|Classic Review: Slayer - Show No Mercy|
|Show No Mercy|
Label: Metal Blade Records
Year released: 1983
Genre: Thrash Metal
Review online: March 10, 2009
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
for:Show No Mercy
Rated 4.73/5 (94.55%) (77 Votes)
Like it or not, Slayer’s career has pretty much followed the fortunes of Thrash in general: once it got popular, it turned to shit, and while it's trying to come back, it's just not as good as it used to be. Reign In Blood gets all the attention, and will always be considered Slayer's ‘classic' album, but really I think this album is better. Show No Mercy was their debut, released right when Thrash was being born, and one of the more notable birth-pangs was this evil little album.
Financed on a shoestring by the band members themselves, Show No Mercy was a badly-produced album even then, but the hunger and aggression of the band shows through in the catchy riffs and crazed leads. People tend to overlook this recording, but the truth is some of Slayer's best songs are on here: the crushing riffs of "The Antichrist", the instant classic "Die By The Sword", "Crionics", "Black Magic", "Tormentor", even the less-distinct songs like "Fight ‘till Death" are feral slabs of thrashing goodness. On this album Slayer show a complete lack of restraint or good sense – they play too fast, the leads are sloppy, their timing gets off – but these are the things we love Thrash for, and when they cleaned up later and made more accessible albums, it pretty much bit the long donkey. I mean, check out the killer riffs on "Metal Storm/Face The Slayer", I mean THAT is what Thrash is all about. Slayer played fast, sure, but at this stage they also incorporated a melodic, almost NWOBHM sensibility to their riff-writing that made their songs memorable. Later this practice declined, and so did Slayer.
What I'm saying is that really, this is the ultimate Slayer album, and one of the ultimate Thrash albums. Slashing riffs, insane leads, vicious vocals, and Satanic/Occult lyrics fit to make women faint – what more could you possibly want? Not as instantly accessible as Reign In Blood, this debut album is violently anti-commercial and underground, and that makes it a great fucking record.
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