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Is this album really what many consider to be the epitome of awesome thrash? Really? I don't think I'd be able to find a more overrated record anywhere. This is Slayer's legacy? This is the album everyone knows Slayer best for? What the fuck? I feel bad for Show No Mercy and Hell Awaits (both masterpieces) constantly being in this album's shadow. This album is the very definition of regression. Hell Awaits was very evil and unconventional, and at times even quite progressive (for 80s thrash standards). One would think following that they'd make another epic with more lengthy songs and awesome riffs, but no. They shat it all away in favour of making the fastest thrash they could and forgetting all about something called songwriting.
The album starts promising with Angel of Death. A truly awesome and evil piece with a hurricane of riffs, a ripping solo and some brutal catchy lyrics about The Angel of Death, Josef Mengele. Now if all of the songs on here sounded like this then this would be worthy of the pedestal almost every thrasher puts it on, but alas, it is not. The next 7 songs are so unremarkable, forgettable and mediocre. Most of them are just to show how obsessed Slayer were with making stupidly fast songs with no substance. I honestly can't remember anything between the last scream of "ANGEL OF DEEEEEEAAAAAAAATH!" and that crushing intro riff to Postmortem.
And that's when the album picks up to at least go out with a bang. Postmortem first starts quite mid-paced, while still thrashy, before picking up into a frantic thrashfest and fading out to form the intro to Raining Blood, which is another classic. Starting with a very memorable riff that will be stuck in your head for days after with dual guitars and awesome solos, complete with a slow paced mosh part conducive to headbanging like a motherfucker.
Maybe if they'd released Angel of Death, Postmortem and Raining Blood as an EP, like Haunting The Chapel, it would've been a perfect release. Alas, they stuck some generic thrash songs inbetween and somehow made it "legendary". The 3 songs I like are all perfect. 3 out of 10 awesome songs = 30%. Now I'll just listen to Hell Awaits and cry about how underrated it is.