Great Metal Albums of 1985: Slayer- Hell Awaits

As 1985 progressed, I found myself moving away from mainstream music and delving into heavy metal bands who weren’t likely to be played on the radio. It was here where I cut my teeth on bands such as Venom and Slayer. In the case of the latter, it was their second album, “Hell Awaits” which gave me an eye opening experience into more hardcore and thrash metal. Once my eyes were opened, I have never looked back.

The first thing I remember when a friend first spun “Hell Awaits” for me was that it took a while for the album to get started it. The opening title track has a rather long intro, I mean it takes about three minutes before the song truly gets going and on my first listen, I thought it was going to be one of those instrumental intros many albums have before the rest of the album kicks in. However, that is the trick because all of a sudden, Slayer take the tempo way up and the shattering vocals of Tom Araya come through. The title track sets the tone for the rest of the album.

One thing I have found difficult over the years is to pick a favourite track. Every time I think I might have found one, some aspect from another track washes it out. All seven tracks have the in your face vocals from Tom while at the same time, he and Dave Lombardo combine to make a crunching rhythm section further aided by whichever guitarist is not playing the solo at the time. Each track features the guitar solo trade off of Hanneman and King although their best effort is probably on the track, “At Dawn They Sleep.” Saying that, next time I listen to this album, I’ll find that one of the other tracks might have them doing it better. “Hell Awaits” is that kind of album. Seven songs that concuss your brain into jelly but at the same time, feature quality musicianship. If I had to pick a favourite track, it would have to be “Necrophiliac.” Not because of any differential in the music but simply it was one that the religious right in America loved to attack and got all hot and bothered about.  One thing I’ve wondered about was, is “Hardening of the Arteries” a song telling people not to eat too much pork?”

Track Listing:

  1. Hell Awaits
  2. Kill Again
  3. At Dawn They Sleep
  4. Praise of Death
  5. Necrophiliac
  6. Crypts of Eternity
  7. Hardening of the Arteries


Tom Araya- lead vocals, bass

Kerry King- guitar

Jeff Hanneman- guitar

Dave Lombardo- drums

It’s common knowledge that Slayer are in the midst of their farewell tour. This coming Monday, it will be my turn to see them as they are coming to Cardiff. I’m going with Teal, my two actual sons and my younger son’s fiance. It’s going to be a great family affair and listening to “Hell Awaits” has definitely got me psyched for it.

Next post: Report from Slayer, Anthrax, Lamb of God and Testament in Cardiff

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24 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1985: Slayer- Hell Awaits”

  1. Oh lordy I grew up in conservative south Africa and slayer were one of the bands they were convinced were sent straight from satan himself lol. Some of the kids would scrawl their name on their school bags with that trademark lightning S…way cool…aah good times indeed

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I’m seeing em on this tour too 🙂

    Third time.

    Kill Again is my favourite off this.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Awesome choice! Dave Lombardo is a great drummer!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Great review. I love their later stuff but this was too shrill for me.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. What a record. This was the first Slayer I ever heard and I wondered if it even qualified as music. Pure Evil and fascinating but was it music? It surely was. What a game changer. Still stops me in my tracks now. Lovely stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. […] Source: Great Metal Albums of 1985: Slayer- Hell Awaits | 80smetalman’s Blog […]

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I prefer their more melodic stuff. I have only heard this once and I thought my face was going to melt and demons would come out from the floor boards.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I got this and it is awesome! Crank it!

    Liked by 1 person

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