When you’re in the mood for Slayer, few other bands will do. The Cali satanic thrash pioneers have a blazing, cell-deep red to their sound that plenty of bands barely touch. That unique flavor means that when your dark sides all merge into one black pit — your hatred of the world, your perverse private thoughts, your dreams of beating the shit out of God — only Slayer can exude the raw sonic darkness to keep you from sinking.
That said, even Slayer albums can get worn out. And fortunately, though pretty much no one else can match Slayer, there are a handful of bands that will scratch similar itches well. Whether through their tight riffing, their don’t-give-a-fuck brashness, or their sheer love of the Devil, these bands have a similar sonic profile to metal’s most evil of thrash acts.
Here are five bands every Slayer fan needs to know…
Satan, leather, murder and degeneracy — Midnight bring all the things that once made Slayer the scariest band around, and they bring ’em in spades. The hooded Cleveland trio play a stripped-down, no-nonsense form of speed metal that sounds like it could’ve bumped out of a shoulder-resting jam box in 1985, but still feels relevant today. Fans of latter-day albums like God Hates Us All might not immediately take to their sound, but if you live and die by Show No Mercy, these guys will have you kicking in doors and pledging allegiance to Lucifer in no time.
Part of the early-to-mid-2000s European thrash movement, Sweden’s Corporation 187 actually started as a Slayer cover band. This explains why 2000’s Subliminal Fear is so evocative of the Cali thrash titans — and why its sharp, chugging riffs rule so hard. From start to finish, every track on that album has the sort of wily, arch vibe with which King and Hanneman left a crater on the face of music. Though currently on hold, the project’s back catalog is a collection of sonic treasure that Slayer fans will have a filed day digging into.
Richmond’s Loud Night might have the name of a party rock band, but don’t be fooled — these guys sound like Slayer’s punk side was dragged shrieking to the surface of their sound. On this month’s Mindnumbing Pleasure, the band rip through one rabid destruction anthem after another, injected with the speed and abandon of early hardcore while never losing the thrash riffage and bitching guitar harmonies. Always remember that early on, Slayer were a lot of damn fun, and a band like Loud Night keeps that tradition alive.
What Oozing Wound bring to the table that’ll endear Slayer fans is simple: they’re not for fucking everyone. The band’s bilious, fuzz-heavy thrash has an acidic edge to it that your typical metal bro might find a little tough to swallow, and song titles like “Surrounded By Fucking Idiots” and “Bury Me With My Money” don’t play the earnest positivity game. But for those fans willing to try something spicier and more political than another groove song — and if you’re a diehard Slayer fan, chances are high that you’re down — this Chicago-based trio’s music will quickly become an everyday soundtrack.
One doesn’t often think of Indianapolis as a city that produces some of the heaviest bands metal has ever heard, but Demiricous’s music certainly qualifies the city for that title. With hatred-soaked riffs, concussion-inducing drums, and a vocal style that makes one think of a 26-year-old newborn, this now-defunct band might have risen to Lamb of God stature had they not sounded so damn angry all the time. While tracks like “Knuckle Eye” and “Vagrant Idol” will have fans of later classics like World Painted Blood nodding along, it’s perhaps “Acid Lung,” with its chorus of, “ACID LUNG — FUCK ‘EM ALL” that is the most Slayerized of their deep cuts. Bring these guys back!
Words by Chris Krovatin