Mandatory Metal: 5 Essential Slayer Songs

Slayer, 1988

Heavy music is full of legendary bands boasting deep catalogs stacked with iconic songs — sometimes it can be hard to know where to start, or what to consider their best. With that in mind, we present the “Mandatory Metal” lists, which collect what we consider to be the definitive tracks from various members of the metallurgic pantheon. Up today, Slayer, those blasphemous, serial killer–serenading thrash-metal OGs who have been raining blood for nearly four decades. Tom Araya, Kerry King and Co. are in the midst of their farewell tour and playing greatest-hits set every night, but in our opinion, these classic cuts are their very most essential. If you disagree, sound off on The Pit Facebook page.

“ANGEL OF DEATH”
ALBUM: REIGN IN BLOOD

The quintessential Slayer recording and a damn fine WWII history lesson.
Sample lyrics: “Human mice, for the Angel of Death/Four hundred thousand more to die.”

“DISCIPLE”
ALBUM: GOD HATES US ALL

A hateful diatribe against, well, everything.
Sample lyrics: “I reject this fuckin’ race/I despite this fuckin’ place.”

“WAR ENSEMBLE”
ALBUM: SEASONS IN THE ABYSS

The ultimate ode to war, Slayer’s favorite subject beside Satan.
Sample lyrics: “The final swing is not a drill/It’s how many people I can kill.”

“CHEMICAL WARFARE”
ALBUM: HAUNTING THE CHAPEL EP

A flesh-searing speed-metal epic about battlefield horrors.
Sample lyrics: “Gods on the throne must be watching from hell/Awaiting the mass genocide.”

“SPILL THE BLOOD”
ALBUM: SOUTH OF HEAVEN

Proved Slayer didn’t have to be fast to be the best.
Sample lyrics: “Spill your blood, let it run onto me/Take my hand and let go of your life.”