I was going to do a couple of random tracks today, but then I discovered two classic thrash albums were both released today back in 1988.
First up, and in my opinion, is the underrated South Of Heaven album by the mighty Slayer. I wasn’t quite old enough to buy previous album – and Slayer benchmark – Reign In Blood when it was released, but I did with this one. Like so many other bands I’m into my favourite release or era of that particular artist always seems to gravitate towards the first thing I actually went into a shop and actually brought on, or as close as I could, to release day. For most people, and my older peers included, Reign In Blood or Hell Awaits are at the top of the pile. For me given a choice it’ll always be between South Of Heaven or Seasons In The Abyss. Controversial.
I can remember the furore in Kerrang! magazine at the time over the controversial artwork that was going to be used for maybe a single release or some merchandise – I’m going back 28 years now, so I might be a bit cloudy on the details, especially as I often struggle to remember what I did 28 minutes ago! The song is about kids being drafted and sent to the frontline, but the cover was going to be what the internet now describes as the hanging boy – a protest to being sent to war.
After the pummelling 29 minutes of Reign In Blood this 37 minute “opus” was deliberately slowed down a few notches. It certainly makes it more accessible, but still retains that Slayer brutality and darkness. In someways it marked an evolution for the band, but thankfully didn’t elevate them (or as some would say sell out) to a stadium juggernaut of a band.
The band also courted controversy with some people regarding the song Silent Scream on this record, seen by many as an anti abortion song.
This live version of Mandatory Suicide is taken from the Still Reigning DVD released back in 2004.