The complete track list for Slayer’s new box set Soundtrack to the Apocalypse can be found here. I was really excited about this box set when it was announced, but it seems to me the finished product isn’t nearly as impressive as it could be. Yes, there are some nice points to it, but if this box set is intended to be a gift to the band’s longtime fans, I think a little more work could have gone into it.
The biggest problem I have is that there are so many plain old album tracks included in the set. Slayer is not the kind of band that has hit singles. No one ever requested “Dead Skin Mask” on Total Request Live. Casey Kasem never sang the praises of “Mandatory Suicide”. Slayer is not the sort of band that has casual listeners. You either love the band and own all their albums, or you just don’t like them at all. There’s not a lot of middle ground. Therefore, what is the point of including tracks that every Slayer fan already owns anyway? Do they really believe there are metalheads out there without a copy of “Angel of Death”?
The first CD is comprised of easily available material any fan worth is salt already has. About half of the second CD is as well. On the plus side, the second CD also contains some rarities, but they did leave some tracks out. Their covers of “Born to be Wild” and G.B.H.’s “Sick Boy” are not included, which I think is a bad idea. If they want people to buy a box set, then why wouldn’t they want to include as many hard to find tracks as possible?
The third CD is an improvement because it contains unreleased live tracks, but again, there are problems. The pre-Show No Mercy track “Ice Titan” is included, but I know for a fact there are several other unreleased Slayer tracks from their early days floating around out there. Where’s “Assassin”, “Simple Aggression”, or “Night Rider”? There are also alternate version of “Crionics” and “Evil Has no Boundaries” out there as well. You’d think the band would want to put those tracks on CD so they can make some money off of them instead of the bootleggers.
The DVD is nice owing to the fact it also contains unreleased material, but I was extremely surprised to learn it did not contain their music videos. Considering they’ve never released them on DVD or video before, you’d think it would be an obvious decision to include them here. I’d love to know who precisely was involved in putting the track list for this thing together, and if so, was he drunk while doing it? They leave out promo videos that have never been commercially available, but they include yet another live performance of “Stain of Mind”? Who thought that was a good idea?
The “deluxe edition” comes with a bonus CD of a recent concert, a wall banner, and a reproduction of a backstage pass. Whoop-de-doo. I don’t care if the box set comes with a laminated copy of a TGI Friday’s Kids activity placemat colored in by Kerry King, it’s not going to change the fact that this is a severely underwhelming box set from a band that deserves much better.
The way I see it, this box set is supposed to be a “thank you” to the people who’ve supported the band over the 20 years of their career. This is not an impulse buy. Therefore, I think this box set should really be something special. Add the rarities I talked about. Include some live versions of something other than “Angel of Death” and “War Ensemble”. Those are great songs, but wouldn’t it be neat to hear live performances of “Tormentor”, “Live Undead”, or “Kill Again”? If you buy the “Deluxe version”, you get three different versions of “Raining Blood”, yet not one of “Evil Has No Boundaries”, “Epidemic”, or “Hardening of the Arteries”. You probably have your own favorites that aren’t included here. The question is, why weren’t they?
The black metal band Marduk recently released a box set that contains nothing but rarities, demos, live tracks, and re-recordings. If you’re a fan of the band, it is an excellent buy for your money. I think Slayer is one of the best heavy metal bands that has ever existed, and I believe they and their fans also deserve a box set that is worthy of them. Let’s leave the crushing of expectations, the fleecing of fans, and destroying of respect to bands like Metallica; Slayer is better than that. I’m sure it’s too late to change anything, but I hope Slayer would be willing to reconsider retooling their box set before it’s released. With a little effort, it could be something truly special. Even though I’m not 100 percent happy with Slayer’s most recent albums, I’ll always consider myself a huge fan of the band. However, this box set would have to be deeply discounted for me to even consider buying it. Slayer should be the kind of band that inspires fanaticism. The track list for this box set inspires only regret.Powered by Sidelines