break it down this set contains 4 discs. The first disc contains what could be considered Slayer’s greatest hits from 1986 to 1991. The second disc contains the best of Slayer from 94 to 2001 plus some hard to find tracks. The third contains unreleased demos and live tracks never heard before from Slayer’s whole career till 2003. Finally the fourth disc is a DVD, which contains rare live performances from the band’s whole career. Everything included in the set I enjoy. The first disc represents the golden age of Slayer. It is basically what I would consider the best of the albums “Reign Blood”, “South of Heaven”, and Seasons in the Abyss”, plus a few tracks from their live album. The second presents the best from Slayer from the 90s and into the 21st century. The third cd and the DVD are not of the best sound quality. But from a collector’s point of view and a huge Slayer fan they are nice to have.
One of the biggest grips with this set is that it contains extremely little from Slayer’s metal blade years. There are three tracks from the bands first two albums, but they are live and are actually from the Slayer’s live album “A Decade of Aggression”. I think this set would have been perfect if a 4th cd were added and it contained songs from “Show no Mercy”, “Haunting the Chapel” and “Hell Awaits”. But who knows maybe there are copyright laws and the record company Def American could not release any of Slayer’s material that is on Metal Blade. My second critique of this set is the price. I hunted trying to find this set under 50 dollars and I just couldn’t find it for less than $49.99. In fact most stores were selling it for $55 dollars or more. I find this a bit steep when I have bought box sets with 5 or more discs for $50 dollars or even a little less. Amazingly enough this is the sole reason I held off so long in purchasing this set. Granted it’s worth it if one is huge Slayer fanatic, but if someone is just a causal fan I would not suggest this box. The booklet that comes with the set is a fantastic little read. It is full of Slayer facts that I did not know and it does a perfect job on summing up the band and what it means to be a true Slayer fan.
On a sad note Slayer may be calling quits in the near future. After releasing their latest album “Christ Illusion” Kerry King has stated in interviews that they only have one more album due to Def American and after their contract is up Slayer may retire. Plus Kerry states that playing their music with the same intensity just gets harder as they get older. Basically Slayer does not want to become a shadow of their former selves and they want go out on top. Which I can respect but it’s still disappointing to hear. At any rate Slayer are still here and they are doing what they do best, ripping our faces off with some of the best metal out there.
Stay Slaytanic forever!!!!!!!!!!