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Headbang! - 70%

Nhorf, November 7th, 2008

Usually, thrash metal bands sound better live than on the studio and this record is no exception. As for myself, I'm not a big fan of live recordings, but this one is pretty damn good and an excellent introduction to Slayer, if you don't know them. There are stuff here from their debut, [i]Show No Mercy[/i], from Hell Awaits, from South of Heaven... well, every album they had released, circa 1991, is perfectly represented here on Decade of Aggression. Seasons in the Abyss probably is the most represented album, with lots of tracks out of that album being played on this live recording, especially on the second disk.

So, we begin with “Hell Awaits”, the perfect opener in my opinion. Creepy intro, perfect build-up and then everything explodes, when the pair of guitarists play the fast main riff and Lombardo starts playing that fast beat... Awesome headbangable stuff, I'm not a big Slayer fan, in fact I despise most of their material (they are pretty boring, most of the times, and modern Slayer is just crap), but this tune sounds just killer live. Out of nowhere, during “Hell Awaits'” instrumental section, “The Anti-Christ” kicks in, with its NWOBHM-influenced main riff. This version of the tune sounds much better than the original one, it's a bit slower than the opener but still excellent. There are lots of other thrash classics on the first CD, from the legendary “Raining Blood”, to the midpaced but still heavy as hell “South of Heaven”, from the epic “Seasons in the Abyss” (probably Slayer's best song, together with the before mentioned “Hell Awaits”), to the crushing “Angel of Death”. “Dead Skin Mask” also deserves a special mention. Almost all of the tunes featured on the first CD are performed flawlessly, except some problems Araya seems to have with his voice (on “War Ensemble”, for example, he kind of loses his voice during the last part).

The second CD is a bit of a let-down compared to the first one, since the songs featured on it are infinitely weaker. Still, the ultra-fast “Postomortem” and the classic “Mandatory Suicide” deserve to be heard. On the other hand, tracks like “Hallowed Point” or “Captor in Sin” are all quite forgettable and almost useless, if you have already heard the studio versions.

Another complaint I have with the album is its production. I know, there's no overdubs, but the sound quality could have been a bit (well, much) better. At times, it's almost impossible to hear the guitar riffs and the double-bass drums are too damn low in the mix (hell, it's Lombardo, let me hear his pedals!). Araya's voice could habe been a bit higher in the mix too, but that's a minor issue after all.

So, a pretty good live album, the first CD is perfect headbangable material, but the second one drags Decade of Aggression down a little bit. Still, nice live recording, excellent for those who want to know who Slayer are.

Best Moments of the CD:
-Probably, the first part of “Hell Awaits”.