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Slayer built a rabid following with faster-than-light thrash metal, eerie, disturbing lyrics, and bassist/singer Tom Araya's screamed vocals. 1986's REIGN IN BLOOD, a blinding metal classic that clocked in at below a half hour in length and was produced by Rick Rubin, put the band on the metal map. Although Slayer was a bunch of longhairs, it wasn't uncommon to see hardcore skinheads slamming away at the band's shows. But 1988's SOUTH OF HEAVEN alienated many of Slayer's punk fans, as the group slowed their speed metal to a Black Sabbath-like crawl.
1990's SEASONS IN THE ABYSS follows its predecessor's formula. The album was embraced by metal-heads everywhere, eventually earning Slayer its first gold-certified record. The furious opening "War Ensemble" is a throwback to Slayer's earlier speed metal direction, while the album-closing title track is a murky, swarming chunk of metal. Other standouts include the chilling "Dead Skin Mask," which dealt lyrically with notorious killer Ed Gein, "Blood Red," "Expendable Youth," "Hallowed Point," and "Skeletons of Society." For fans of extreme-metal, it doesn't get any better than Slayer's SEASONS IN THE ABYSS.