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South of Heaven

252 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Slayer ~ South Of Heaven
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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • ASIN: B000002KZV
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (252 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #273,737 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Rikki on February 20, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I have to admit that I really didn't come to appreciate this album until the last couple of years. When it first came out, I felt it was too slow, too melodic, too un-Slayer-ish. With age comes wisdom; let's face it, the only real problem with "South of Heaven" (probably the most wickedly clever album title ever) is that it had the unenviable job of following up the Lamborghini Diablo of all albums, "Reign In Blood". So Slayer did the only sensible a Bugatti Royale.
This album's lineage is prestigious; there are spiritual ties to albums like Sabbath's "Master of Reality", Priest's "Sad Wings of Destiny" and "Sin After Sin" ("Dissident Aggressor" is covered here with hats-off reverence) while still retaining Slayer's more sophisticated approach to death/black metal. Heavy, Iommi-inspired riffs combined with hammer-from-hell drumming (check out Lombardo's snare sound on the title sounds like a rifle shot in your ear) and Araya's grisly, sawn-off vocals combine to make this doom metal's all time masterpiece.
I can relate this to this album in the same way that I relate to the other spare time passion in my life - automobiles. When I was younger, I was a muscle car freak who cared only for horsepower and cubic my tastes run towards classic European sports cars. As I grew older, I came to realize that SPEED is no substitute for BALANCE and PRECISION. Don't let your purchase of this album be discouraged by the naysayers who complain that it isn't "Reign In Blood Part II". You'll only be depriving yourself.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A. Stutheit on September 13, 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Slayer came to a sort of crossroads when the time came to write their fifth studio release, in 1988. The band knew they couldn't top the speed of their last album, 1986's standard-bearing album "Reign In Blood," so they didn't even try. Instead, they matured and evolved a little.

The first way they did this was by improving Tom's singing style. Instead of shrieking as loud and fast as possible, Tom's vocals became more mid-tempo and tuneful. Guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman also helped to change the band's sound by slowing down the songs' tempos while simultaneously making the riffs heavier. They even added acoustic guitars into the mix (!), at the beginning of track ten, "Spill the Blood."

Another advantage of a slower album, besides the melodic vocals, is that drummer Dave Lombardo can go at his own pace. He doesn't have to play a bunch of different drums as fast as possible because he's playing "catch up" with the rest of the band. Instead, on this album, Dave creates some great, and very catchy drum fills. (Tracks three and four best demonstrate this talented drumming.)

From the beginning of the first track, the title track, you can tell Slayer have changed. Some songs, like "Silent Scream," "Ghosts of War," and "Cleanse the Soul," still race by like a flash flood, but most of "South of Heaven" is only moderately fast.

"Spill the Blood" is my personal favorite song on here, but other highlights are the thumping and blisteringly fast "Live Undead," the scorching solos of "Behind the Crooked Cross," "Mandatory Suicide," which features churning, buzzsaw riffs and a creepy, ominous, spoken-word passage from Tom, and the speedy, chugging and churning "Read Between the Lies.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 30, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Let me start off by saying this album is just underrated. It is not too slow, and my personal opinion is that if slayer tried to do another reign in blood, it would turn out to be a disaster, so they came out with this. Now, on to the songs.
South of Heaven-A great opener to a great album, some great guitar playing here from metal guitar masters Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King. 10/10
Silent Scream-Fast thrash, some fast, INSANE guitar playing. 10/10
Live Undead-Great song, slower, almost like South of Heaven, but a little bit faster. 10/10
Behind the Crooked Cross-Beautiful guitar playing, a great song, faster paced, but not as fast as Silent Scream. 9.5/10
Mandatory Suicide-Heavy guitar riffs, great lyrics from Tom Araya, great drumming from Dave Lombardo, and ends with a spoken part. 10/10
Ghosts of War-The best song on the album, one of my absolute favorite slayer songs, great guitar playing, awesome lyrics and psychotic double bassed drumming. You know what really sucks about the slayer albums after seasons in the abyss? No dave lombardo. 20/10
Read Between the Lies-A fast-paced, amazing song, with insane vocals. 9.5/10
Cleanse the Soul-A speedy song, a great addition to the album. Some awesome guitar playing. 10/10
Dissident Agressor-An awesome Judas Priest cover. Fast guitar playing, great lyrics. 10/10
Spill the Blood-A slower paced song, much like South of Heaven. 10/10.
I also want to say that Tom Araya is one of the best metal vocalists, Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King are two guitar geniuses, and Dave Lombardo is the best metal drummer ever.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Ken on December 15, 2001
Format: Audio CD
When Slayer released "Reign In Blood" in '86, they obviously had no idea that it would be considered one of the best metal records (heavy metal, thrash metal, extreme metal... whatever) of all time by thousands upon thousands of people, even to this day. After establishing themselves as an infamous underground thrash force with satanic lyrical leanings, they were suddenly thrust forward as blasphemous innovators in style and speed. Once the metal scene's initial shock wore off a tad, everyone glanced sideways at Slayer wondering, "how in the world will they top THAT?" and "will they out-do themselves by playing even faster?" Well, Araya, King, Hanneman, and Lombardo succeeded in shocking everyone, alright... but in a much different way than expected - so much so that they (unfairly, if I might add) lost a number of fans looking for another bloody "Reign" (pun intended).
On the surface, "South Of Heaven" seemed extraordinarily unhurried - or better yet, deliberate -
compared to the album prior to this. The blinding pace of the songs, which was a large part of Slayer's appeal on their previous effort, only surpassed warp-speed in a couple of songs, namely "Silent Scream", "Ghosts Of War", and "Cleanse The Soul". Slayer's focus here was on being heavy, not necessarily fast. Basically, the band was tweaking their sound to define the sinister nature they wanted to portray. The band had reinvented itself for the recording of "Reign In Blood", and in their traditional nature of staying true to that philosophy, the boys quite naturally reinvented themselves once again for "South Of Heaven".
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