South of Heaven Songs Ranked

South of Heaven is the fourth studio album by American thrash metal band Slayer, released on July 5, 1988, by Def Jam Recordings. The album was the band’s second collaboration with producer Rick Rubin, whose production skills on their previous album Reign in Blood (1986) had helped their sound evolve. In order to offset the pace of its predecessor, Slayer deliberately slowed down the tempo on South of Heaven and utilized undistorted guitars and toned-down vocals. South of Heaven was the band’s last album released by Def Jam, although the rights were transferred to Rubin’s new label Def American Recordings after Rubin ended his partnership with Russell Simmons. The album was one of only two Def Jam titles to be distributed by Geffen Records through Warner Bros., as Def Jam’s then-distributor Columbia refused to release work by the band. Here are all of South of Heaven songs ranked.

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10. Dissident Aggressor

“Dissident Aggressor” which is a Judas Priest cover, and I loved how the guys from Slayer really kicked it up just a notch with even more creepier, thrashier, groovier, and heavier riffage throughout, and Lombardo displays some very nice, yet steady and slow, double bass work during the verses, and Araya’s vocals are also spot on, and I also dig the chorus too.”

9. Cleanse the Soul

“Cleanse the Soul” which is yet another fast, sharp, and brutal thrasher that once again picks up the pace, and just like other cuts like “Silent Scream” and “Ghosts of War”, races relentlessly by like a raging cyclone going through a mobile home court with it’s ruthless, heart-racing, fist-pounding drumming, and ferocious, face-cleaving, head-ripping riffs, and scorching solo flights courtesy of the Hanneman and King combination.”

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8. Read Between the Lies

“The band then slows things down yet again with the slower/mid-paced headbanger “Read Between the Lies” which is bolstered by some excellent, speedy, chugging, and churning riffs that are just downright catchy, and also features excellent mid-paced beats and fills from Lombardo throughout, and Araya’s vocals are also very stellar here as well, and I love the lyrics in which he says: “There is no Heaven, without a Hell”!!!.”

See more: Slayer Albums Ranked

7. Behind the Crooked Cross

“Behind the Crooked Cross” is yet another fast paced number, and a catchy one at that too as it boasts a simple, yet very deceiving, and catchy, chuggy guitar intro, and it also includes some more vicious, fiery, scorching, dueling solo work from the King and Hanneman combination, as well as some more great, fast, pounding drum work from Lombardo, and excellent vocals from Tom as well.”

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6. Live Undead

“Live Undead” is another classic tune here that much like the title track starts off slow and sinister with some slower, ominous, and awesome, crunching riff work, and keeps the tempos down in it’s first half. I also dig Araya’s haunting and melodic vocal work in the first half of this song, and Lombardo’s drums are also slow, yet very stellar as well.”

5. Ghosts of War

“The album’s sixth cut, “Ghosts of War” is also another huge standout track that gets the album right back up to neck-breaking speed, as it is highlighted by a slew of razor-sharp, lightning quick, and fiery, face-ripping riffage, plus some more wild, scorching, ripping, and lacerating solos, along with violent, frenetic, neck-snapping drums, all with Araya’s intense and aggressive vocals leading the violent fray.”


See more: Slayer Songs Ranked

4. Silent Scream

“The song concludes with a wickedly piercing single-note outro riff that segues right into the album’s second track, “Silent Scream” which is a much more faster, and fiery, blistering thrash number that fiercely races by like a flash flood with an array of blazing, scorching, thrashing riffs, and charging, speeding, double bass pounding, plus a series of some impressively fast, scorching, and blazing solo flights are also included, and Tom’s vocals are also very top notch throughout too as well. “

3. Spill the Blood

“Closing out this album, we have the amazing closer, “Spill the Blood” which is a slow, haunting, and disturbingly epic, album finale which starts off with a surprisingly slow, chilling, and dark, acoustic guitar opening before picking things up with some heavy duty palm mutes and chugging riffs, and is also highlighted by more of Araya’s haunting, sinister, and melodic sung vocals, as well as a fantastic guitar solo from Jeff Hanneman that really carries the mood of the song, and I also really dig the chorus too.”

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2. Mandatory Suicide

 “Mandatory Suicide” (which is also another classic concert favorite, along with the title track of course) that menacingly borderlines on nasty, bone-crunching, driving, chugging riffs and thumping bass lines to go along with that, plus, I also love that opening riff in the beginning too. Tom’s vocals on this song are a huge highlight here too as he also throws in a very creepy, chilling, and ominous spoken-word passage guaranteed to give you chills whenever you listen to it. This song is truly one of my favorite Slayer songs. I just love it.”

1. South of Heaven

“The opening title track, “South of Heaven” is unquestionably one of Slayer’s most popular, and well known songs, and also a permanent concert staple that begins with a moody, sinister, menacing, and slow opening riff that sounds almost just like the start of a bad nightmare. That opening riff is certainly one of the greatest and most memorable metal riffs to ever be constructed on any metal album in my opinion.”