Graded on a Curve:
Slayer,
Show No Mercy

“Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off—then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.” Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Me, I listen to Slayer. And I don’t even much like Slayer. But they sure as hell beat pausing before coffin warehouses, not that I would know where to find a coffin warehouse even if I wanted to. And that goes double for knocking people’s hats off on the street–a bonehead move like that could get you murdered (or worse!) in this day and age, Besides, I wouldn’t like it if somebody knocked my hat off–I might even break down and cry. And as for going a’whaling you can forget about it–I flunked harpoon in high school and those sperm whales have been known to swallow people whole the way drunks swallow goldfish. I don’t know if that’s worse than being chewed up first, and guess what? I don’t want to find out!

So Slayer it is, and not because I’m into all the cartoon satanism either, although I do find it amusing–I’ll betcha the guys in Slayer wouldn’t know Old Scratch from a two-dollar scratch-off card. And is there really anybody out there who takes pentagrams seriously? They’re like peace symbols for knuckleheads with skateboards.

No, I simply like the way Slayer’s thrash metal dissipate the hypos but fast–if this music (sounds like they force feed their songs amphetamines) doesn’t blow all those damp and drizzly November clouds out of your soul I don’t know what will.

Boy, does Tom Araya sound evil! Like he made a pact with the devil, or worse, David Geffen! And Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King are a couple of real state-of-the-art shredding machines, faster even than the Formax FD 8906B Industrial Conveyor Shredder and Baler, which weighs in a 3,495 pounds, has a processing speed of up 35 fpm and will set you back exactly $53,995.50! Although you still might want to opt for the Formax, because unlike Slayer it won’t guzzle all your booze and fuck your sister!

I particularly dig Slayer’s 1983 debut Show No Mercy because it sounds like it was recorded in the pits of Hell (or one of the guys’ moms’ basements) and paid for with Green Stamps, then got accidentally dropped in the La Brea tarpits or something. It kinda reminds me of those wonderful early SST recordings with Spot behind the controls, where everything goes by in a wonderful blur and you can’t tell if you’re listening to a phonograph record or the black box of a particularly grisly airplane disaster. Although with Slayer, what’s the difference?

The titles aren’t as “extreme” as they would become later, and the playing is kinda at a larval stage, it’s like these guys were all Ozzy fans who one night fell into a collective dream after drinking too much Haffenreffer Private Stock (according to my old pig farmer pal Billy, it has mescaline in it) about seeing early Bad Brains play live and woke up screaming “We gotta play real fast! And quit it with the Ritchie Blackmore solos!” And proceeded to practice until they sounded like a sentient weed-whacker out of a Stephen King short story that got made into a movie starring Mackenzie Phillips and Corey Feldman!

As for the music it’s your standard galloping steed of the apocalypse with flames shooting out both its nostrils, fronted by Araya who comes across like the kind of tough guy lout who would get in your face for looking at his squeeze at parties, except at the very end of “Tormentor” he lets loose with this really girly “Tormeeeeeeentor!” that sounds like somebody rammed a cattle prod up his butt. And just to prove he has “range,” on “Die by the Sword” he sounds like an ordinary guy the band dragged off the streets of North Hollywood and ordered to sing at gunpoint!

A couple of the songs hit at weird angles; “Tormentor” could almost be a southern rock tune, while “Die by the Sword” is all inexorable Satan Train chug-a-lug. As for “Black Magic” I simply refuse to forgive its title, but I’m impressed at how it heads at about a thousand miles per hour straight for your kid’s moral fiber. And then there’s “Show No Mercy,” which crosses Kiss with the Charlie Daniels Band but isn’t nearly as satanic as the latter’s “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” Hell, dumb super patriot asshole Charlie actually MET the Evil One, which is more than you can say for anybody in this outfit.

Look, if you like ‘em fast and you like ‘em heavy and you’re looking for an album cover that’’ll put the fear of God into your mom, you can hardly go wrong with this particular example of exemplary youth marketing, which is top-notch from vinyl to album cover. And speaking of the album cover, be sure to check out Super 7’s brand spanking new Show No Mercy Minotaur action figure! He’s sure to kick the asses of your Kiss action figures, easy fucking peasy!

GRADED ON A CURVE:
B

This entry was posted in The TVD Storefront. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text
  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text