Ranking Slayer's Albums

Ranking Slayer's Albums

Slayer need absolutely no introduction whatsoever. As one of the world's "Big 4" thrash metal legends and one of the most influential bands of all time for their fast and aggressive style. Not one to avoid controversy, Slayer have been known throughout the years for their explicit album artwork, subject matter and lyrics which often centred around themes of occultism, terrorism, war, genocide, murder and religious/anti-religious imagery.

We take a look at all 12 studio albums and rank them from worst to best.

12: Undisputed Attitude
Release Year: 1996
7th Studio Album

This record is comprised of mainly punk/hardcore punk covers apart from two tracks that were written by Jeff Hanneman for his side project at the time and one original Slayer track. In 1984 and 1985, 'DDAMM' (Drunk Drivers Against Mad Mothers) and 'Can't Stand You' were originally written for Hanneman's aforementioned side project, Pap Smear and the only original Slayer track that appears on the record is 'Gemini.' The 'covers' album contains tracks originally written by the likes of The Stooges, Minor Threat and Verbal Abuse.

Stand Out Track(s): Gemini

11: Diabolous in Musica
Release Year: 1998
8th Studio Album

Argued as Slayer's most experimental album in their discography, Hanneman wrote most of the content as he was apparently "looking for something to beat" but he was "not impressed by anything at the time that was aggressive enough" so he wrote his own. Diabolous in Musica is Latin for "Devil in the Music" and has historically been the most slated for its 'nu-metal traits.'

Stand Out Track(s): Bitter Peace, Stain of Mind, Love to Hate, Desire.

10: Divine Intervention
Release Year: 1994
6th Studio Album

This was the first record to feature Paul Bostaph behind the drumkit after he replaced Dave Lombardo. The lyrical themes on this album are incredibly explicit and are based on Jeffrey Dahmer, the Holocaust architect Reinhard Heydrich and Rush Limbough.

Stand Out Track(s): Killing Fields, Dittohead, Divine Intervention, Circle of Beliefs.

9: World Painted Blood
Release Year: 2009
11th Studio Album

This was the last Slayer album to feature both Jeff Hanneman (before he passed away in 2013) and Dave Lombardo (before his dismissal from the band). Four different artwork covers were released for this record, each of which would complete a quarter of the world map.

Stand Out Track(s): World Painted Blood, Beauty Through Order, Human Strain, Not Of This God

8: Repentless
Release Year: 2015
12th Studio Album

Gary Holt took Jeff Hanneman's place after he sadly passed away in 2013 and the record saw the return of Paul Bostaph behind the drumkit. It's the last album released by Slayer before their disbandment in 2019 and the only one to be released via Nuclear Blast Records.

Stand Out Track(s): Repentless, Vices, When The Stillness Comes, Implode, You Against You

7: Hell Awaits
Release Year: 1985
2nd Studio Album

The lyrical themes for this album are pretty self-explanatory based on the record's titile; Hell and Satan. Hell Awaits is often cited as Slayer's most progressive record in their discography, which is heavily influenced by the fact Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman were huge fans of Mercyful Fate at the time. Various tracks from this record have been covered on a number of occasions and have appeared on tribute albums.

Stand Out Track(s): Hell Awaits, Kill Again, At Dawn They Sleep, Praise of Death

6: Show No Mercy
Release Year: 1983
1st Studio Album

Slayer were almost instantly signed to Metal Blade Records after CEO Brain Slagel watched them perform Iron Maiden's 'Phantom of the Opera.' The album itself was entirely self-funded between Tom Araya's savings and financial help from Kerry King's father. The band cited influences from Iron Maiden, Venom, Judas Priest and Mercyful Fate and even though it is often criticised for it's low production quality, Show No Mercy still remains as a highly influential record.

Stand Out Track(s): Evil Has No Boundaries, Tormentor, The Final Command, Crionics, Show No Mercy.

5: God Hates US All
Release Year: 2001
9th Studio Album

Kerry King wrote the majority of the lyrics for this record which discusses themes of revenge, murder, religion and self-control. King stated that he wanted to write an album that was more relatable to life rather than "Satan-this and Satan-that" which was already widely covered on previous records. This record saw the band return to their classic thrash metal roots and features the Grammy Award-winning track 'Disciple.'

Stand Out Track(s): Seven Faces, Here Comes the Pain, War Zone, God Send Death, Disciple, Bloodline.

4: Christ Illusion
Release Year: 2006
10th Studio Album

Ever one for controversy, the album artwork for Christ Illusion caused as uproar within more conservative groups which resulted in the band releasing a censored version for the more nervous retailers. This record saw the return of all 4 original Slayer members for the first time in 16 years. The lyrical themes are that of religion, terrorism and warfare, particularly from the point of view of a 9/11 terrorist in 'Jihad,' a soldier dealing with PTSD in 'Eyes of the Insane' and the flaws of religion in 'Cult.'

Stand Out Track(s): Flesh Storm, Eyes of the Insane, Jihad, Cult

3: South of Heaven
Release Year: 1988
4th Studio Album

In comparison to this record's predecessor, Slayer slowed the tempo down for South of Heaven and it features some tracks which permanently remained in the band's live setlist through the years. South of Heaven was also the first Slayer record to feature a cover track; Judas Priests' 'Dissident Aggressor.'

Stand Out Track(s): South of Heaven, Behind the Crooked Cross, Mandatory Suicide.

2: Reign in Blood
Release Year: 1986
3rd Studio Album

The initial release of this record was delayed due to the lyrical content of 'Angel of Death' which deals with the abhorrent acts and human experimentation carried out at the behest of Josef Mengle in Auschwitz during World War II. Reign in Blood is cited as one of the most influential thrash metal records of all time and quite rightly so. It was the record that catapulted Slayer in to the limelight and various metal acts across the metal spectrum utilise it as an influence to this day.

1: Seasons in the Abyss
Release Year: 1990
5th Studio Album

Seasons in the Abyss was the last album to feature the original Slayer lineup until Dave Lombardo's return for 2006's Christ Illusion album. It features a solid combination of Reign in Blood's break-neck speed riffs and South of Heaven's mid-tempo ominous groove stomps perfectly rounding together Slayer's superior thrash metal sound.

Stand Out Track(s): War Ensemble, Expendable Youth, Dead Skin Mask, Skeletons of Society, Born of Fire, Seasons in the Abyss.

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