Across four decades, Slayer have blazed a trail of unholy thrash metal the likes of which the world will never see again. That the band have become the cultural institution they are with little to no help from mainstream radio or television is surprising; that they have done so with such furious songs about pitch-black satanism, the atrocities of war, and sex murder is downright astounding. And yet, today, Slayer are still a fixture in modern music.
For those who've never carved the band's name in their arms, Slayer first emerged in the early '80s as a Venom-worshipping party-thrash act whose 1983 debut was a rollicking celebration of good-timey devil-worship. But by 1985's Hell Awaits, they had embraced a starker sound, and in the mid-to-late '80s crafted three landmark albums with famed producer Rick Rubin: 1986's Reign In Blood, 1988's South Of Heaven, and 1990's Seasons In The Abyss. Around that time, the band lost founding drummer Dave Lombardo, believed by many to be the best drummer in extreme music.
Slayer experimented with new sounds throughout the '90s while turning their live show into one of metal's most reliably awesome experiences. Then, on September 11, 2001, they released God Hates Us All, an album that revitalized their career and took them in a new, more hardcore-influenced direction. This eventually led to them winning two GRAMMYs in 2008 and 2009. In 2013, founding member of prolific songwriter Jeff Hanneman died from cirrhosis of the liver; after a few rotating replacements, Exodus guitarist Gary Holt joined the band, leading to the release of 2015's Repentless. But, on November 30, 2019, Slayer played their final show and went into retirement.
Across their long and storied career, the band have written countless incredible songs. But at the end of the day, there are a handful of Slayer tracks that every fan really needs to know. So, we decided to put together a list of the ultimate Slayer songs that every metal fan should have branded in their memories. Enjoy, and hail Satan.