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So this is what all the fuss is about? The be-all/end-all of metal? This would make a damn fine EP if it were just Angel Of Death, Epidemic, Criminally Insane and Postmortem/Raining Blood. The other 5 tracks come off as good ideas for a basis of a thrash song, but apparently Jeff Hanneman thought it would be a good idea to stop writing halfway through.
That's what really kills this album. Show No Mercy and Hell Awaits both showed that Slayer were fully capable of writing fully developed and, dare I say, progressive songs, and that comes through on Angel Of Death and...umm...Angel Of Death. The other 4 good songs are still pretty simple, relatively speaking (Postmortem and Raining Blood both have a few changes; Postmortem with the awesome speedup at the end and Raining Blood with the mosh part to end all mosh parts [none of that metalcore chug-chuggachug shit]), but are still full songs, not something you'd expect from a hardcore punk band.
So why is this the flagship of Slayer's catalog? I don't fucking know. Show No Mercy and South Of Heaven both have far better songs (although both are significantly slower than this and Hell Awaits), and Hell Awaits is far more evil, menacing, riffy, and fast. Angel Of Death is amazing, but not amazing enough to balance out crap like Necrophobic and Jesus Saves. Crionics and Die By The Sword from SNM and Hell Awaits and At Dawn They Sleep from Hell Awaits all crush Angel Of Death with their awesomeness, and that's just Slayer's body of work (get some Dark Angel, Kreator, Exodus, or even Megadeth and this album just falls flat).
It's certainly not a bad album, and one every metalhead should own, but it's far from worthy of all the praise it gets. Yup, it's fast, but it's fast for the sake of being fast. Just because you can (and they really can't; this is one of the sloppiest albums I've ever heard) doesn't mean you should. Besides, Dark Angel and Kruiz are faster.