Hell Awaits is the second studio album from the American rock group Slayer that was released by Metal Blade Records in 1985.
The band’s prior album, Show No Mercy was Metal Blade Records’ highest selling album; as it was the Producer Brian Slagel wanted to release a new Slayer album. In order to do this Slagel was able to finance the recording budget ( Show No Mercy was financed by members of the band) and enlisted a number of experienced producers to assist with the recording.
Lyrical themes on Hell Awaits are darker than on Show No Mercy, and included hell and Satan. The intro of the first track “Hell Awaits” played backwards reveals the repeated phrase “join us”.
Musically, the album features the band’s most progressive and diverse work compared to their previous releases, and according to Kerry King, he and Jeff Hanneman were very into Mercyful Fate at the time, which then led to the longer and more progressive songs.
Defined as “influential to future extreme metal acts,” the most popular songs from Hell Awaits were re-recorded by various underground metal bands and have appeared on several tribute albums.
Musicians such as singer Phil Anselmo and drummer Gene Hoglan cite Hell Awaits as an influence.