Friday, May 3, 2013

Listening to Slayer all on a Saturday Morning

 Jeff Hanneman died yesterday. A founding member of Slayer I thought it only fitting to give this LP a blast on the old Sherwood this morning. This album holds a strong resonance for me as I'm sure it does for a lot of teens of the 80s. I was 14 when this album came out. It was released 6 days before my birthday. I remember hearing the double kick assault coming from my local Underground/Alternative Record Shop, Verandah Music and I went in transfixed. I was directed to the record in the New Arrival stack by the store guy. I was of course still a good Christian boy and I was well versed in the evils of Satanic Rock Music. I guess that was exactly why the record was so interesting to me. It was dark and ultimately forbidden. Even listening to it then and there felt like a sin. Like my ears were doing something wrong. Apart from all the devilish imagery on the front cover....


 I remember it was the back cover which spoke volumes to me.....

There is a great level of "playful" aggression in this image. Kerry King is the seriously angry type while Tom Araya can't for the life of himself take it seriously. Dave Lombardo is doing his best to look like an 80s metal pin up boy while Jeff, obscured by his mop of blonde hair, is happy to play along.

As a teen this image said so much to me. It was a promise of things to come. In 5 years i would be a young adult and this was the way I could be if I chose to.Cool as fuck. Also after having been warned off these angry satanic bands by my church, my parents and my peers it seemed to also say, "Its OK to be Angry. Look at how much fun playing angry can be. Our guitarist wants to murder those Stella Artois cans but our singer thinks its all so hilarious. No-ones being hurt, we're just goofing off but we're using the language of anger to do it" Or something like that.

This was all so incredibly new and insightful to me at the time. I also remember thinking it was definitely an artifact which would upset my parents no end. Satanic Imagery, angry hateful posturing, the consumption of alcohol. I mean for goodness sake, to add insult to injury even one of the tracks was called Jesus Saves. Surely them and all who listen to them were going to hell!!(or perhaps it should be stated "South of Heaven") I bought this album 25 years later from eBay. A classic of the genre I thought it definitely belonged in my collection. And it does. RIP Jeff I'll give this one a good spin for you today.

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