Show No Mercy

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Show No Mercy
Slayer - Show No Mercy.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedDecember 3, 1983 (1983-12-03)
RecordedNovember 1983
Studio Track Record Studios, Los Angeles, California
Genre Thrash metal
Length35:02
Label Metal Blade
Producer Slayer, Brian Slagel
Slayer chronology
Show No Mercy
(1983)
Haunting the Chapel
(1984)

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.

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

Although the album was criticized for its poor production quality, it became Metal Blade's highest-selling release, [1] producing the songs "The Antichrist," "Die by the Sword" and "Black Magic", which are played at Slayer's live shows regularly. [2]

Recording

Slayer was the opening act for Bitch at the Woodstock Club in Los Angeles, performing eight songs—six being covers. [1] While performing an Iron Maiden cover, the band was spotted by Brian Slagel, a former music journalist who had recently founded Metal Blade Records. Slagel met with the band backstage and asked if they would like to be featured on the label's upcoming Metal Massacre III compilation; the band agreed. [1] The band's appearance on the compilation created underground buzz, which led to Slagel signing the band with Metal Blade Records. [1] Recorded in Los Angeles, California, Show No Mercy was financed by vocalist Tom Araya, who used his earnings as a respiratory therapist, [3] and money borrowed from guitarist Kerry King's father. [4] King says the album is "fuckin' Iron Maiden here and there". [5] Vocalist Araya asserts Venom, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Mercyful Fate were big influences on the record, as guitarist King was into the Satanic image. [6]

Bitch is a female-fronted American heavy metal band, formed in Los Angeles in December 1980. They gained notoriety as a result of their theatrical live performances inspired by Alice Cooper, which featured sadomasochistic themes. Bitch was the first artist ever signed to Metal Blade Records.

Los Angeles City in California

Los Angeles, officially the City of Los Angeles and often known colloquially by its initials L.A., is the most populous city in California and the second most populous city in the United States, after New York. With an estimated population of four million, Los Angeles is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. Nicknamed the "City of Angels" partly because of its name's Spanish meaning, Los Angeles is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood, and the entertainment industry, and sprawling metropolis.

Cover version later version of a song already established with a different earlier performer

In popular music, a cover version, cover song, revival, or simply cover, is a new performance or recording by someone other than the original artist or composer of a previously recorded, commercially released song.

Gene Hoglan, later known as the drummer for bands like Dark Angel and Death, provided backing vocals on the song "Evil Has No Boundaries". [7] "Back at the time it was Jeff [ Hanneman ] and Kerry doing the 'Evil!' You know, it didn't sound too heavy and I mentioned to like Tom or Jeff or somebody like, 'You know you guys should consider...maybe consider doing like big gang vocals on that, make it sound evil like demons and stuff,' and they were like 'Good idea.' But how about now, we got about eight dudes sitting around in the studio, and now everybody jumped up and yelled 'EVIL!!!' So I was like 'Cool' because I'm like, 'I wanna sing on this record somehow, that's how I can do it,' totally unplanned you know?! Sure enough they were like, 'Fuck we have the time, let's do it.' So I was like 'Yeah, I got to sing on it!'" [8] On recording the drums, Slagel wanted drummer Dave Lombardo to play without using cymbals due to the amount of noise they made, as he was unsure if he could siphon the noise out, which he eventually did. [9]

Gene Hoglan American musician

Eugene Victor Hoglan II is an American drummer, acclaimed for his creativity in drum arrangements, including use of abstract devices for percussion effects and his trademark lengthy double-kick drum rhythms. His highly technical playing is extremely accurate at very high and challenging tempos, earning him the nicknames "The Atomic Clock" and "Human Drum Machine."

Dark Angel (band) former American thrash metal band

Dark Angel is an American thrash metal band from Downey, California that formed in 1981. Their over-the-top style earned them the nickname "the L.A. Caffeine Machine". Although Dark Angel had never achieved a mainstream breakthrough in their initial career, they are often credited as one of the leaders of the second wave of the thrash metal movement of the 1980s. Dark Angel released four full-length studio albums before splitting up in 1992. After a short-lived reunion from 2002 to 2005, the band reunited once again in 2013. They are also notable for featuring drummer Gene Hoglan, who has been a member of Dark Angel since 1984, and since their initial breakup in 1992, he has played in several notable bands, such as Death, Testament, Strapping Young Lad, Fear Factory and Dethklok.

Death (metal band) American death/progressive metal band

Death was an American death metal band from Orlando, Florida, founded in 1983 by guitarist and vocalist Chuck Schuldiner. Death is considered to be among the most influential bands in heavy metal and a pioneering force in the extreme metal subgenre of death metal. Their debut album, Scream Bloody Gore, has been widely regarded as the first death metal record.

The band used Satanic themes in both lyrics and live performances to gain notice among the metal community. [10] The back cover featured 'side 666' and inverted crosses, with Hanneman playing his guitar. [10] Due to the imagery and lyrical content, Slayer received mail from the Parents Music Resource Center telling the band to stop releasing records. Araya comments, "Back then you had that PMRC, who literally took everything to heart. When in actuality you're trying to create an image. You're trying to scare people on purpose." [10] The album produced the songs "The Antichrist", "Die by the Sword", and "Black Magic", which are played at Slayer's live shows regularly. [2]

Parents Music Resource Center

The Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) was an American committee formed in 1985 with the stated goal of increasing parental control over the access of children to music deemed to have violent, drug-related or sexual themes via labeling albums with Parental Advisory stickers. The committee was founded by four women known as the "Washington Wives" – a reference to their husbands' connections with government in the Washington, D.C. area. The women who founded the PMRC are Tipper Gore, wife of Senator and later Vice President Al Gore; Susan Baker, wife of Treasury Secretary James Baker; Pam Howar, wife of Washington realtor Raymond Howar; and Sally Nevius, wife of former Washington City Council Chairman John Nevius. The PMRC eventually grew to include 22 participants before shutting down in the mid-to-late 1990s.

Touring

The band went on their first tour of the United States after the album's release—Slagel gave the band a list of addresses and contact numbers of the venues. Araya was still working at the hospital, and called the members saying, "Today's the day. Are we gonna do this?" [4] The band knew if they did not tour now, they never would. So they set out taking Araya's Camaro and U-Haul. During the first leg of the tour, Slayer had no manager; Doug Goodman, who had met the band when he was first in line for their first show in Northern California (opening for Lȧȧz Rockit) took a vacation from his job at a grocery store to help out on the tour, eventually becoming the band's "tour guide". Goodman now tour manages acts such as Green Day and Beck. [4]

U-Haul is an American moving equipment and storage rental company, based in Phoenix, Arizona, that has been in operation since 1945. The company was founded by Leonard Shoen in Ridgefield, Washington, who began it in the garage owned by his wife's family, and expanded it through franchising with gas stations.

Lȧȧz Rockit is a thrash metal band formed in San Francisco, California, in 1982. Although one of the lesser-known groups of the Bay Area thrash metal scene, each album in their career has received high critical marks. One of their signature elements were Ibanez guitars adorned with elaborate airbrushed scenes of warfare.

Green Day American rock band

Green Day is an American rock band formed in 1986 by lead vocalist and guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong and bassist Mike Dirnt. For much of the band's career, they have been a trio with drummer Tré Cool, who replaced John Kiffmeyer in 1990 prior to the recording of the band's second studio album, Kerplunk (1991).

Kevin Reed, a friend of the band, set up the drums and lighting when touring with the band. Reed's father, Lawrence R. Reed drew the Minotaur with a sword on the album's cover. [4] Araya's younger brother, Johnny Araya, who was thirteen or fourteen at the time, was a roadie who set up the back line and sound. [4] The band hardly made enough money to sustain themselves, only buying the "essentials" such as food, gas, and beer. Araya asserts, "We basically used whatever money we got to get from point A to point B. When we got back, Brian was like, 'So, where's the money?' And we were like, 'What money?' At that time, we didn't realize that you had to ask for money up front. I think he got a lot of money sent directly to him, and we were supposed to pick up the rest." [4]

The band performed in a hotel in Winnipeg, where the basement was the club. Araya comments, "We stayed there for like four or five days, I think. We saw Verbal Abuse play there. Then we played a place in Boston called the Lizard Lounge. In fact, a car had run into the front of the building, and it was all boarded up, but we still played there." [4] When one of the guitarists broke a string Araya would hand them the bass, Hanneman stating, "We'd argue about it, too—like, 'I wanna play bass for a while!'" [4]

Reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [2]
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal 7/10 [11]
Kerrang! unfavorable [12]
Metal Forces 9/10 [13]
Rock Hard 9/10 [14]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [15]
Sputnikmusic 4/5 [16]

Although the band did not have enough time to sell any records while touring, [4] the album became Metal Blade Records' highest selling release. [1] Five thousand copies was the label's average. Show No Mercy went on to sell between 15,500 and 20,000 copies in the United States; it also went on to sell more than 15,000 overseas, as Metal Blade had worldwide rights. [1] The success of the album led to Slagel wanting the band to release a new record and an extended play. [1]

Show No Mercy was met with polarized opinions when it was issued, but in some recent reviews it came to be considered a classic album. In 1984, Dave Dickson of Kerrang! crushed the album defining it "pure, unadulterated junk", [12] while Bernard Doe of Metal Forces called the record "one of the heaviest, fastest, most awesome albums of all time!" [13] The German magazine Rock Hard gave Show No Mercy a positive review, which remarked how Slayer were "actually the hardest and fastest" in comparison with their contemporaries Metallica and Exciter, and defined their music as "heavy metal punk." [14] AllMusic reviewer Jeremy Ulrey had mixed feelings towards the album, saying that even though the musicianship and production were "amateurish" compared to Slayer's later releases, the album remains "solid, if inessential, part of the Slayer legacy". Users voted 4/5 at AllMusic. [2] Sputnikmusic staff member Hernan M. Campbell described the album as "fast, heavy, and mean, inducing an inescapable atmosphere of utter atrocity." He noted that the "lo-fi" production quality gives the album a "classic" feeling. [16]

Canadian journalist Martin Popoff praised Show No Mercy for being as "seminal" as Metallica's Kill 'Em All "in defining state-of-the-art speed metal" and for inspiring new bands to "expand the limits of metal." However, he "found the record stiff and one dimensional", with "its style laid down in stifling arrangements." [11] Fenriz, drummer for Darkthrone, cited Show No Mercy as the inspiration for the band's "current style of fusing NWOBHM with black metal". [17] Terry Butler of Obituary and former member of Death defined the album as "the blueprint for the beginning of death metal" and said: "When I heard Show No Mercy I wanted to play that way....It was a whole new level of mayhem. I wanted to play that way". [18]

Track listing

Side one
No.TitleLyricsMusicLength
1."Evil Has No Boundaries"King3:09
2."The Antichrist"Hanneman
  • Hanneman
  • King
2:49
3."Die by the Sword"HannemanHanneman3:36
4."Fight Till Death"HannemanHanneman3:37
5."Metalstorm / Face the Slayer"King
  • Hanneman
  • King
4:53
Side two
No.TitleLyricsMusicLength
6."Black Magic"King
  • Hanneman
  • King
4:03
7."Tormentor"HannemanHanneman3:45
8."The Final Command"King
  • Hanneman
  • King
2:32
9."Crionics"
  • Hanneman
  • King
  • Hanneman
  • King
3:29
10."Show No Mercy"KingKing3:06

The 1987 re-issue also features songs from the Haunting the Chapel EP. [4]

Personnel

Slayer

Production

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