We all know the final Slayer live shows across Australia will feature 'Angel Of Death', 'South Of Heaven' and, of course, 'Raining Blood'. But what about the deeper cuts littered across the band’s lengthy studio career? Here’s our wishlist of ten songs we need to hear on the final run of shows from the kings of thrash.
1. 'Bitter Peace'
The lead track on the black sheep of the Slayer discography released in the midst of the nu metal revolution. This album is definitely not as bad as you remember. ‘Bitter Peace’ is a ripping intro, sporting a low ‘n’ slow mosh riff repurposed from Pantera’s ‘A New Level’, which bookends some textbook double time thrash. There are some dodgy lyrics, but this is Slayer, so step off. Bar one tour in 2007 where the song snuck back onto the setlist, it hasn’t been a live staple since the millennium bug was a real concern.
2. 'New Faith'
On a list of the most Slayer things possible, surely releasing an album called God Hates Us All the same day as the most deadly terror attack in US history is in contention for the top spot. ‘New Faith’ follows the opening barrage of ‘Darkness Of Christ’, ‘Disciple’ and ‘God Send Death’ with a simple, swinging, palm muted riff that is perfectly suited to push pitting the shit out of your fellow sweaty humans in an open air car park that doubles as the site of an energy-drink-sponsored metal festival.
3. 'War Zone'
Sticking with God Hates Us All, late cut ‘War Zone’ is, to borrow the parlance of Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta, a total ass beater. Bostaph turns in maybe the best performance of his Slayer career(s), with absolutely pummelling double bass in the intro and then whatever the hell you call what he does in the pre-chorus. Is that an octopus being thrown down the stairs with a 12-piece kit? Who knows, but it sounds unbelievably awesome. Setlist.FM isn’t sure this song has even been played live.
4. 'Killing Fields'
While Diabolus In Musica is outright scoffed at, Divine Intervention seems to just get the casual wave off. We get it, following one of metal’s best run of albums is no easy feat, but Divine Intervention has its own hidden gems, starting with opener ‘Killing Fields.’ New guy Bostaph kicks things off with an over-the-top fill that rattles into a savage groove which somehow sounds feral and unhinged, while still maintaining Slayer’s power and precision. A betting man might name it as the basis of many a metalcore trope, but this writer deleted his Sportsbet account.
5. 'Serenity In Murder'
The intro of this song makes me feel like I am actually going insane, with cascading chromatic noodling falling off a cliff into a trippy, mid-tempo slow burner with charming Slayer lyrics about, um, murder. Fittingly for the mad vibe of this track, the inner tray of Divine Intervention is the home of the classic Slayer carved wrists image. Magnifico.
6. 'Filler/ I Don’t Want To Hear It'
Make no mistake, Undisputed Attitude is a very sick record and highlights the very real influence of punk and hardcore’s frantic speed and aggro in Slayer’s formative genetic makeup. While their take on The Stooges classic ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ is a true '90s-era highlight fit for a noir cop drama, it’s the circle pit gee up energy of the Minor Threat double shot of ‘Filler’ and ‘I Don’t Want To Hear It’ that we want to hear earn a spot on the setlist.
7. 'Skeletons Of Society'
Seasons In The Abyss is the best Slayer record, and the tribal thud of ‘Skeletons Of Society’ is the fist-pumping mid-set breather we need before diving into the expected brace of hits. Next question.
8. 'Born Of Fire'
Fellow Seasons In The Abyss alumni, ‘Born Of Fire’ is the penultimate moment ahead of the title track. We deserve to hear the full cacophonous clash of the faster than thou 'Born Of Fire’s screeching solos smashing into that sinister intro at full goddamn pace. There better be a whole lot of pyro.
While Slayer dealing in anti-social lyrical topics is no great revelation, God Hates Us All’s pugilistic closer ‘Payback’ narrows it right down from conceptual evils to Tom Araya spitting out a list of all the nasty shit he’s going to do to an unnamed opponent. As you’d anticipate, his bandmates pair the revenge fever dream with an aural nailbomb. The definition of fight music.
10. Anything except Repentless, please
They’ll never admit, but damn – the main thing this song and album may have done is prove that it was time for the band to hang up the BC Riches. No offense Gary, you shred.
Catch Slayer’s final Australian performances in March. They will appear at Download Festival in Sydney on Saturday March 9 and Melbourne on Monday March 11, as well as headline shows in Adelaide on Thursday March 7 and Brisbane on Wednesday March 13. Tickets are available now via Live Nation.