When I was a young punk rocker there was one band that my metal and punk friends would all agree was the most brutal band in existence. Sure there were other metal bands that were popular at that time (we’re not talking about NWOBHM here, that’s for another blog) - Anthrax, Metallica, Megadeth, etc., but none matched the intensity of Slayer (Metallica came pretty close on the first three albums). Their lyrical content falls squarely in heavy metal territory but is so much darker than other bands of the time with song subjects ranging from Satan, war, serial killers, church hypocrisy, and other dark subject matter. Tom Araya’s chanting/screaming style give the songs a hopeless sense of rage and tops out the incredible heavy thrash & doom that the music creates. Drummer Dave Lombardo is one of the best metal drummers alive; his fills are legendary and he uses the double bass for blast beats that are pure savagery. The twin guitar attack of Kerry King & Jeff Hanneman have been influenced by Judas Priest’s KK Downing and Glenn Tipton but they take it so much further. On top of the music being so crushing, the album art from the three albums this pack is culled from create a trilogy of evil metal. All three were paintings done by the same artist (Larry Carroll) and each one fit perfectly with that album's subject matter. I spent a great deal of time as a teenager blasting Slayer and staring at these, trying to decipher any hidden meanings or connections to the songs. I also had Reign In Blood painted on the back of my jean jacket all through high school, wonder where that got to?
Slayer are the band that started me down the left hand path of metal leading me to numerous amazing bands like Mercyful Fate, Celtic Frost, Venom, Entombed, and many other that I still listen to today. I’ve seen Slayer at least ten times and they’ve never delivered a bad performance. If you're into metal I urge you to check out Slayer live at least once - you won’t be disappointed. Slayer's fans are rabid and over the course of time have proven themselves to be over the top in their devotion to the gods of thrash both at performances and in daily life.
The pack we’re releasing today features three of Slayer's best from three of their most important albums. “Raining Blood” leads off with one of the most memorable Slayer riffs ever and is a thrash standard that has influenced scores of bands. “South of Heaven” is a mid-tempo metal song but no less brutal. In fact, the album South Of Heaven is my favorite Slayer album. Most fans will tell you that Reign In Blood is the iconic Slayer album, but I really love how they weren’t afraid to slow things down a bit and get doomy on South of Heaven. Metal can be so much heavier when it’s able to find a groove and hammer you into oblivion. This album also has a great Judas Priest cover ("Dissident Aggressor"). The pack is rounded out by “Seasons In The Abyss” from the album of the same name and is a killer song that almost sees singer Tom Araya holding a melody.
So there you have it, Slayer are still one of my all time favorite bands and probably always will be. I’ve wanted a Slayer DLC Pack in Rock Band since we started making the game. Not for the faint of heart, this pack is sure to be a work out but I’m sure the hessians among you out there are up to the task. See you online!
Jason Kendall has been in numerous bands of the punk rock, rockabilly, and metal variety (Amazing Royal Crowns, Megasus) and has been working on Harmonix games since 2003. He is currently a Producer on the Music Team.