It’s no secret to anyone who reads this site that I’m hugely influenced by Slayer. So much so that I honored their Reign in Blood album by inducting it into the Hell of Fame, a name inspired by their Hell Awaits album. Hell, the way I got into writing about horror on the net was by heading into Hot Topic to buy a Slayer shirt and meeting Mike Cucinotta. I’ve seen Slayer four times since I became a fan in 2006, and of those concerts, I’ve only seen them play “Hell Awaits” once.
And let me tell you, it’s brutal. I’m not a huge fan of the Hell Awaits album, but outside of “Angel of Death,” this may be their best lead song to kick off a disc. Its intro hits at a steady, grinding pace, and then explodes into Slayer’s killer twin speed guitars by way of Hanneman and King. Lombardo’s drum work is top notch, the driving force behind it all. Araya is in top form, singing so fast that I’m always shocked his jaw doesn’t fly off and kill people in the crowd. Together, the four prove as always that they’re the hardest hitting force in all of speed metal, the paragon for metal.
In the midst of DE’s tribute to THE OMEN, I thought it only fitting to share a live performance of “Hell Awaits” with our fanbase. It’s from the Unholy Alliance disc, and it’s as hard hitting as ever. I chose this version over some of the others because Lombardo is the drummer, as he was on the album. Oh, and Hanneman’s wearing a Raiders jersey, the same Tyrone Wheatley #47 that I own.
Nearly 30 years out, Slayer never compromises, and refuses to let Father Time slow them down.
And man, do I miss Tom Araya’s headbanging.