Hell Awaits

Last updated
Hell Awaits
SlayerHellAwaits.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 1985 (March 1985) [1] [2]
RecordedSeptember–October 1984
Studio Eldorado Recording Studios, Los Angeles, California [3]
Genre Thrash metal
Length37:11
Label Metal Blade
Producer
Slayer chronology
Live Undead
(1984)
Hell Awaits
(1985)
Reign in Blood
(1986)

Hell Awaits is the second studio album by American thrash metal band Slayer, released in March 1985 by Metal Blade Records. The band's 1983 debut Show No Mercy became Metal Blade Records' highest-selling release, and as a result, producer Brian Slagel desired to release a second Slayer album. To that end, Slagel financed a recording budget (Show No Mercy was paid for by band members) and recruited several experienced producers to help in the studio.

Thrash metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music characterized by its overall aggression and often fast tempo. The songs usually use fast percussive beats and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead work. The lyrics often deal with social issues and criticism of The Establishment, using direct and denunciatory language, an approach borrowed from hardcore punk.

Slayer American thrash metal band

Slayer is an American thrash metal band from Huntington Park, California. The band was formed in 1981 by vocalist and bassist Tom Araya and guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman. Slayer's fast and aggressive musical style made them one of the founding "big four" bands of thrash metal, alongside Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax. Slayer's current lineup comprises King, Araya, drummer Paul Bostaph and guitarist Gary Holt. Hanneman and drummers Dave Lombardo and Jon Dette are former members of the band.

Metal Blade Records record label

Metal Blade Records is a heavy metal independent record label founded by Brian Slagel in 1982. The U.S. office for Metal Blade is located in Agoura Hills, California. It also has offices in Germany, Japan, Canada, and the UK. The label is distributed in the U.S. by RED Distribution, and in Canada by Sony Music Entertainment. It was distributed by Warner Bros. Records in the United States from 1988 to 1993.

Contents

The lyrical themes on Hell Awaits include hell and Satan, as with their debut; the intro of the title track played backwards reveals the repeated phrase "join us". [4] Musically, the album features the band's most progressive and diverse work compared to their previous releases, and according to Kerry King, he and Jeff Hanneman were very into Mercyful Fate at the time, which then led to the longer and more progressive songs. [5] Defined as "influential to future extreme metal acts," the most popular songs from Hell Awaits were re-recorded by various underground metal bands and have appeared on several tribute albums. [6]

Hell mythological place of, often eternal, suffering

In religion and folklore, Hell is an afterlife location, sometimes a place of torment and punishment. Religions with a linear divine history often depict hells as eternal destinations while religions with a cyclic history often depict a hell as an intermediary period between incarnations. Typically these traditions locate hell in another dimension or under Earth's surface, and often include entrances to Hell from the land of the living. Other afterlife destinations include Heaven, Purgatory, Paradise, and Limbo.

Satan Figure in Abrahamic religions

Satan, also known as the Devil, is an entity in the Abrahamic religions that seduces humans into sin or falsehood. In Christianity and Islam, he is usually seen as either a fallen angel or a jinn, who used to possess great piety and beauty, but rebelled against God, who nevertheless allows him temporary power over the fallen world and a host of demons. In Judaism, Satan is typically regarded as a metaphor for the yetzer hara, or "evil inclination", or as an agent subservient to God.

Kerry King American musician

Kerry Ray King is an American musician, best known as a guitarist and songwriter for the American thrash metal band Slayer. He co-founded the band with Jeff Hanneman in 1981 and has been a member ever since.

Recording

Slayer's previous album, Show No Mercy , became Metal Blade Records' highest selling release, selling 40,000 copies worldwide; the success led producer Brian Slagel to want to record another album with them. [7] Slagel hired producer Ron Fair, who worked for Chrysalis Records, and had seen the band perform live and enjoyed their performance. On seeing Slayer in the studio, Fair stated, "Wow, these guys are really angry," as he was inexperienced working with heavy metal musicians. [8] Slagel financed the album, in stark contrast to Show No Mercy, which was financed by singer Tom Araya, who used his earnings as a respiratory therapist, and a loan from guitarist Kerry King's father. [8]

Ronald Fair is an American veteran A&R, record executive, musical arranger, recording engineer and conductor. In a career that has spanned over 30 years at major record labels he has produced and arranged hits for several artists, but he is best known as a "guru/mentor", guiding the careers of unknown artists and turning them into superstars. Among the artists he has mentored are Christina Aguilera, Vanessa Carlton, Keyshia Cole, The Black Eyed Peas and Fergie, and the Pussycat Dolls.

Chrysalis Records British international music label

Chrysalis Records is a British record label that was created in 1968. The name was both a reference to the pupal stage of a butterfly and a combination of its founders' names, Chris Wright and Terry Ellis. It started as the Ellis-Wright Agency.

Tom Araya American singer and bassist

Tomás Enrique Araya Díaz is a Chilean-American musician, best known as the lead vocalist and bassist of the American thrash metal band Slayer. Araya is ranked fifty-eighth by Hit Parader on their list of the 100 Greatest Metal Vocalists of All Time.

The budget organized by Slagel allowed for professional assistance. Bernie Grundman provided audio mastering, Eddy Schreyer worked on remastering, and Bill Metoyer, who worked on the band's earlier release Haunting the Chapel , acted as sound engineer. [9] The recording featured audio effects such as the intro to "Hell Awaits", a reversed recording of a demonic-sounding voice repeating "Join us", ending with "Welcome back". [10] Still, Araya later stated the album had poor production quality: "Nowadays, production-wise, it's so under par. But for what it was at the time, those are amazing records to me. I guess we could go in and redo it. But why ruin it?" [11]

<i>Haunting the Chapel</i> 1984 EP by Slayer

Haunting the Chapel is an extended play (EP) released by American thrash metal band Slayer in 1984 through Metal Blade and Enigma Records. Slayer's debut album Show No Mercy became Metal Blade's highest-selling, leading to producer Brian Slagel wanting to release an EP. Recorded in Hollywood, the recording process proved difficult when recording drums in a studio without carpet, although it resulted in drummer Dave Lombardo meeting Gene Hoglan who was to become an influence in his drumming style and speed. It was during the recording of this session that Lombardo first had the double bass added to his kit. Hoglan, working for Slayer at the time, sat at the kit and played a double bass for the first time. Lombardo was impressed and although Hoglan never gave him lessons, he did give him tips regarding the use of the double kick drum.

Drummer Dave Lombardo, on the other hand, asserts the album was professionally done compared to Show No Mercy: "I didn't have to overdub the cymbals, and we had a really good engineer." [8] Lombardo's favorite song is "At Dawn They Sleep", "because it was kind of slow and grungy, but then it had that double-bass part at the end." [8] While recording the track, neither guitarists King or Jeff Hanneman who wrote the lyrics were in the studio—only Araya and Slagel. On reading the lyrics, which featured a misspelled word, Araya sang it as it was spelled, although it's not a real word. [8] The song "Hardening of the Arteries" on the album ends with a very similar section that makes up the beginning of the song "Hell Awaits" and is also one of the only Slayer songs to fade out on a continuous riff.

Dave Lombardo Cuban drummer

David Lombardo is a Cuban-American drummer, best known as a co-founding member of American thrash metal band Slayer. Lombardo played drums on nine Slayer albums, including the 1986 album Reign in Blood and the 2006 album Christ Illusion, for which he received critical praise. Lombardo's music career has spanned forty years, during which he has been involved in the production of thirty-five commercial recordings covering a number of genres. He has performed with numerous bands, including Grip Inc., Fantômas, Testament, and Suicidal Tendencies, in addition to Slayer. Lombardo is currently playing drums with Suicidal Tendencies, Dead Cross and the Misfits.

Cymbal common percussion instrument

A cymbal is a common percussion instrument. Often used in pairs, cymbals consist of thin, normally round plates of various alloys. The majority of cymbals are of indefinite pitch, although small disc-shaped cymbals based on ancient designs sound a definite note. Cymbals are used in many ensembles ranging from the orchestra, percussion ensembles, jazz bands, heavy metal bands, and marching groups. Drum kits usually incorporate at least a crash, ride, or crash/ride, and a pair of hi-hat cymbals. A player of cymbals is known as a cymbalist.

Jeff Hanneman American guitarist

Jeffrey John Hanneman was an American musician, best known as a founding member of the American thrash metal band Slayer. Hanneman contributed both lyrical and musical material to every Slayer album up until his death in 2013 and wrote the songs "Raining Blood", "War Ensemble," "South of Heaven," "Seasons in the Abyss," and "Angel of Death," all of which have been played at almost every live Slayer performance after their respective compositions. He had his own signature guitar, the ESP Jeff Hanneman Signature model.

Touring

To promote Hell Awaits, Slayer embarked on the Combat Tour with Venom and Exodus. Exodus guitarist Gary Holt commented, "We immediately bonded with the Slayer guys. It was two bands of friends playing with one band of heroes, you know? We were just star-struck." [8]

Venom (band) English thrash metal band

Venom are an English extreme metal band formed in 1978 in Newcastle upon Tyne. Coming to prominence towards the end of the new wave of British heavy metal, Venom's first two albums—Welcome to Hell (1981) and Black Metal (1982)—are considered a major influence on thrash metal and extreme metal in general. Venom's second album proved influential enough that its title was used as the name of the extreme metal subgenre of black metal.

Gary Holt (musician) American guitarist

Gary Wayne Holt is an American guitarist from the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a guitarist, the bandleader, and the main songwriter for the American thrash metal band Exodus and is also a guitarist for the American thrash metal band Slayer, in which he took over duties for original guitarist Jeff Hanneman, who died in 2013.

Inside Venom's tour bus (the first time Slayer had been in one) the band members got drunk with Venom, while listening to Hell Awaits. [8] Araya entered the bus "hammered out of his mind," according to Lombardo, saying "I gotta take a piss! Where's the bathroom in this thing?" [8] Venom singer Conrad "Cronos" Lant responded, saying "Right here—right here in my mouth!" Araya took it almost literally and urinated on his hair. Cronos got up and punched him in the face, the two blamed each other all night, and Araya continued the tour with a black eye. [8] Araya will not discuss the incident other than saying that he was drunk and it was a very disrespectful thing to do. [12]

Reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [13]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [14]
Rock Hard(9/10) [15]

Although it did not enter any charts, Hell Awaits was hailed upon its release as Slayer's most progressive recording, featuring much darker thrash-oriented style, with unusual arrangements such as varying tempos, and dissonant nuances that "paved the way to a wholly distinctive sound all their own," according to AllMusic reviewer Eduardo Rivadavia. [13] Rivadavia awarded the album four out of five stars, saying that it was "incredibly ahead of its time" and referred to it as "a mandatory item in the band's remarkable discography". It has sold over 1,000,000 records worldwide according to Brian Slagel. [13]

In the book Legends of Rock Guitar, Hell Awaits was defined as "a psychotic exploration into the depths of Satanism and physical torture." [16] The book, a chronology of the great guitarists of rock which includes both Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman, observed the band's evolution in comparison with their previous album, Show No Mercy , saying, "The musicianship is improved, as is lead singer Tom Araya's voice, making the band sound less like hacks and more like metal fiends. The sludgy riffs, which were pure [Black] Sabbath, are offset by some of King's and Hanneman's faster solos, giving Slayer entrée into the speed metal realm." [16]

Influence

Musicians such as singer Phil Anselmo and drummer Gene Hoglan cite Hell Awaits as an influence. [17] Anselmo—known for his work with Pantera, Down, and Superjoint Ritual—explained in an interview with D. X. Ferris, author of the book about the album Reign in Blood, that "Hell Awaits just holds the entire thing. Every bit of everything to do with heavy music. [Slayer] are gods, the best band from California, for sure." [17] Norwegian musician Frode Sivertsen (also known as "E. N. Death"), former member of the black metal band Gehenna, says the song "Hell Awaits" and Slayer's music in general has influenced him as a musician, ranking the album in his top five. [18] Dimebag Darrell of Pantera and Damageplan picked "At Dawn They Sleep" among his 12 Favorite Tunes in the March 1993 issue of Guitar World , stating that Slayer taught him "how to play with guts and aggression". [19]

Defined as "influential to future extreme metal acts," [13] the most popular songs from Hell Awaits were re-recorded by various underground metal bands, [6] and have appeared in several tribute albums, such as Slatanic Slaughter II and Gateway to Hell 1 & 2. The song "Hell Awaits" has been covered by Cradle of Filth and Incantation, "Kill Again" by Angelcorpse, "Praise of Death" by Sinister, "At Dawn They Sleep" by Six Feet Under, and "Necrophiliac" by Sadistic Intent, Benediction and Fleshcrawl. [20] [21]

Track listing

Side one
No.TitleLyricsMusicLength
1."Hell Awaits" Kerry King 6:16
2."Kill Again"King
  • Hanneman
  • King
4:56
3."At Dawn They Sleep"
Hanneman6:17
Side two
No.TitleLyricsMusicLength
4."Praise of Death"HannemanKing5:21
5."Necrophiliac"
  • Hanneman
  • King
Hanneman3:46
6."Crypts of Eternity"
  • Araya
  • Hanneman
  • King
  • Hanneman
  • King
6:40
7."Hardening of the Arteries"HannemanHanneman3:55

^ † The Metal Classics version features two additional songs taken from Haunting the Chapel . The version of Show No Mercy from the same series (CD ZORRO 7) includes the remaining two tracks from the EP.

Personnel

Slayer
Production

Related Research Articles

<i>Reign in Blood</i> 1986 studio album by Slayer

Reign in Blood is the third studio album by American thrash metal band Slayer, released on October 7, 1986 by Def Jam Recordings. The album was the band's first collaboration with producer Rick Rubin, whose input helped the band's sound evolve. The release date of the album was delayed because of concerns regarding the lyrical subject matter of the opening track "Angel of Death", which refers to Josef Mengele and describes acts such as human experimentation that he committed at the Auschwitz concentration camp. However, the band's members stated numerous times that they did not condone Nazism and were merely interested in the subject.

<i>South of Heaven</i> 1988 studio album by Slayer

South of Heaven is the fourth studio album by American thrash metal band Slayer. Released on July 5, 1988, the album was the band's second collaboration with record producer Rick Rubin, whose production skills on Slayer's previous album Reign in Blood had helped the band's sound evolve.

<i>Show No Mercy</i> 1983 studio album by Slayer

Show No Mercy is the debut studio album by American thrash metal band Slayer, released on December 3, 1983 by Metal Blade Records. Brian Slagel signed the band to the label after watching them perform the song "Phantom of the Opera" by Iron Maiden. The band self-financed their full-length debut, combining the savings of vocalist Tom Araya, who was employed as a respiratory therapist, and money borrowed from guitarist Kerry King's father. Touring extensively promoting the album, the band brought close friends and family members along the trip, who helped backstage with lighting and sound.

<i>God Hates Us All</i> 2001 studio album by Slayer

God Hates Us All is the ninth studio album by American thrash metal band Slayer, released on September 11, 2001 by American Recordings. It was recorded over three months at The Warehouse Studio in Vancouver, and includes the Grammy Award-nominated "Disciple". Guitarist Kerry King wrote the majority of its lyrics, taking a different approach from earlier recordings by exploring topics such as religion, murder, revenge, and self-control. The band experimented, recording most of the album in C# tuning, with three songs in drop B and two others with seven-string guitars in B♭.

"Angel of Death" is the opening track on the American thrash metal band Slayer's 1986 album Reign in Blood. The lyrics and music were written by guitarist Jeff Hanneman. They detail the Nazi physician Josef Mengele's human experiments at the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II.

<i>Undisputed Attitude</i> Slayer album

Undisputed Attitude is the seventh studio album by American thrash metal band Slayer, released on May 28, 1996 by American Recordings. The album consists almost entirely of covers of punk rock and hardcore punk songs, and also includes two tracks written by guitarist Jeff Hanneman in 1984 and 1985 for a side project called Pap Smear; its closing track "Gemini" is the only original track. The cover songs on the album were originally recorded by the bands Minor Threat, T.S.O.L., D.R.I., D.I., Dr. Know, the Stooges, and Verbal Abuse, whose work was prominently featured with the inclusion of cover versions of five of their songs.

Possessed (band) American death metal band

Possessed is an American death metal band, originally formed in 1983. Noted for their fast style of playing and Jeff Becerra's growled vocals, they are often called the first band in the death metal genre. The band is also notable for featuring Larry LaLonde, who was the guitarist of Possessed during the mid-1980s, and went on to join Primus.

<i>Live Intrusion</i> 1995 video by Slayer

Live Intrusion is a home video by Slayer which was released in 1995 through American Recordings and filmed at the Mesa Amphitheater in Mesa, Arizona on March 12, 1995. The video features a cover of the Venom song "Witching Hour" performed by Slayer with assistance from Chris Kontos and Robb Flynn of Machine Head. It was reissued on DVD on August 17, 2010. Live Intrusion received positive reception from the few critics that reviewed the video.

<i>Diabolus in Musica</i> 1998 studio album by Slayer

Diabolus in Musica is the eighth studio album by American thrash metal band Slayer. The album was released on June 9, 1998. Although receiving mixed critical reviews, the album sold 46,000 copies in its first week to peak at number 31 on the Billboard 200. Guitarist Jeff Hanneman wrote most of the album's content which has been described as Slayer's most experimental album. It is the band's first studio album to be played mostly in C tuning. The album's title is a Latin term for "The Devil in Music", a musical interval known for its dissonance. Lyrical themes explored on the album include religion, sex, cultural deviance, death, insanity, war, and homicide.

<i>War at the Warfield</i> 2003 video by Slayer

War at the Warfield is a concert video by Slayer which was released on July 29, 2003, through American Recordings. Recorded at Warfield Theatre in San Francisco, California, on December 7, 2001, it is the band's second video album. The DVD's contents were announced by MTV on July 25, 2003. It is the last release by Slayer with drummer Paul Bostaph, who left due to a chronic elbow injury. Bostaph was subsequently replaced by the original Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo. War at the Warfield was well received by critics, debuting at number three on the Billboard DVD chart, and sold over 7,000 copies in its first week. It was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for selling over 50,000 copies in the United States. It also won a 2003 Metal Edge Readers' Choice Award for DVD of the Year.

<i>Still Reigning</i> 2004 live album by the band Slayer

Still Reigning is a live performance DVD by the thrash metal band Slayer, released in 2004 through American Recordings. Filmed at the Augusta Civic Center on July 11, 2004, the performance showcases Slayer's 1986 album, Reign in Blood, played in its entirety with the four original band members on a set resembling their 1986 "Reign in Pain" tour. Still Reigning was voted "best live DVD" by the readers of Revolver magazine, and received gold certification in 2005.

"Raining Blood" is a song by the American thrash metal band Slayer. Written by Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King for the 1986 studio album Reign in Blood, the song's religious concept is about overthrowing Heaven.

<i>Christ Illusion</i> 2006 studio album by Slayer

Christ Illusion is the tenth studio album by American thrash metal band Slayer, released on August 8, 2006 by American Recordings. It was the band's first album to feature original drummer Dave Lombardo since Seasons in the Abyss (1990), and also marked the first time since Divine Intervention (1994) that they recorded songs in D# tuning. The songs "Jihad", "Flesh Storm", "Catalyst", and "Consfearacy" were recorded in D# tuning, while "Catatonic", "Eyes of the Insane", "Skeleton Christ", and "Supremist" were recorded in Drop B tuning and "Black Serenade" and "Cult" in C# tuning.

"Jihad" is a song by the American thrash metal band Slayer which appears on the band's 2006 studio album Christ Illusion. The song portrays the imagined viewpoint of a terrorist who has participated in the September 11, 2001 attacks, concluding with spoken lyrics taken from words left behind by Mohamed Atta; Atta was named by the FBI as the "head suicide terrorist" of the first plane to crash into the World Trade Center. "Jihad" was primarily written by guitarist Jeff Hanneman; the lyrics were co-authored with vocalist Tom Araya.

<i>World Painted Blood</i> 2009 studio album by Slayer

World Painted Blood is the eleventh studio album by American thrash metal band Slayer. It was released through American Recordings and Sony Music on November 3, 2009 and was produced by Greg Fidelman and executively produced by Rick Rubin. It is the band's only album produced by Greg Fidelman. With much anticipation for the album after 2006's Christ Illusion, members of Slayer began revealing information about the album beginning in early 2009.

<i>Repentless</i> 2015 studio album by Slayer

Repentless is the twelfth studio album by American thrash metal band Slayer. It was released on September 11, 2015, and is the band's first album since the death of guitarist Jeff Hanneman in 2013. Gary Holt plays the guitar in his place while drummer Paul Bostaph makes his first appearance on a Slayer album since 2001's God Hates Us All. The album is also Slayer's first one to be released on Nuclear Blast and was produced by Terry Date, replacing Rick Rubin after twenty-nine years and nine studio albums as their producer or executive producer. The six-year gap between World Painted Blood and Repentless is the longest between two Slayer albums to date.

References

  1. "Gatefold of Best of Metal Blade, Vol. 1". Metal Blade Records. Retrieved 2013-05-19.
  2. "In-store flyer, Monday April 1st, 1985". Slipped Disc Records. Retrieved 2013-05-03.
  3. "Kerry King letter Slipped Disc Records". Slipped Disc Records. Retrieved 2013-05-05.
  4. Gargano, Paul. "Slayer – Tom Araya – January 2007". Maximum Ink Music Magazine. Retrieved 2007-01-24.
  5. "Kerry King interviewed by Metal Hammer". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-02-06.
  6. 1 2 Birchmeier, Jason. "Post Mortem: The Tribute to Slayer – Review". AllMusic. Macrovision. Retrieved June 7, 2009.
  7. German, Eric. "Interview with Brian Slagel". Metalupdate.com. Retrieved 2006-12-04.
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 "An exclusive oral history of Slayer". Decibel Magazine. Archived from the original on 2006-08-13. Retrieved 2006-12-03.
  9. "Hell Awaits credits". AllMusic . Retrieved 2007-04-04.
  10. "Why They Rule – #6 Slayer". MTV. Archived from the original on 2006-07-18. Retrieved 2006-01-18.
  11. La Briola, John (2004-07-22). "Slay Ride". Westword.com. Retrieved 2007-04-04.
  12. "A Folk Devil Talking: Slayer's Tom Araya Interviewed". The Quietus. Retrieved 2012-06-12.
  13. 1 2 3 4 Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Hell Awaits". AllMusic . Macrovision . Retrieved 2007-03-25.
  14. Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (2004). The Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York City, New York: Simon and Schuster. pp. 741–742. ISBN   0-7432-0169-8.
  15. Kühnemund, Götz. "Rock Hard". Issue 11. Retrieved May 20, 2013.
  16. 1 2 Prown, Pete; Newquist, HP (1997). "Thrash: The Dark Side of the Force". Legends of Rock Guitar. Hal Leonard. pp. 228–229. ISBN   0-7935-4042-9.
  17. 1 2 Ferris, D. X. (2008). Reign in Blood. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 12. ISBN   0-8264-2909-2.
  18. Anders (2006-03-08). "Interview with The Deviant". Nocturnal Horde. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-04-04.
  19. Jeff Kitts (November 14, 2013). "Prime Cuts: Dimebag Darrell Chooses His 12 Favorite Tunes in 1993 Guitar World Feature". Guitar World (published March 1993). Retrieved October 2, 2018.
  20. "Slatanic Slaughter, Vol. 2". AllMusic. Macrovision. Retrieved June 7, 2009.
  21. "Gateway to Hell, Vol. 2: A Tribute to Slayer". AllMusic. Macrovision. Retrieved June 7, 2009.