A Tribute to Slayer

You hear a lot of people talking these days about their nostalgia for the 1980s or the decade following. It always provokes a couple blinks, and then we — we are the silent witnesses, who saw it all — shrug and walk on. It is easy enough to understand.

Kids now look back at that time and think that there was a more functional society. They are right, of course; this place is a walking corpse at this point, essentially ruled by commerce and taxes because culture is dead and no one knows what it even looks like in the first place.

But for us, it was a terrifying time, mostly because the decay that you see now was just beginning to crest back then, and we could tell that we were the last in a functional world and that we were about to be thrust into a society that had fallen just like that of the Romans.

This is not something political or moral so much as historical: society drifted away from any semblance of realistic thinking, again, and so it was going to fall apart again and leave behind something as dysfunctional as modern Italy or Greece. This is a scary thing to endure.

Adults seemed insane. They were motivated by a desire to avoid talking about the Big Things because they saw no hope there, so instead they pursued increasingly maniacal distractions. People were more interested in their hobbies, clubs, BMWs, and lovers than they were in their kids.

We were the “latchkey kids.” We came home from school to empty houses, let ourselves in, took some kind of food out of a box and ate it while watching MTV or playing Castle Wolfenstein on our Apple //s and C-64s.

Those who were lucky enough to have two parents had two working parents, or at least two parents who were warring with each other over who would have the power. Everyone else came home to single-parent houses where the parent was either working, working out, or dating, and not there much at all.

We all knew that something big had happened in the 1960s, and something important had occurred in WW2, but not quite what. We knew that some of our relatives gushed over the 60s and talked a lot about how evil Hitler was, and others wanted to kill hippies and thought Hitler was right about the Russians.

It was jarring to turn on the news. According to it, the world was hovering near nuclear war as one side tried to defeat the Communists and the other thought it might be great if the Reds won and we could live like in John Lennon’s “Imagine,” which at that point was still sort of new.

Kids see more than adults. Adults navigate the world through archetypes, meaning that everything new they see, they assume to be a variety of the first type of that thing that they saw. To them, this was just another trend or bout of social dysfunction, but to us, it was clear things were coming apart.

Almost no one would tell you anything real or realistic, especially about the Big Things like the meaning of life. They would instead lecture you on their personal belief system that helped them compensate for the dysfunction and believe that everything was going to be all right.

Religion was still a huge part of American life. For many people, it was all that stood between us and Satan, atheism, Communism, and the creepy sexual perversions and drug use that had somehow become normal after the 1960s when business figured out they were big markets.

This was the time of the Satanic Panic after all, when people knew something was wrong at the core of our society, but since they could not figure out the details, assumed it was Satan or any of a number of drippy conspiracies about Freemasons, Bilderbergers, Illuminati, Black Panthers, or chemtrails.

It was clear to us that the adults had lost the plot and were hanging on by their fingernails. We sighed when our divorced parents dated some new lumpy chud who was going to be “the one” for real this time and not just move out in the night with his secretary like the last potential husband number three or four.

Just about nothing was real. Our teachers could not go too far in teaching Darwinism because it offended the Creationists. They could not talk about the reasons for historical events because it was too close to Hitler or the Confederates. They had to carefully tiptoe around topics like nuclear war.

Slayer dropped into our lives unexpectedly. I knew a kid who had all the Slayer tapes and asked him for a dub. I do not know what I expected; perhaps a blaze of noise with, as the newspapers routinely said, lyrics praising Satan and possibly invoking him through ritual patterns.

Instead I found one of the most thoughtful bands that has existed to this day. Lyrics that cited Milton and classical poets, heavy concepts dressed up in visceral metaphor, and the sense that it was too late to avoid disaster and we were living in Hell all came through as clear as day.

Even more, Slayer skipped over all of the bullshit of pop music. There were no pentatonic melodies bouncing along to beats for dancing with stupid dates at overpriced clubs, no pandering to what the lowest common denominator wanted, no pleasant distractions from the abyss.

Instead there was raw rushing terror, but made into something cool. Like a good horror movie, Slayer made you want to descend into a demonic quagmire so that you could fight it out and have sanity win for once, unlike the situation in your everyday life where the madness took over long ago.

Most of all, these songs did not play around with your emotions to let you down. They were not distractions; they were deepening of the things that concerned you, giving you a handle on them at least conceptually and making it okay to talk about the end of the world.

When I look back, it was a horrible time with an inner beauty, and a great part of that were the few glimpses of sanity like Slayer that helped us through, and have prepared us for what comes next. If art is the change of ideas that lets people accept the future, Slayer is higher art than people realize.

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30 thoughts on “A Tribute to Slayer”

  1. one legged uberman says:

    The “conspiracies” are very fucking real, because only really smart people (smarter than even you) eventually figure out that we live in a Satanic matrix of sorts… though some also twist things here and there to make money off that (fearporn). You just have to be smart enough to filter out the nonsense, if your fatass ego allows it ofcourse.

    Yes the earth is flat, or at least not a spinning space rock and the chemtrails are absolutely real. NASA are obviously freemasons who are abusing trillions just to promote this lie that’s tied to the theory of evolution/alienology this site retardedly promotes as edgy and hip because they read that in some overpraised metal lyric or outdated philosophy book.

    The entity “Satan”, if real the way we were taught, is obviously doing this through a very limited ability, because like in the book of Job, he would have to take his orders from someone bigger, and in control, or else we’d all be dead or mutated by now.

    I can’t believe I have to explain this in such detail, because even a 5 year old would understand the picture here, but adults are often the dumbest after decades of brainwashing.

    1. Why would we need Satan, when human projection and laziness — especially in groups — adequately explain all of what we see? Occam is at the root here; we do not need Satan, but we surely need the kings.

    2. T Malm says:

      this guy gets it

      in the ass

      1. “This is a song every cowboy knows, I want you to sing it along with me, Dallas…”

        Sundown was an hour ago but I’m still on my horse
        Today was hard like yesterday, could set it in a ring
        A dozen double whiskeys can’t make it any worse
        My wife left town, my house burned down, I don’t own a thing,
        But tomorrow I’ll put on my boots and get back on the horse.

        You know there are ups and there are downs
        There are good times and there are bad ones
        What goes up goes down and comes around
        When life comes at you very fast
        You’re going to take it in the ass.

        1. T Malm says:

          ah so true, brought tears to my eyes

          hey wait those arent tears

          1. Horse semen, again?

    3. Jebus Is Jewish Negro 666 says:

      Yes believe in the ((( sky babysitter ))) so he will take you to hraven when gooky Late Stage Democracy shitgurgles into oblivion. You are the Joo you fear, xian addlegoyim.

      1. Please keep the echoes on poa.st, if you do not mind. I stand for the right of the Jewish people to have ethno-nationalism, be “racist,” and be “supremacist” if they so desire. Basically, National Socialism for Jews makes sense, as well as any other racial group, except those from Western Europe because socialism turns us into soy-munching froot loops.

        1. Ghetto Reporter says:

          Wait… Doesn’t it then stand to reason… that Sunn O))) are… half Jewish?

          1. In their case, the echoes are designed to symbolize buttocks around a preciously soft and welcoming anus.

            1. Ghetto Reporter says:

              Oooh. That murmur they call music makes sense now.

              1. It is basically a giant flatulent anal mating call.

  2. Goatfucker says:

    Black Sabbath, Slayer and Godflesh. Unholy brews of mystery and social commentary.

    Reign in Blood kinda sucked, though.

    1. Reign in Blood wanted to be the best hardcore punk album ever made. It really does work quite well in that aesthetic, albeit metalized.

      1. Goatfucker says:

        Hardcore punk was a necessary ingredient to great metal, but in itself was mostly icky. I think Hanneman realized as much, got his shit together again and made South of Heaven.

        1. I agree with the second sentence. Even more, Slayer had already climbed that mountain. I might say rather that hardcore, being super-simplified, has relative few possibilities. No point rehashing Discharge, Amebix, The Exploited, Cro-Mags, and Minor Threat ad nauseam. Contrary to what the music industry thinks, we do not actually need more Discharge tribute bands.

          1. Goatfucker says:

            Discharge were awesome for what they were, but then again I find I always prefer listening to an album of later metal where that important strain of DNA had developed into a truly fearsome beast.

            1. In my view, that is basically all of death metal, which has the 1982-era hardcore all over it. Hardcore + NWOBHM (incl. Motorhead) + proggy and atmospheric 70s stuff and you get death metal.

        2. Tarzan And The Trolls says:

          Everything is mostly icky

          1. Covered in black shiiiitttt….

            1. pope Benedict - from Hell says:

              so very sticky….

              1. Peanut butter and maple syrup. Maybe throw in some blueberries and mango. You will get truly sticky black faeces.

        3. common sense dictates that says:

          adding hardcore punk was when heavy metal turned to shit. You faggots are really telling on yourselves. You aren’t metal fans, you’re nazi punk fans. Nazi punks get AIDS from Eazy-E

          1. Most Nazi punk seems rather bad, but then again the Leftist version is insipid. The punk bands probably did not map to anything more than a compassionate libertarian outlook. In the meantime, everything I write about scares the neo-Nazis as much as the normiecons, hipsters, and luvvies.

  3. Gism says:

    Someone needs to tell Brett that he’s allowed to use more than two sentences per paragraph.

    1. I like short paragraphs for online texts, and for most texts, actually. Each one should be like a handhold on a climbing wall toward some point or another.

    2. Eric says:

      I think it’s the layout. The small text makes the paragraphs look thin. A lot of online publications have a sentence-per-paragraph ratio similar to DMU’s, but with the important difference that their design has been updated since 2010.

      1. Cynical says:

        “Updated” in ways that mostly make them more difficult and annoying to read. There’s a reason that the various versions of this site have used a format similar to this for about 18 years now.

      2. Levitating act of death, messenger of Satan’s mass
        Blinded by the crucifix, sacrilegious impalement
        Kill the chosen, righteous son, claim the cross inverted one
        Everlasting hell damnation, from the lord, Crucifixation

  4. Warkvlt is High IQ Music says:

    Brett, sometimes you sound like an atheist version of Voxday lol. I mean that as a compliment as I enjoy both your writing styles, and sometimes the occasional ideological overlap.

    That said, while I respect Hanneman for his obvious musical talent (at least much more than the fat pig Kerry Kang), I could never really get into Slayer. Their only “good” song IMO is Reign in Blood and, basically, everything Slayer did Morbid Angel did better on Altars, Blessed and Covenant. Of course it’s kinda unfair to compare a band from the 80s with one from the following decade (I was born in the late 90s), but still… what’s the deal with Slayer? Were they just “in the right place at the right time” or is there something more?

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