VIDEO: Slayer’s “Repentless”

The power of Slaytanic Wehrmacht is back, which means it’s Slayer time. The band have returned with Repentless and since they’re not a part of a major label system, you may be seeing some of the most gruesome music videos you’ve ever seen. If you love prison television shows or movies, you are going to find this a violent treat. Repentless can be ordered below via

FREE MP3 DL: Slayer’s “Cast The First Stone”

Slayer will be releasing a new album very soon, the first after the passing of guitarist Jeff Hanneman. The album will be called Repentless and as to be expected, Slayer continue to be as relentless as they have been for over 30 years. The song is also here as it is a new installiment in the Adult Swim Single series. Grab it and hear what Slayer is doing in 2015.

(Repentless will be out on September 11th, which you can pre-order by heading to Amazon.)

BOOK REVIEW: Scott Ian’s “I’m The Man: The Story Of That Guy From Anthrax”

 photo ScottIan_cover_zps99038eb0.jpg One of my favorite guitarists since high school now has an autobiography to call his own, and if he has been someone who had felt like he could’ve been your buddy at high school (or the cool guy at the record store who would always know not about the cool stuff, but the “next” stuff), you will definitely enjoy reading I’m The Man: The Story Of That Guy From Anthrax (Da Capo). If you became familiar with Ian in the 1980’s through Anthrax or maybe with the Stormtroopers Of Death, you’ll know that Ian is a fan of New York City for life, and he talks about his upbringing in Queens. He talks about his childhood, his relationship with his parents, his interests as a kid and what lead to some of his first musical influences. One thing lead to another and he knew he was hooked, but he didn’t realize how hooked he would become to the point where it would become a major part of his life, even though that’s what he wanted. Making music discoveries came a number of ways, with one of the biggest being that of his Uncle Mitch. If there is a moment where the seeds were planted, Ian describes it as being introduced to Black Sabbath’s first album in his uncle’s collection. On this album that he described as acid rock (a term he had not heard of before), he looked at the cover, heard the music, and knew he had to have more. Along with an uncle who appreciated comic books, that also started his fascination with superheroes, which would develop not only into Ian’s own interests in comic book collecting, but also songwriting.

The book continues about getting involved in sports a bit, dealing with friends at school and also discovering the wonder of girls. He touches on problems his parents had but knowing that his music could allow him to get his mind off of the domestic issues and carry him to a new places. In time he’d have his own guitar, an acoustic one at that, before having his own electric, and it was as if you could visualize the transformation from Scott Rosenfeld, Queens rocking kid to Scott Ian, rock’n’roll guitarist. These things lead to him going to clubs, finding new music and bands at record stores, and getting involved with hardcore and punk rock during a time when headbangers and punks would never mix together, especially in New York. These gatherings would eventually head to him gathering his bands together to form a band and in time would help form Anthrax. Even though we know Anthrax as being one of the sources of thrash and speed metal, Ian talks about it as an eventual development, not just through hard rock, heavy metal, and NWOBHM influences but whatever he had felt like bringing into his playing style. The sound was rough yet abrasive and with a level of confidence that didn’t involve him in saying no to anything or anyone, he went out to get his music throughout the city, not being aware that his music would travel much further.

Interesting moments in this include meeting up with the members of Metallica for the first time, getting to know bassist Cliff Burton and becoming a deep friend with Kirk Hammett; meeting up with Johnny Zazula; flying to Europe for the first time to do shows; and meeting with some of his musical heroes during the 1980’s, which included everyone from Lemmy of Motorhead to the guys in Iron Maiden. Outside of the personal friendships, Ian reveals the inside information about the recording industry, how things began as a band releasing their first record on an independent label to being a group-in-demand by a major label to getting advances that were beyond what they were expecting. The thrill was exciting and when Ian brought in his love of rap music into Anthrax’s world for a few minutes, that only helped open the world for them a bit more.

While the 1980’s were very much a peak for the band, the 1990’s began as a world of fantastic adventures for the group but in time, Ian found that not everything turns to gold and that if one thing can get worse, it might lead to what feels like an endless thing of other bad things to happen. He touches on how Anthrax were signed with the same label as Metallica (Elektra Records) with a new singer, had faith with the label only to realize his decisions were disapproved by the label heads, only to lose faith when the label’s decisions lead to less-than-impressive results in terms of sales. One thing leads to another, and it becomes a blame game, trying to maintain the integrity of yourself and the band while trying to let the label know you are the band worthy of the contract. Then for the label to let you know they’re letting you go. While Ian didn’t come from a wealthy background, he admits he had never been rich when Anthrax were at their highest point but to hear him talk about how he was literally scrounging to make ends meet is devastating, especially when I had assumed they were getting attention and selling fairly well. They were selling decently but to be caught within the period when the almighty grunge and alternative music was the biggest thing around, anything metal-related wasn’t doing good for everyone within the community, unless you were Metallica and Pantera. Dealing with the personalities within Anthrax are brought up a number of times, and as someone who was the face of the band and the main lyricists of most of their songs, he was putting his life on the line every day, only to find things around him were falling apart.

There is very much a positive side to I’m The Man, for despite the downside to being part of a rock band and dealing with the business of the industry, he talks about some of the parties and celebrating he did with different bands, finding sexual lust with ladies while trying to balance it with wive #1 or wive #2, and discovering that doing certain drugs is not good for him. There was a time when Anthrax always came off as a very clean band, not exactly Straight Edge or anything like that but unlike Metallica who were the Alcoholica boys, Anthrax seemed to be like their younger fans: comic book readers, movie buffs and nerds, and headbangers who may have done stupid shit at high school. It seems Ian’s primary vice was drinking beer, and it was never heavy. However, the person that changed him as a drinker was Pantera’s Dimebag Darrell, and that chapter in a book is worth reading from paragraph to paragraph. In time, he met up with the woman who would become the love of his life, which also happened to coincide with Anthrax’s new level of success.

Throughout I’m The Man, Ian talks about changing perspective not only of his music and career, but his own life, changing priorities and understanding that age and maturity can lead to good and better things. His work regimen was always strong, but it’s balancing it with everything else around him is also what keeps him going, even when there were low points along the way. You might read the book thinking it will be nothing but inside stuff about the band and the recording industry, and it does touch on all of this quite well. It also has Ian looking at the world from a personal perspective, to show how he loves his music but is also someone with a mind and a sense of humor. He isn’t afraid to tell everyone he is still a man-in-the-works, someone whom he will continue to work on throughout his life, and now will pass on his experiences in his life to his son.

As the lyric said, “now we’re Anthrax and we take no shit/and we don’t care for writing hits” and in I’m The Man, we learn how Ian didn’t take shit from anyone, be it his life or his career. It’s a wonderful book that has its share of wonderful peaks and depressing valleys, but it does lead to something positive and eventual good morals to the stories shared. To the man who made me want to find NOT shorts and actually lead me to shaving a rectangle in my stomach so I could have a half-assed version of the NOT shaving on his chest, thank you for your music and efforts behind Anthrax and S.O.D., your efforts will always be honored.


DUST IT OFF: Slayer’s “Reign In Blood” 25 years later

Junior year in high school, 1986. My childhood dream of becoming a radio disc jockey came true when I found out that there was a vocational skills center for all high schools in the region. I had to do it, this is what I wanted to become, and I joined. It was a radio/TV production course, and while I paid more attention to the radio side of things, the TV production portion would become essential for working in news eight years later. The radio station’s music format was hard rock and heavy metal. Perfect, I grew up listening to hard rock and metal and I still listened to metal so it was not an issue. However, my level of metal up until that point was the mainstream stuff, which meant Black Sabbath, Dio, Def Leppard, and whatever could be read in Hit Parader and Circus. I was aware of small scenes involving something new: thrash metal and speed metal. These styles of music was the “indie rock” of heavy metal in the mid-1980’s, Metallica had yet to break big but their buzz was growing by the time I joined the radio/TV class (their third album, Master Of Puppets, had come out in March of 1986).

When I became a radio DJ, a lot of my classmates were into the heavier stuff. Some of them were into punk and hardcore, styles of music I was aware of but never listened to. In my high school, only the exchange students were aware of anything goth or new wave, but “that” was “meant” for schools in other cities. Nonetheless, kids in those “other” schools were open to listening to it, most likely passed on by older relatives. As a teenager who was open to listening to anything and everything, and had done so for years, I felt like an introvert at my high school. When I joined radio/TV class, it was more than technical knowledge, it would become music. In that time, I’d eventually discover Metallica, would become a huge fan of Anthrax, and Megadeth‘s first album was awesome. MTV had Headbanger’s Ball, the must-see show for all metal fans. We were also in the era of the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), a parents organization that were able to make record labels place warning labels on music they felt was offensive. If it was sexual, violent, or explicit, they wanted a sticker. Before 1985, if you saw a voluntary label or warning, it was generally on comedy records. But if it had an illustration of a demon-like figure with horns, that would mean it was promoting Satanism, and thus needed a sticker. As with any discussion of Metallica, Anthrax, and Megadeth, all roads eventually lead to Slayer.

When I joined the radio station, Slayer was a favorite amongst my classmates. Show No Mercy, Hell Awaits, and Live Undead would be played and talked about religiously. The music was fast, furious, and it sounded sinister. But did it sound evil? I think the perception was that it sounded that way, but on purpose. The music was not telling its listeners about cutting off the heads of goats and sacrificing babies, most of the time they were talking about social and political ills. There’s a generation of people who will still chant the words !SU NIOJ !SU NIOJ !SU NIOJ !SU NIOJ and those within listening range will answer by saying WELCOME BACK. But the release of Reign In Blood blew up everything, not only for the group but thrash and speed metal.

October 7, 1986. I know for a fact I didn’t buy this album on opening day, but I did buy it. The band had been signed to the California indie label Metal Blade, where they released two albums and a live EP before being picked up by Rick Rubin and Def Jam. Metallica had been signed to Elektra, Anthrax would gain distribution via Island Records (then associated with Atlantic/WEA), and Megadeth were a month away before releasing their major label debut for Capitol. Hard rock/heavy metal was a hot music, but majors were picking up on “the new, harder shit” and just like hip-hop, other labels were still clueless as to its appeal but signed bands because there was an audience. Fortunately they were able to take risks by signing them, and what appealed to fans was that the music didn’t sound glamorous, and neither did the bands. Look at the back cover of Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All. They look like a group of friends ready to skip class, smoke cigarettes at the church across the street, and get high while listening to Deep Purple. That perceived ugliness was something the “ugly youth” loved. For a lot of listeners, hearing the fast and aggressive music would often become the gateway towards punk and hardcore, something that would be called “crossover”. A few punk and hardcore kids would end up checking out some of these brutal metal bands because it didn’t look or sound like Motley Crue and Def Leppard. Slayer just seemed different, but then again you also had an album cover with a bunch of evil beings on the cover. If you had parents who were religious or spiritual, this might get you grounded. At least in my case, music was music and listening to metal was not an issue. I didn’t smoke or drink, nor did listening to thrash and speed metal cross me over to “the other side”, this was just something that was loud and raw, and I loved it.

“Angel Of Death” was a song about the Nazi atrocities of World War II, it didn’t celebrate it but rather focused on its brutality and pain. That loud scream from vocalist/bassist Tom Araya became a rally cry, and those riffs (the “mosh part”) from Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman would turn into meditative drones (the repetition of which would be perfect for Rubin when he sampled them for Public Enemy in the song “She Watch Channel Zero”). As the album goes on, that heaviness never seemed to end. There were moments of progressiveness, all of which would be explored by the band in future albums, but this seemed like a punk effort at times, just going into the song and coming out soon after. Guitar solos were wicked and fast, Araya’s bass came off like drills, and the sick ass drums of the almighty Dave Lombardo made all drummers stop and go “I need to play as fast and good as him.”

Fans loved the album because it lasted as fast as the songs themselves, and just mentioning song titles will bring memories to those who embraced each track: “Necrophobic”, “Jesus Saves”, “Altar Of Sacrifice”, “Criminally Insane”, “Post-Mortem”.

The greatest high on the album comes when “Post-Mortem” is played on Side 2, especially when the song breaks down for a moment before “filling up” before the last drive home. Araya sings the last verses at a rapid pace, including the lines “The waves of blood are rushing near, pounding at the walls of lies/turning off my sanity, reaching back into my mind/non-rising body from the grave showing new reality/what I am, what I want, I’m only after death”. About 10 seconds later, King and Hanneman do one last vamp and then you hear the thunder. Upon first listen, one has no idea what’s about to happen, and then you hear guitar feedback and distortion, along with a tribal drum pattern, going through the echo chamber. You then hear the sound of heavy pouring rain and you think “oh oh”. The song is called “Raining Blood”, and it’s the album closer. It already sound epic, but at that point you have no idea how big it will be. Then the thunder claps, the cymbals come in, and a guitar melody comes in. You’re sitting down, looking at the cover, flipping it to the back cover seeing them smile and grin with a broken beer can. The riff feels awesome, you have that shiteating grin, the drums pound, you want to turn your stereo up loud, but it’s already loud as it can get. Then comes the last thunder clap until the end, and then SATAN HAS ARRIVED!!! The music gets locked into that fast groove, and you feel like making your evil horn hand gesture annd rocking out, and you do. You don’t care that your neck becomes sore, this moment means something to you. You can’t believe how great this sounds, and then out of nowhere it leads to the “JAGGADA-JAGGADA-JAGGADA-JAGGADA-JAGGADA-JAGGADA-JAGGADA-JAGGADA” and they play faster. Holy shit. Araya finally sings:

Trapped in purgatory
A lifeless object, alive
Awaiting reprisal
Death will be their acquisition

The sky is turning red
Return to power draws near
Fall into me, the sky’s crimson tears
Abolish the rules made of stone

Pierced from below, souls of my treacherous past
Betrayed by many, now ornaments dripping above

Awaiting the hour of reprisal
Your time slips away

It is at this point where the band finally break down a bit into another groove, at half the speed but still as intense. You don’t know where this song is going, but you look at the needle on the record and you see there isn’t much time left until it reaches the label. The riffs keep on going, and all of a sudden one last verse:

Raining blood
From a lacerated sky
Bleeding its horror
Creating my structure
Now I shall reign in blood!

You then feel like Slayer is speaking not only to you, but about you. You feel the horror and disgust of your own young life, wanting better, and you want to tear up your room. Then all of a sudden, you hear the band drone, and then TSSS-TSSS-TSSSTSSSTSSSTSSSS. There’s complete mayhem coming out of the speakers, the riffs keep on getting faster, Araya and Lombardo have no problem in keeping up, you hear King and Hanneman fucking up the tremelo and it feels like the guitars are about to explode in their hands. If there is such a thing as a hell, it truly awaits and we all want to go there to party, for hell is the place where great music like this comes from, and you want to celebrate that in unity. You now want to get the closest piece of glass and start slashing your wrist or abdomen to spell out SLAYER or SLATANIC WEHRMACHT, and at the moment you feel you’re about the mentally ejaculate, the thunder rips one last time, the raining blood falls, and you realize you have just experienced the biggest heavy metal orgasm ever.

25 years later, the oddity of Reign In Blood being on Def Jam, the label that gave us LL Cool J and Public Ememy, seems perfect. Rick Rubin knew what he was doing, and taking a complete left turn for what he would become known for was what he needed to solidify a career that continues to this day. I was able to witness Slayer when they had taken part in the 1991 Clash Of The Titans tour, where I was up front, feeling the pressure of the crowd and the heat of everyone being in there, plus the drums pounding in my chest as it was macked into the speakers, hip-hop style. For over an hour I felt like I was in the hell Slayer had created in their music, and I loved it. To this day, it remains one of the best concert experiences I’ve ever had.

To Tom Araya, Kerry King, Jeff Hanneman, Dave Lombardo, and Rick Rubin: eternal gratitude for your major contribution to my life. Mahalo nui.

REVIEW: Slayer’s “World Painted Blood”

Image and video hosting by TinyPic There have been rumors about World Painted Blood (Columbia) being Slayer‘s last album. These guys have been around for over 25 years, have seen countless metal trends come and go, and of course were part of the original squad of four thrash/speed metal bands of the 80’s that were considered the ultimate in heavy. Despite the trends, Slayer stayed in their own world, walked down their own path, have managed to celebrate with their fans a cherished album that is one of the best metal albums of all time, and still show incredible growth when so many of their contempraries have watered themselves down or split up.

This is 2009, and this is World Painted Blood. The title track is a melodic song, or at least melodic in terms of Slayer, and shows how much they have grown, both as musicians and songwriters. Tom Araya still has one of the most wickest voices in all of music, and while he may not be screaming at the top of his lungs in every song, when you hear him you know who it is. The album could carry on in a melodic, somewhat progressive tone, they immediately rip into that classic Slatanic Wehrmacht song and start to carve up a body in the form of “Unit 731”:

Human brain experiment
On prisoners open skull
Vivisection, live dissection
Repulsing to the core
What are your final thoughts?
Do you want to kill me, or die in shame?
From my point of view
Justified action, the enemy burns

It may be a slight throwback to “Criminally Insane” or “Jesus Saves”, and it sounds like someone’s own personal hell as everyone dives in and suffocates each other in unity, sharing their own common hell. What I love is when Araya sings with his regular speaking voice, before building himself to the demonic screams. The first time I heard this song, it made me feel like I did when I played these guys like crazy in high school. Except this time I was in a car, and I wanted to speed up to 120mph and hit someone. I’m not talking literally of course, but that’s what Slayer does to you, which is why it’s best to hear this at home or in a live setting.

I haven’t read up about this album, so I don’t know the hype they’re throwing on it, but I hear something in this. I hear the band throwing nods to their entire career by playing various things people will recognize, a riff here, a riff there, etc. What I also hear are Slayer also acknowledging their top contemporaries, because I definitely hear a Metallica moment, a Megadeth moment, and an Anthrax moment, something they have never done in the past. It’s as if they’re saying “we’re old men now, we’re still here, we are the best at what we do, let’s rip this shit up.” In other words, if this is truly Slayer’s last album, they are tipping their hat to their friends, but for the last quarter of the album they pull out all of the tricks in the Slayer hat and show why people are willing to mutilate themselves by using a razor blade to cut up the band logo in their arms or abdomen.

The songs on the album are still about the human condition, the struggles of the world, and all of the heaviness that as kids we had no concept of, but as adults we can hopefully pass the word to the metal kids that it can be a scary place, but with strength it doesn’t have to be that way. Now don’t expect for Slayer to start doing covers of High School Musical, they are the kind of band you wnat to listen to when you feel like you’ve reached the point of no return. In a really odd way, they are the Sun Ra‘s of speed metal, in that they seek a better place to be and while they go for that attendant target, they will condemn every form of evil on this planet. The final track, “Not Of This Earth”, drives into a sick “Beautiful People”-type dirge as Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman rip in with fierce riffs and a low-end mentality that puts you into the depths of the world of insecurity and sorrow they sing about. Then you have the rhythm section of Araya on bass and the maniacal Dave Lombardo on drums, how this man plays at this pace and makes it sound good is unknown. The overall, overwhelming sound is what has made them a force not to be messed with, and with production from Greg Fidelman who makes sure everything sounds incredible from start to finish, it also ends an unpredictable decade of human history in the right way. It was also executively produced by the man who signed them to Def Jam, Rick Rubin, and while I’m not sure how much impact he had on the production, his organization and continuity trademarks are very much in place.

If this becomes their last album, then an entire planet drenched in blood will forever be grateful for the music Slayer has poured onto them.