It's the beginning of the end for Slayer. This Spring, the band is set to embark on their final North American tour. After 37 years of laughing with Satan as we eternally rot, the Slayer train is about pull into the station for the last time…and scorch the tracks with mountains of pyro and mosh pits. No really, have you seen the lineup for their farewell tour? Lamb of God, Anthrax, Behemoth and Testament all ravaging the stage with Slayer one last time? They're calling in the National Guard to help run security right, because HOLY SHIT. The show I went to a few weeks back was an absolute rager of epic proportions.
So, in honor of Slayer's last hurrah, we've decided to dig through the band's back catalog and highlight some of their underrated tunes. These are tracks that maybe should have been singles, songs that have fallen out of rotation from the band's set list in recent decades, but mostly, they're just wild ass Slayer songs everyone should celebrate.
Since 2015's Repentless and it's insanely rad music video saga is still fresh in our collective memory, and because 1986's Reign In Blood is like the most essential, space time continuum altering metal album ever, we've left these two records off the list, in order to spread some love to the band's other studio albums. Check out our selections below!
"Scrum" – Diabolus In Musica (1998)
Diaoblus In Musica aka, Slayer’s foray into Nu-Metal; is often regarded as the band’s great sonic misstep. Truth be told, there’s some solid bangers on this album. Case in point, “Scrum.” Probably the thrash-iest song on the record, this track features some of Tom Araya’s most tortured [in a good way!] vocal performances and the blistering, light speed climax is one of the most satisfying Slayer-isms of the Bostaph era.
"Supremist" – Christ Illusion (2006)
Dave Lombardo’s first proper Slayer record since, forever, marked a semi-return to thrashy form for the band. Slayer doing modern Slayer things, but with that manic, train about to derail Lombardo energy behind it, pushing their songs closer to that classic bee swarm blitzkrieg we all know and love. This song is rad because it features Lombardo doing blast beats [!] but also, because for a large portion of the song, Kerry King just brings the riffs down to a slower, bludgeoning pace which contrasts Lombardo’s fast footed insanity pretty well.
"Kill Again" – Hell Awaits (1985)
Why hasn’t this become a live staple over the years? This jam is absolutely pummeling. Speed, shred, crazy Araya shriek, this song would rip so hard on their 2018 farewell tour. It’s longer and more dramatic than the air tight, surgically precise numbers the band would craft on future releases, but no shit, this song is one of the best, and underrated Slayer tunes ever released. Fight me.
"Can’t Stand You" – Undisputed Attitude (1996)
Largely a collection of punk cover songs, Undisputed Attitude threw many of Slayer’s metal only carnivores for a loop upon its release. But really, what would Slayer be without the punk influence? As we all know, Jeff Hanneman was the punk master general in Slayer’s arsenal, he and Dave Lombardo’s short lived 1980’s hardcore side project Pap Smear got two of their unreleased songs Slayer-ized on this album. So rock out to “Can’t Stand You” and/or “Ddamn” …for Jeff.
"Skeletons Of Society" – Seasons In The Abyss (1990)
Great song. Great album. Too bad this jam gets overshadowed by the Seasons In The Abyss staples [“War Ensemble,” “Dead Skin Mask,” “Hallowed Point,” the title track…to name a few!] time and time again. Personal note, I honestly sort of forgot how cool this tune was until the laid back, piano heavy Hellsongs cover version permanently embedded the track into my psyche some years back. Isn’t that a testament of a good song? When it’s transcribed and mutated into a completely different incarnation of itself, an upbeat lounge rendition in this case, and still comes through strong? Should the band whip this sucker out one last time on the road before they hang up their guitars, we’re pretty sure the crowds would eat it up. That howling guitar crescendo just screams ‘lawn seat air guitar’ madness.
More underrated Slayer songs on the next page…