Virtually 5 months earlier than Metallica launched Kill ‘Em All, Steel Blade proprietor Brian Slagel noticed Slayer open a present for Bitch on the Woodstock Theater in LA. Blown away, he requested the band if it could submit a monitor to his upcoming compilation album Steel Bloodbath III. They agreed and when he heard the track they turned in, “Aggressive Perfector,” Slagel supplied Slayer a report contract. On Dec. 3, 1983, the band launched its scorching debut, Present No Mercy.
Many assume Slayer have been influenced by San Francisco bands together with Metallica and Exodus, however they only occurred to share lots of the identical influences, together with Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Motörhead, in addition to punk rock acts like Black Flag and The Exploited and early thrash they heard by underground tape buying and selling networks.
“We have been doing the identical factor concurrently Metallica, so it wasn’t actually groundbreaking once we first heard [Metallica’s] No Life ‘Til Leather-based [demo],” frontman Tom Araya advised me in 1998. “It was extra like, ‘Dude, try this tape. Who the hell is that this? They sound kinda like us.’ We have been tripped out.”
“I used to be simply getting out of the steel factor with Priest and Iron Maiden, and I used to be listening to a number of hardcore once we began,” stated late guitarist Jeff Hanneman. “I used to be into the punk, however nonetheless beloved the steel, and Kerry was into steel, and once we began writing collectively these influences all got here collectively.”
Slayer, “Die by the Sword”
Slayer wrote lots of the songs for Present No Mercy earlier than they have been signed, together with “Die by the Sword,” “Black Magic” and “Tormentor.” The remainder have been hashed out earlier than the band entered the studio in November 1983. Whereas the report is fierce and served as a serious kick within the ass to different pace steel bands to ramp up their tempos and ratchet up their degree of aggression, the manufacturing was sub-par, largely as a result of it was produced by an engineer at L.A.’s Monitor Studios and recorded in a single week.
“We did it each evening from 11PM to seven within the morning,” Araya stated. “It was the one time this man may get away with charging us subsequent to nothing. We paid him for his time and for the tape. ‘Right here’s a $400 examine.’ We spent $1,500 for it in complete. Kerry borrowed cash from his dad to pay for half, and I paid half.”
Slayer, “Evil Has No Boundaries”
Along with upping the ante on pace steel, Present No Mercy was one of many first thrash information to incorporate such blatantly Satanic lyrics and imagery: “Devil, our masters in evil mayhem guides us with each first step / Our axes are rising with energy and fury, quickly there’ll be nothingness left,” Araya growled on “Evil Has No Boundaries.” And on the title monitor he sang, “Maintain excessive his title, we should / Warriors from the gates of Hell, in Lord Devil we belief.”
“Venom was an affect on Kerry on the time, and that’s a part of the explanation why a number of the stuff got here out the way in which it did,” Araya recollects. “Additionally, Mercyful Destiny was beginning up round that point they usually sang rather a lot about evil. We have been actually into that.”
“It’s one thing we stumbled onto and all of us dug,” added guitarist Kerry King. “I don’t consider in any sort of faith. It’s all as dumb as may be, however I actually like horror films they usually sort of go hand in hand. Folks ask why we make songs about Devil. Why does Stephen King write horror tales? Why is Clive Barker a sick bastard? It’s simply your manner of expressing s–t. The world is just not a vase stuffed with roses.”
A month after Slayer handed Slagel the grasp tape, Steel Blade launched Present No Mercy. Regardless of having no time to correctly promote the album it shortly turned the label’s best-selling launch. 4 years after it got here out, Steel Blade reissued the disc and connected the three songs from the band’s 1984 three-song EP Haunting The Chapel. When Present No Mercy was launched once more in 1994, the label added “Aggressive Perfector,” however included only one track from Haunting the Chapel — “Chemical Warfare.”
“It was positively the delivery of the Slayer sound,” Araya stated. “When it got here out we listened to it in comparison with all the pieces else and we thought, ‘This f—ing rocks.’ The one assume we saved saying was, ‘Subsequent time let’s do all the pieces just a little quicker.”
Loudwire contributor Jon Wiederhorn is the creator of Elevating Hell: Backstage Tales From the Lives of Steel Legends, co-author of Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral Historical past of Steel, in addition to the co-author of Scott Ian’s autobiography, I’m the Man: The Story of That Man From Anthrax, and Al Jourgensen’s autobiography, Ministry: The Misplaced Gospels In accordance with Al Jourgensen and the Agnostic Entrance e-book My Riot! Grit, Guts and Glory.