Hell Awaits is a huge leap forward from Slayer’s debut album, Show No Mercy. It's fully immersed in the band’s signature style of hellish thrash. The opening song begins as a descent into Hades: deranged guitar fades in as the listener is greeted with a backwards recording of a demonic voice repeating the phrase “join us.” Like a locomotive picking up steam, “Hell Awaits” starts out as a steady punching riff before exploding into a torrent of bliztkrieg guitar. Brian Slagel’s production style is deeper and sludgier than Show No Mercy. “At Dawn They Sleep” and “Praise of Death” shift between chugging rhythms and breakneck assaults, while the punishing “Crypts of Eternity” culminates in a torrent of guitar and a blood-curdling scream from Tom Araya. The album goes out as it came in. “Hardening of the Arteries” fades out on the tribal pounding of Dave Lombardo’s drums, as the guitar writhes and claws like a body submerged in lava. For a moment it feels like the listener is being pulled back from a scene of carnage — or else being completed overtaken by the band’s violent onslaught.
This quintessential release presents one of Hooker's most difficult to find albums: Burning Hell. Recorded in Detroit in April 1959, the Riverside label only originally issued the LP in England. A country-blues classic, John Lee Hooker only plays acoustic guitar throughout the album, and sings straight to the bone with his soul drenched vocal delivery. Highlights include songs associated with Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Lightnin' Hopkins, and Big Bill Broonzy, as well as a number of Hooker's own finest compositions. In addition to the original masterpiece, this remastered CD also contains 8 bonus tracks, including a number of solo recordings taped in different locations between 1952 and 1961.
John Lee Hooker developed a “talking blues” style that became his trademark. Though similar to the early Delta tradition, his metrically free approach and unique sound would make him a staple of the Detroit blues tradition. Often called the “King of the Boogie,” Hooker's driving, rhythmic approach to guitar playing has become an integral part of the blues. His thunderous electric guitar sounded raw, while his basic technique was riveting.
In 1959, John Lee Hooker signed a one-off deal with the Riverside label to record an acoustic session of the country blues. It was a key change from his earlier recordings, most of which had featured Hooker on an electric guitar with his trademark reverb and stomping foot. Folk purists of the day were delighted with COUNTRY BLUES, believing Hooker had returned to his roots, leaving the "glitzy commercialism" of R&B behind. But some Hooker fans considered COUNTRY BLUES a "betrayal" of his true sound. The truth is probably somewhere in-between. Remember, John Lee Hooker is always John Lee Hooker, regardless of the format. If you like Hooker, or acoustic blues, buy this album. It is an intimate session featuring standards like "How Long", "Bottle Up and Go", as well as Hooker's first recorded take on "Tupelo", one of his all-time classics.