|All Artists: Slayer|
Title: Hell Awaits
Members Wishing: 14
Total Copies: 0
Label: Metal Blade
Release Date: 1/11/1994
Genres: Pop, Rock, Metal
Style: Thrash & Speed Metal
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
Genres: Pop, Rock, Metal
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The material is great; too bad it sounds so bad.
Danny | South Philly | 08/16/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was going to give this a three star rating, but decided to bump it up to four since the songs themselves are pretty good. This is probably the most unique album in Slayer's catalogue due to the length of some of these tunes. You could tell they tried competing with Metallica's Ride The Lightning in the "epic thrash metal song" department here; they would tighten things up a bit for their next album, which was to be their most defining.
What prevents this from being an excellent record is the production. I'm a fan of both metal and punk, so I've heard some bad sounding albums in my day, but this one takes the cake. It's almost as if they read the manual on how to produce an album just so they would know exactly what NOT to do. This was before they hooked up with Rick Rubin, but that's no excuse. Show No Mercy sounded fine.
I'd love to hear Rubin, or anybody else, remix this thing."
For my money, "Hell Awaits" is the best Slayer album and, by
A. Moncrieff | up your a s s | 09/24/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As my title says, I think this is the best Slayer album and the best Thrash metal album ever made. The band's previous releases had been fun; the album "Show No Mercy" had a good-time punk & speed infused metal style, "Haunting the Chapel" was a bold, tighter step forward and "Live Undead" was a fun, if not essential, live EP. Let me state that none of these albums could have had any possible indication of what was to come next.
The album begins with roughly a minute of noise, very slowly fading in, building with stomach-churning horror. It's effect is essentially indescribable (something you definetely have to hear for yourself), but I'll try anyway - the band is speaking in a demonic manner, spread wide across the two channels. There's two or three voices. Behind that, more central in the mix, is a horrible, slow, twisting guitar noise from one of the guitarists (Kerry King, I assume), what sounds like a lot of slow pickslides and trem arm work.
Unlike the guitar work that opens up most thrash records (or, indeed, most guitar records by anyone in rock or metal at the time) was virtuoso playing, with a Eddie Van Halen and Joe Satriani influenced sound. The guitar sound in these quiet bits is just stomach churning and shows the band's punk roots clearly. People who bought the LP could physically play the beginning of side one backwards and hear the demonic vocals, are actually the band whispering "join us..." in a rather menacing manner. Hear, we see a kind of sense of humor at work, this satanist rock band wanted to embody everything other previous metal bands had been accused of to being (satanist, backmasking on records, endorsing violent crimes in their lyrics) and more. But there's no denying that the intro has a unique build in the genre, illustrating the band's choice to adopt atmosphere as well this time out. The effect of that along is rather frighening.
After that one minute of time on this disk, "Hell Awaits" actually begins. Slowly menace rises out of the rhythm guitars, the riffs of which changes about 300 times before Tom sings his first words on the album. The album is wall to wall angry, hate-filled intense riffing, stopping only for brief "evil" slower sections which build the dread successfully. "Kill Again", the second track is even more impressive with a very nasty guitar riff with an off-kilter feel. "At Dawn they sleep" is arguably the best song Slayer ever wrote..."Crypts of Eternity" is one of the bands' longest songs but it's all intense, all the way through. The album ends with the same slow guitar riff that opened "Hell Awaits".
The effect of the album is simply stunning. Reign of Blood is often pointed at as the bands' best album but I'd have to say this edges it out. The production isn't as good, but there's a genuine feeling of horror with this material, unlike the shorter Reign in Blood material. It showed a band as progressive as Metallica on the "...And Justice for All" album, but four years earlier.
My favorite Slayer record.
Matthew Westmoreland | 03/13/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In my opinion, this is Slayer's best record. Other people will say that Reign In Blood or Seasons In the Abyss were better but I disagree. RIB and SITA are good but the best thing about this record is how the music completely speaks for itself (due to the production). If you're into slick and polished production then you won't hear this record for what it is. I never understood why metal fans were after production more than music anyway. Go listen to Kings of Leon or pop country if that's what you want, otherwise, don't talk about this album. From the opening track this record builds into a blistering floodgate of fury. Nothing sounded like this before it and I haven't heard any modern day metal band top it. Tom Araya's high pitched squeals are just as ear deafening as ever and the Hanneman/King companionship is extravagant. Dave Lombardo's drumming is phenomenal on this record. The hooks on Kill Again and At Dawn They Sleep will have you singing the songs constantly. There's never a dull moment here and there's not enough good things I can say to do this record justice. It doesn't have the average speed of 210 beats per minute that RIB did but if all you're looking for is speed then you're not really after creativity anyway. Go listen to Deicide."