Dec. ’83: 5 Months Before Metallica Released Kill ‘Em All, Slayer Unleashed Their Debut Album Show No Mercy.
Slayer aren’t just known for their menacing music. The Show No Mercy artwork is simply considered “Badass”.
While the artwork of the discography to follow goes down as the most controversial and bloodcurdling in heavy metal history.
Here we’ll look back at striking cover art that was actually painted a close friend’s father. That close friend was also a Slayer roadie.
This all-important debut sleeve art came across to some as a striking mishmash of the sublime and the ridiculous. The Slayer pentagram logo is given due prominence, this genre-defining visual stamp piercing the eye with iconic intensity. Then there’s the hairy-legged cartoon Baphomet in a leather Speedo.
The powerful stance of the Baphomet on Slayer Show No Mercy was based on a photo taken of Tom Araya during a live performance.
“I remember showing his dad pictures of how we stand onstage to base that Baphomet creature on, to get the aggressive part of what we stood for. And that’s how it came out!” – Kerry King
In addition to upping the speed metal ante, Slayer Show No Mercy was one of the first thrash records to include such blatantly Satanic imagery and lyrics: “I am the Antichrist It’s what I was meant to be Your God left me behind And set my soul to be free Watching disciples Of the satanic rule Pentagram of blood Holds the jackal’s truth Searching for the answer Christ hasn’t come Awaiting the final moment The birth of Satan’s son”
Watch Slayer Perform The Antichrist With Jeff Hanneman Live in Belfort, France – 2003