A high point in the art of thrash metal.
Andrew MacEwen | 02/26/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I never cease to be amused by those critics in All Music Guide: lemmings, down to the last. Without the slightest trace of imagination or originality to their critical assessments, they merely regurgitate the platitudinous banalities that accrue into the so-called common wisdom. Case in point: Steve Hue, who cites Reign in Blood as Slayer's "one undisputed classic." Undisputed? No, there are those such as myself who recognize albums such as Reign in Blood, Kill `Em All, and Peace Sells as groundbreaking but over-rated in light of pure musical merit. One would think a critic would use his own judgments and standards when bestowing greatness status on a piece of music rather than relying on what the masses say.
Compounding matters, Hue mentions that some hardcore fans were disappointed with the masterful South of Heaven, an album which - with Seasons in the Abyss - quite surpasses the blistering but limited Reign in Blood. Both these albums created incredible layers of texture that place them at the top of the Slayer heap: the band would never again equal these achievements, for all the overdone Kerry King anger and hate that has dominated the last three albums. Who cares if some "hardcore fans" were disappointed or alienated by South of Heaven? Of what relevance are they? Hardcore fans are singlehandedly responsible for why many a group have stayed in one spot for the duration of their careers. (What an intelligent listener would criticize as lack of growth and musical exploration, these cretins hail as "remaining pure" or "staying true to their roots," etc.) Simply put, a critic's job is to review the material. While reference to other critics is appropriate, reference to fan response is not. Screw the fans.
South of Heaven brought a musical maturity to Slayer's music and playing that would provide a foundation for the sublime Seasons in the Abyss, the greatest thrash metal album of all time. When I want something more concise and concentrated, I listen to South of Heaven. When I am prepared to immerse myself in the more developed soundscapes of Seasons, I play that album. Purchase both, download them, borrow them. Just make sure you have them in your collection.
I have spoken.