South of Heaven
Spine creeping twin guitar melodics and harmonic open the album with the classic title track. Angry riffs with jerking changes roar through the structured formula like rally cars and the screaming of the vocals add screech to the cornering amplitude and velocity. Tom Araya provides aggressive but audible vocal lines about violence and matters of near satanic escapades. Another pounding riff based song flares from the runway in the mode of Silent Scream. Pulsing and frantic guitars make ample room for paced and searing lines that delve into the humanity of darkness.
Live Undead throws the tempo down into a pit of dirging sludgery, although still heavy, still metal, the comparison to previous work including on the previous album is distinct. When the energy is built and the spring coiled to snap, a fill throws the gearbox up into top setting and the entire thing rockets into an orbital speed. Behind the Crooked Cross takes religious symbolism to a new dimension of song-man-ship, oddly melodic vocals that sound almost torn from the book of Motorhead give a simple rock progression style song that is of course granted an extra layer of meat sauce in the shape of distortion and treble dense guitar solos. Another moment of thrashing mania throws the spasm like song structure into a vortex of middle eight, before more mocking style vocals give a glaze to some more tuneful guitars.
A classic melody and one with that eerie Slayer melodic edge comes out of the chaos with the well known Mandatory Suicide. A song about armed forces, conscription, war, and all this generally dark, the song makes a political issue out of some ghastly imagery and satirical metaphor. A bluesy direction carries the song into a tuneful section, the familiar zing of Slayer guitars keeps us interested before more horrific scenes are described in time to the music. The spoken word section adds a haunting moment to the already scary and discomforting piece.
Storming flurries of pitch bending insanity reveal another supersonic riff with the frantic energy that keeps this album on fire. More angry and aggressively spat words fire from the bars in between fills of sporadic trills and volleys of soloing lead guitar. Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King make the equally as blood vital duo who create the wall of guitar assault for this album. As King is the only living member of this team, it makes this album even more iconic.
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