Slayer Albums – Ranked! (From Worst To Best)

Slayer were a prolific thrash metal band from LA County, California. The original lineup consisted of guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman (RIP 2013) vocalist/bassist Tom Araya and drummer Dave Lombardo. Paul Bostaph would later replace Lombardo for duties behind the kit, Exodus’ Gary Holt would carry the legacy of Hanneman after his death.

Covering almost four full decades across eleven studio albums, it’s impossible not to mention important heavy metal music without Slayer’s name passing your lips, with no need for any further introduction, let’s take a closer look at the band’s extensive history, ranked!

#11 – Repentless (2015)

Slayer’s final album as a band and one that gets a lot of negative attention for reasons both deserved and not. Repentless was an album written lyrically by Kerry King, one of the only times that he had sole songwriting credit on a record, as primarily it would be the double act of King and Hanneman, and it’s safe to say that the writing here is the weakest in their history.

Musically Repentless plays it very safe but there are some highlights that elevate the material higher than you would expect from the stigma stuck to the album. The title track and Pride and Prejudice are great examples of aggression and that classic ruthless nature of the band’s earlier spirit. However, there are a lot of filler tracks and songs in the list that do absolutely nothing but diminish the legacy violently, to just being plain boring and passe. See: Implode, Take Control or Piano Wire for instance.

Does that make Repentless lazy or by the numbers? Maybe.
Arguably this is a record that Slayer shouldn’t have even made according to many fans, It’s clear that listening to it that the omission of Hanneman’s input is sorely missed, may he rest in peace.

#10 – World Painted Blood (2009)

No sanctuary. World Painted Blood is a completely fine album with no real high points or obvious lows. The title track itself is a great time, but it’s a struggle to commit much more to memory from this 2009 effort. The musicianship is completely fine, vocals are good. It is business as usual, almost like the band are on autopilot, and that’s the reason this album ranks so low compared to some of their riskier efforts that we will get to later down the list.

#9 – Diabolus In Musica (1998)

Slayer go nu-metal and it was something that probably should never have happened but this record yielded some surprising diamonds amongst a lot of rough. For the most part, it doesn’t work. Though, Diabolus In Musica’s strong suit came in its oppressive atmosphere and the grinding and fierce nature of tracks such as Stain of Mind and In The Name of God.

The latter song especially has such a slick and sublime opening with a rioting, thick chugging guitar pulsating into a vile eruption of powerful snarls from frontman Tom Araya over that stunning infectious main riff. These kind of moments are peppered all throughout Diabolus In Musica, that seductive groove just rocks so fucking hard that it’s impossible to resist, hence why I can’t rank the record any lower.

#8 – Divine Intervention (1994)

What more can really be said about Divine Intervention apart from the fact that it’s Slayer’s sixth album? That may sound reductionist but hear me out. How the fuck do you follow up genre masterpieces from the late 80s such as: Hell Awaits, Reign In Blood and South of Heaven? It seems the answer with this record was simple, replace Lombardo behind the kit and try and speed up a little following Seasons In The Abyss infatuation with everything slow and heavy.

By no means a bad record, Divine Intervention just seems a little underwhelming when compared to the wealth of records that came before it and had large boots to fill. There is a lot to love here: The Killing Fields, 213 and Fictional Reality are incredible songs in and of themselves, but do they really match the heights of their predecessors alone? Not really. This album just didn’t do enough different to stand out in a positive or risky way.

#7 – God Hates Us All (2001)

Here’s where things get fucking controversial. Before I’m dragged out into the streets by raving fans and hogtied to the railway tracks, let me try to justify this entry for you. There’s a reason why songs like Payback and Disciple remained live staples for the band even when this record seemed to underperform critically and commercially, because they are powerful, aggressive and catchy as all hell tracks.

From the chanting chorus on the latter, to the formidable way that War Zone seems to entrance you into fighting an entire army bare handed (especially that opening riff) God Hates Us All remains to be Slayer’s most underrated album that they have ever produced. There is so much that is stellar about this one, it sounds grandiose and overpoweringly omnipresent with a modern touch that differentiates itself from Slayer’s early work.

#6 – Christ Illusion (2006)

With their tenth album, Slayer somehow managed to channel their unholy powers into creating a record that touched on elements of not only Seasons In The Abyss but the groovier parts of God Hates Us All too, whilst still harkening back to their roots all at once.

Jihad is a phenomenal that fits the description above in every respect. The slow acoustic intro leading into that thundering rhythm guitar main riff and mesmerising guitar solo. It sounds completely and utterly massive. Look no further than Skeleton Christ if you’re in any doubt that Slayer can’t make you fucking move on this record, it may sound simple musically, but it’s heavy as all sin and it is one of my personal go-tos when the band’s name is mentioned in conversation. Goes without saying that Araya shouting ‘Hail Satan’ is an absolute win too.

#5 – Seasons In The Abyss (1990)

Slayer started the new decade revitalized with this masterclass in pacing, progression and power oozing from every pore of this disgusting beast. As mentioned above, this was the album that the boys took a different approach on compared to their 80s efforts, slowing down and being more atmospheric and sinister in a way that paid off greatly.

Seasons In The Abyss is now thirty years old but stands the test of time beautifully for its simply flawless lineup of incredible songs. Choose literally anything featured on this record and you’re in for a winner. There are no low points, I have virtually nothing bad to say about Seasons and that’s because with outstanding tracks like: Dead Skin Mask, War Ensemble, Expendable Youth, Hallowed Point and Born of Fire, how could I?

That’s simply the caliber of the material that we’re dealing with here from this point on. Really, consider everything onwards as effectively completely interchangeable with one another. This is the Grade A stuff.

#4 – Reign In Blood (1986)

Widely considered by many to Slayer’s most brutal album, if not the most savage record ever at the time, what can I really add to the conservation about Reign In Blood that hasn’t already been said? It’s been dissected to death over the last three decades and for good reason, it’s one of if not the great thrash metal albums ever forged.

From the chilling album art to songs about Joseph Mengele (Angel of Death) and that unstoppable all-time classic Raining Blood, there’s frankly nothing new I can say, so what’s the point in trying? It’s Reign In Blood and it’s amazing, but you already knew that.

#3 – South of Heaven (1988)

South of Heaven was the fourth record that the band put out following a two year absence from Reign In Blood, and that time was used to strip back and refine their core sound into something darkly magical.

It might not be as immediately overt as the likes of what came before but the more primal yet controlled rage from Tom Araya and the steady, trance-like drumming from Lombardo are arguably a career best to this day. This record contains some of the most well written songs in the band’s history, included but not limited to: Behind The Crooked Cross, Ghosts of War and Cleanse The Soul.

Heaven feels like the culmination of their classic sound. It is not as violent as later entries, and it shares more in common with speed/heavy metal than the gut wrenching thrash it would later inspire, as it stands though with an album as well made as this, I can’t help but love every single second.

#2 – Show No Mercy (1983)

A bonafide classic for the ages to be sure. The original and many would say the best. A rare case where the origins of how this album came to be is nearly as interesting as the end result itself. Show No Mercy is an institution and it changed the face of not only thrash metal but shook the landscapes of the music world and pop culture for decades, even to this very moment in time.

Containing the almighty Die By The Sword, the spellbinding Black Magic and the insidious Evil Has No Boundaries, among others. I find myself often unabashedly praising this release almost every time the topic of metal music is brought up in any regard. Here was a record that single-handedly birthed so many genres and inspired so many generations of musicians across the world, it’s unbeatable.

#1 – Hell Awaits (1985)

Take everything that I’ve just said about Show No Mercy and amplify it by a million. Whilst Slayer’s debut is a landmark victory in music to be sure, their true prowess was unleashed masterfully in their sophomore record Hell Awaits.

Cast your mind back to the year 1985 and what were the hottest heavy metal records releasing at the time? Sure, there were strong efforts by the likes of Saxon, Exodus, Celtic Frost and Possessed, but there was nothing that matched the face melting speed or scorching brutality of Hell Awaits.

This was the album where Slayer shed their NWOBHM skin and struck out on their own with something incontestable, in every sense of the word an unadulterated monolith of sound that would not be caged or rivalled by mortal man. On a less hyperbolic note however, the track list is simply marvellous and nails everything you could ever possibly want in a heavy metal/thrash record from the surreptitious villainy of Necrophiliac, to the incinerating guitar solo of At Dawn They Sleep and beyond.

Slayer were and always will be an incredible band and a shining example of music as art. Sure, they had their missteps over the decades, but I would be remiss to deny them their rights as an irresistible force of nature. They will be missed, but they left one hell of a legacy!

Cannibal Corpse Albums – Ranked! (From Worst To Best)

Cannibal Corpse are an American death metal band formed in Buffalo, New York all the way back in 1988. For over three decades, and several lineup changes, they have been the fearsome gold standard in mainstream death metal music. With no more delay, here’s our definitive ranking list of all fourteen Cannibal Corpse albums, ranked from worst to best.

#14 – Bloodthirst (1999)

The difficult thing about ranking this list for me is that Cannibal Corpse are an incredibly steady and consistent band which makes their mid era particularly challenging to rank above or below any others from the early 2000s.

Bloodthirst is a good death metal album and features a few great songs amongst a pile of listenable ones. Condemned to Agony and Pounded Into Dust remain favourites in my rotation to this day, even if listening through the whole thing start to finish can be exhausting.


#13 – Kill (2006)

Kill marked Rob Barrett’s return to the band after his departure following the release of The Bleeding in 1996. His presence was strongly felt on an album that otherwise would have been nothing special in the field of death metal.

That said, Kill featured the standout single Death Walking Terror with a guitar tuning all the way to G# for the first time in a way that really benefitted their brutal sound.

Like a lot of Cannibal Corpse’s post-Barnes era, Kill is another solid effort into the band’s fierce discography.


#12 – Torture (2012)

Torture posed a challenge for the band having to follow up their smash hit record Evisceration Plague, and despite all odds, Torture was a fantastic death metal album with some real highlights on display.

This album features my personal favourite Cannibal Corpse song of all time, Encased In Concrete as well as the earth shattering powerhouse Scourge of Iron. For those reasons alone, Torture ranks higher on this list than some others. It may not be as good as what came before or after, but it’s certainly not a record to overlook if you’re a fan of the genre.


#11 – The Wretched Spawn (2004)

Unlike an album like Bloodthirst or others on the list so far, The Wretched Spawn is where I can confidently say that I can spin the album start to finish and have a consistently great experience without the need to skip through and play favourites.

With production that’s razor blade sharp and a groovy flow that never lets go, this album is pulverising throughout. Highlights include; They Deserve To Die, Frantic Disembowelment and Nothing Left To Mutilate.


#10 – Gallery of Suicide (1998)

The second album featuring Corpsegrinder on vocals and one of his stronger efforts in his career with the band. It’s an album that starts incredibly powerfully with the polemic opener I Will Kill You.

Gallery of Suicide marks a turning point where the records rose above the controversy, as a band they had effectively shaken off the stigma that had stuck to them with the messy departure of Chris Barnes and demonstrated that they could make punishing death metal without their founding father guiding the ship. It may not be their most exciting but it’s a fun bloody ride.


#9 – Gore Obsessed (2002)

This is where I feel the divisive nature of my choices are going to come to a head. Many would say that albums like Gore Obsessed or Gallery of Suicide have no business being ranked above Bloodthirst and to those people, I give you my answer.

When Death Replaces Life is one of the grooviest songs I have ever heard. Opening slow with a pulsing and haunting dissonance before raging into a pounding and relentless rhythm with chugging guitar and machine gun drums as George delivers his most devastating growls to date.

There are songs of a similar vein on Gore Obsessed that have that groovy death and roll feel that embody the likes of Carcass for a unique grinding experience.


#8 – Red Before Black (2017)

Cannibal Corpse’s most recent release to date and a powerful example of exactly why they’re one of if not the most well known and revered names in death metal.

Red Before Black has some outstanding moments that’s bolstered up by the band being at the top of their game thirty years down the line. Scavengers Consuming Death, Firestorm Vengeance, Code of the Slashers and Heads Shovelled Off are just a few reasons as to why this record has been spun so actively in my library over the last few years.


#7 – Vile (1996)

Somewhat of an outlier of an album as it being Rob Barrett’s last guitar effort with the band until Kill and simultaneously Corpsegrinder’s first on vocals. On paper, it shouldn’t have worked but the execution was unexpectedly flawless.

Vile was also the last time the band worked with Scott Burns producing, marking an end to a six year streak that began with their 1990 debut album that we will talk about later on this list.

All that aside, the record is crushing and unapologetically savage. George Fisher’s powerful mid-growl permeates some of the band’s most interesting and out there guitar riffs that tried to differentiate vividly from all what came before with Barnes. In terms of where to start with Vile, you really can’t go wrong with Devoured by Vermin and Absolute Hatred, two tracks that still slay when performed live to this day.


#6 – A Skeletal Domain (2014)

Following up on Evisceration Plague and building on the groundwork laid by Kill and Torture, A Skeletal Domain is a monumental landmark in American death metal that introduces a slight lean towards more a mainstream and catchy sound without shying away from the band’s more gruesome elements.

It is a difficult challenge to pick a favourite from this extremely strong lineup of fresh and fierce songs; High Velocity Impact Splatter, Kill or Become, Icepick Lobotomy, Sadistic Embodiment. There’s definitely a case here for one of Cannibal Corpse’s most sturdy sets.


#5 – Eaten Back To Life (1990)

In many ways Cannibal Corpse’s debut is a pioneering achievement in not only thrash/death metal but music overall. Clearly taking cues from the likes of Possessed’s 1985 debut Seven Churches and perhaps more prominently taking elements from Death’s 1987 record Scream Bloody Gore, the boys from Buffalo dialled everything up to 11 and shook the landscape of extreme music forever.

Chris Barnes’ disgusting growl was something deeper than what had been heard in the late 80s and the way the band played in E Flat on guitar, refusing to compromise, made Eaten Back To Life something leaner and meaner than its contemporaries. One of their best in their discography for sure.


#4 – Evisceration Plague (2009)

This album has a special place in my heart for being my introduction to the band alongside the live album Global Evisceration that dropped afterwards in 2011. As a result, there may be a degree of bias in my decision to rank this one so highly but I cannot deny the sheer power and brutality that pours out of every second of this modern death metal masterpiece.

This album is without question the one from Cannibal Corpse’s back catalogue that I have listened to the most over the years and the one that I have a great amount of respect for. Not only did Evisceration Plague wet my appetite for extreme metal in general but it also was what made me want to pick up a guitar endulge in some bloodshed of my own.

Hyperbole aside, the band’s 2009 album is incredible cover to cover and never lets up across its forty minute runtime. This is the album I introduce people to death metal to for a reason, one of the latest and greatest.


#3 – Butchered At Birth (1991)

Now this is what I call classic fucking death metal! Dirty and deranged right through the core, nothing to lose but everything to prove with a stellar follow up to their debut only one year later.

The band’s sophomore release is every bit more evil and refined then what came before on Eaten Back To Life. It was less thrash metal orientated and was more comfortable laying it’s own foundation than building on the blueprint of what came in the late 1980s.

When people think of death metal, chances are some of the first images that come into their minds are that of the album cover here alongside visualising images found in the lyrics for iconic tracks like; Meat Hook Sodomy, Vomit The Soul and Under The Rotted Flesh.

Butchered At Birth is a triumph in extreme music and has stood the test of time now for almost thirty years for a reason. It’s near impossible to beat it, as far as old school American death metal is concerned.


#2 – The Bleeding (1994)

Without a doubt, The Bleeding is one of the most vulgar and filthy records in old school death metal that is expertly complemented by technical buzzsaw guitars and Chris Barnes’ most revolting vocal delivery of his career thus far.

As Chris Barnes’ swansong and as this era and four year reign came to a close, it is astounding to see the culmination of so many creative and innovative ideas here that refused to play it safe.

Just one listen to the mammoth that is Staring Through The Eyes of the Dead or Fucked With a Knife will get you addicted in a way that you never felt could be possible with death metal of this calibre. It’s a tough call at the top of this list but there’s no debate that The Bleeding deserves its celebration and acclaim.


#1 – Tomb of the Mutilated (1992)

It’s always hard playing favourites but for me, there is simply nothing better done by the band than their 1992 Opus entitled Tomb of the Mutilated.

If Evisceration Plague was where I discovered the band and my developed my love and interest in death metal then Tomb was the moment that the genre became not only an obsession, but in many ways, a way of life.

How do you possibly top records like Eaten Back To Life and Butchered At Birth? Well for Cannibal Corpse, that answer seemed to be staring them in the face, you make an effort to make everything darker and dirtier than ever.

Tomb provided the band to this very day with a long list of their most well known songs for a reason, and that reason is the majority of what you will find on this album is the monolith of the death metal, an unequivocal gold standard that has yet to be beaten by the band.

I Cum Blood, Addicted To Vaginal Skin, Beyond the Cemetery and Hammer Smashed Face are only a few songs on this record that have shaken the world on its axis. I know it may be a generic choice, and perhaps a little cliché, but there is no denying the impact and the influence that Tomb of the Mutilated had and continues to have on not only death metal but on pop culture and music itself. Tomb is responsible for so much and without it, it’s very likely that very few of us would be where we are today.