10 of the Best Slayer Songs Revealed

by Patria
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Slayer, one of the “Big Four” of thrash metal, has left an indelible mark on the genre with their aggressive style, blistering speed, and dark, provocative lyrics. Over nearly four decades, the band has released numerous iconic tracks that have become anthems for metalheads around the world. In this article, we’ll delve into ten of Slayer’s best songs, exploring their impact, musicality, and why they stand out in the band’s extensive discography.

10 of the Best Slayer Songs

1. Angel of Death

“Angel of Death” is arguably Slayer’s most infamous song, opening their 1986 masterpiece Reign in Blood. Written by guitarist Jeff Hanneman, the song’s lyrics describe the atrocities committed by Josef Mengele, a Nazi physician at Auschwitz. The track’s ferocity is matched by its musical intensity, with lightning-fast riffs, breakneck drumming by Dave Lombardo, and Tom Araya’s relentless vocals. The controversy surrounding its subject matter only fueled its legendary status, making it a quintessential Slayer song.

2. Raining Blood

Closing the same album, “Raining Blood” is another cornerstone of Slayer’s legacy. Its iconic opening riff and thunderous drumming build into an explosive climax, epitomizing the band’s ability to create an atmosphere of pure chaos. The song’s dark, apocalyptic themes and sheer intensity have made it a staple in their live shows and a favorite among fans.

3. South of Heaven

The title track from Slayer’s 1988 album, “South of Heaven,” showcases a slower, more deliberate pace compared to their earlier work. This song highlights the band’s versatility, with a haunting melody and a menacing atmosphere that is both chilling and compelling. The lyrics, which discuss the moral decay and impending doom of humanity, add to the song’s dark allure.

4. Seasons in the Abyss

“Seasons in the Abyss” is the title track from Slayer’s 1990 album and combines the raw aggression of their earlier work with a more refined, melodic approach. The song’s eerie intro and powerful, driving riffs make it one of Slayer’s most well-rounded tracks. Lyrically, it explores themes of war and chaos, reflecting the band’s consistent interest in darker subject matter.

5. Dead Skin Mask

Also from the Seasons in the Abyss album, “Dead Skin Mask” delves into the mind of infamous serial killer Ed Gein. The song’s unsettling narrative is complemented by its haunting musical composition, featuring one of the band’s most memorable riffs. The creepy spoken word section towards the end enhances its eerie atmosphere, making it a standout track in Slayer’s catalog.

6. War Ensemble

“War Ensemble” is a fierce opener for the Seasons in the Abyss album, instantly grabbing listeners with its rapid-fire riffing and relentless energy. The song’s anti-war lyrics are delivered with such intensity that it has become an anthem for both fans of thrash metal and those who appreciate politically charged music. It’s a perfect example of Slayer’s ability to blend speed and aggression with thought-provoking themes.

7. Hell Awaits

The title track from Slayer’s 1985 album, “Hell Awaits,” is a sprawling, epic piece that showcases the band’s early experimentation with complex song structures and darker lyrical themes. The song’s intro, with its reversed vocals chanting “join us,” sets a sinister tone that is maintained throughout its seven-minute runtime. The intricate guitar work and relentless drumming make it a highlight of Slayer’s early years.

8. Disciple

“Disciple” is one of the standout tracks from Slayer’s 2001 album, God Hates Us All. The song’s blistering speed and aggressive riffing are complemented by Tom Araya’s vehement vocals, which express a nihilistic view of religion and humanity. The repeated refrain “God hates us all” has become one of the band’s most memorable lines, capturing the raw emotion and intensity that defines Slayer’s music.

9. Chemical Warfare

“Chemical Warfare” is a track from Slayer’s 1984 EP Haunting the Chapel. The song’s rapid tempo and fierce guitar work exemplify the band’s early thrash metal style. Its lyrics, which depict the horrors of chemical warfare, are delivered with a sense of urgency and aggression that make it a fan favorite and a staple in the band’s live performances.

10. Black Magic

From their debut album Show No Mercy, “Black Magic” is a prime example of Slayer’s early sound. The song’s aggressive riffs and dark, occult-themed lyrics laid the groundwork for the band’s future direction. It’s a raw, powerful track that captures the essence of Slayer’s early days and remains a classic in their extensive catalog.

Expanding on Slayer’s Impact

Slayer’s music has been influential beyond just the thrash metal genre. Their unrelenting approach to speed and heaviness set new standards for what metal could be, inspiring countless bands across various subgenres. The band’s lyrical themes, often exploring topics like war, death, and the occult, have also pushed boundaries and sparked discussions about censorship and artistic freedom.

Slayer’s Legacy

Slayer’s legacy is cemented not only by their music but by their live performances, which have been legendary for their intensity and raw power. Despite the band’s official retirement in 2019, their influence continues to be felt, and their music remains as vital and impactful as ever. The songs listed here are a testament to the band’s enduring power and their ability to resonate with fans around the world.

See Also: 10 Greatest Heavy Metal Bands: Icons of the Genre


Slayer’s influence on the world of metal is undeniable. Their ability to push the boundaries of speed, aggression, and lyrical content has earned them a place among the genre’s most respected and beloved bands. The ten songs highlighted here represent just a fraction of their incredible body of work, each one contributing to the legacy of one of thrash metal’s greatest bands. Whether you’re a longtime fan or a newcomer to their music, these tracks offer a glimpse into the ferocious talent and relentless energy that define Slayer.

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