Following the full-on speed-burst insanity of Slayer's immense 3rd album Reign in Blood, 1988's follow-up record South of Heaven regularly gets the tag as Slayer's 'slow' album. That's not strictly accurate however, as this album is much more varied than Reign in Blood, ranging from the slow but majestic tracks South of Heaven and Spill the Blood through such mid-pace songs as Mandatory Suicide and Behind the Crooked Cross, and even taking in such tracks as Silent Scream and Cleanse the Soul, which are fast and furious enough to give anything on Reign in Blood a run for it's money. While South of Heaven cant compete with Reign in Blood for sheer speed and intensity there is probably a better quality of song-writing on display here, and ironically the general slowing down of the tracks actually makes Dave Lombardo's drums sound more impressive, as he now has the space to insert numerous immense tom rolls. Crucially South of Heaven sees Slayer still growing and experimenting with their sound - witness Tom Araya's narration on Mandatory Suicide, the intro from Chemical Warfare pasted onto the front of Ghosts of War, the twisted melodic singing on Behind the Crooked Cross and Spill the Blood, even the almost rap rhythm vocals of Read Between the Lies. Throughout the riffs are immense - just listen to the epic fade-out on the title track that loops backwards into the intro to the insane opening of Silent Scream and you'll be converted. Yes - it's different than the unbeatable Reign in Blood - but South of Heaven is still an essential metal classic in it's own right.