Slayer – Rare tracks (unofficial, random assortment)

4 out of 5

Note: This is an unofficial set of Slayer tracks, culled from soundtracks and singles.  It’s not one of the, er, official unofficial ‘rare’ track sets, but contains a selection of tracks from it, and I’m reviewing it for my own sake: to note my thoughts on it.

As I’ve noted elsewhere, I don’t think Slayer functions too effectively as a ‘singles’ act.  Their material – particularly from Reign in Blood onward – relies on a sense of inspiration unique per album, and the momentum of how tracks link together makes for an important part of the experience.  Yes, some songs are mind blowing on their own, but I find that the majority of their stuff works best in an intended sequence.  So any odds and sods collection is going to take a bump from that.  That said, Slayer is a group comprised of nigh incomparably talented musicians; when you apply that skill – and their thrash template – to songs that are intended to be standalones, or happen to be covers, fantastic things happen.  Like covers of Born To Be Wild, or Hand of Doom, or an awesome team-up with Ice-T for Disorder.  But, y’know, you also get some experimentation, like an attempt to meld with noise group Atari Teenage Riot on No Remorse (I Wanna Die), which is… well, an experiment.  (But so was all of the Spawn soundtrack from which it came…)

The various configurations of live and rare stuff from Slayer – my little mini-set included – are worthwhile listens.  There are some bumps in the road, and the aforementioned lack of song-to-song cohesion, but the highs of their wicked instrumental prowess and hoot-worthy covers set those bumps way, way in the rearview.