Throughout their storied career, thrash metal legends Slayer have released countless unforgettable singles. Whether it’s the hilarious satanic fury of “The Antichrist,” the earworm death worship of “Raining Blood,” or the festering morbidity of “Dead Skin Mask,” Slayer always bring something that appeals to the darkest parts of our blackened hearts. But in our minds, the band’s greatest achievement will always be “Mandatory Suicide,” the mid-paced rager at the center of 1988’s slow and surly South of Heaven.
Due to the anniversary of us listening to that song last night and thinking, Shit yeah, son, we decided to rank that song against itself according to how fucking baller it is. Here’s what we came up with…
10. Slayer, “Mandatory Suicide” (South of Heaven, 1988)
Coming in at the end of this list, by a close margin, is Slayer’s “Mandatory Suicide,” off of 1988’s South of Heaven. The track’s towering riffs and trundling pace make it a perfect accompaniment to dreaming of the pure evil that lies at the center of the human heart. Misanthropic and shadowy, this cut serves as a stark reminder that this is probably the best metal song in the world.
9. Slayer, “Mandatory Suicide” (South of Heaven, 1988)
Though not the last song on this list, Slayer’s “Mandatory Suicide” comes in at ninth because of how it feels next to the other songs we’re covering here. Alone, “Mandatory Suicide” is arguably the best metal song ever, but sandwiched between its neighbors on this list, it’s just mostly the best metal song ever. None the less, one can’t deny the roiling satanic power of this absolute classic.
8. Slayer, “Mandatory Suicide” (South of Heaven, 1988)
It’s hard to ignore how fantastic the opening riff of Slayer’s “Mandatory Suicide” is. Not only is that first guitar lick huge and dramatic, but it then plays with Dave Lombardo’s drumming excellently after its initial kick. Definitely a track that’s incredible all the way through, but we can’t deny how heavy those first seconds are.
7. Slayer, “Mandatory Suicide” (South of Heaven, 1988)
Is it possible for any track to stand up to “Mandatory Suicide?” Maybe, but the fifth song on Slayer’s snarling 1988 album South of Heaven definitely exists in a league of its own among metal songs. With bloodthirsty patience, the band outline the darkness of warfare and the battlefield in gruesome detail on this gripping single. Get into it.
6. Slayer, “Mandatory Suicide” (South of Heaven, 1988)
How could we almost forget Slayer’s “Mandatory Suicide?” At first, when composing this list, it totally slipped our minds, but when it was pointed out to us, it felt as though the entire list was written to showcase this incredible track. An overlooked thrash metal gem that reminds one of the moment when Slayer truly became Slayer.
5. Slayer, “Mandatory Suicide” (South of Heaven, 1988)
While many have celebrated the killer riffs of Slayer’s “Mandatory Suicide,” not enough respect is given to the poetic spoken-word outro at its end. In a way, Tom’s rant about begging and bleeding as bullets drop like rain is a metaphor for everyday life, and reminds us of the struggles of being a metalhead in this ruthless world. Blood’s cheap – it’s everywhere.
4. Slayer, “Mandatory Suicide” (South of Heaven, 1988)
Now we’re getting into the good shit on this list. Hailing from Slayer’s “experimental” 1988 album South of Heaven, “Mandatory Suicide” illustrates how Slayer’s decision to slow things down on that record was arguably one of the best they ever made. The song’s steadiness in its contempt is palpable, and tempers the thrash titan’s satanic fantasy with some real-world slaughter.
3. Slayer, “Mandatory Suicide” (South of Heaven, 1988)
Sliding in at #3 on this list, “Mandatory Suicide” remains one of Slayer’s most unfuckwithable hits. This is impressive in part because the song isn’t traditional Slayer – not breakneck-fast or demonic, and yet somehow a perpetual staple of their live set. Interestingly enough, the track spawned a shirt featuring a Slayer fan hanging himself after being accepted into military school – a concept so psychological, the shirt was banned soon thereafter. Hey, who else but Slayer!
2. Slayer, “Mandatory Suicide” (South of Heaven, 1988)
There is perhaps not enough credit given to how much “Mandatory Suicide,” off of Slayer’s 1988 masterpiece South of Heaven, shaped the extreme metal underground. Death metal specifically owes much of its stomping, gory sneer to this seething opus. But black metal’s warlike humorlessness is also in this track’s debt; look at any album cover with skulls under tank treads and you’re seeing the influence of “Mandatory Suicide” seeping through like so much hastily-shed plasma.
1. Slayer, “Mandatory Suicide” (South of Heaven, 1988)
Picking the #1 spot for this list was no easy task, but at the end of the day, everyone at the MetalSucks Mansion agreed that there was no better choice. With “Mandatory Suicide” off of 1988’s utterly perfect South of Heaven, Slayer show off everything that makes them timeless – riffs more wicked than most, lyrics that show instead of tell, drums that are somehow both steady and volatile, and a general sense of pure evil across the board. On this song, the band cemented themselves as metal’s eternal overlords of darkness and death. No other track on this list even comes close.
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