Decade of Aggression is a double live album by Slayer, released on October 22, 1991, through Def American Records (later renamed to American Recordings) and produced by Rick Rubin. The album was recorded in three separate places on three separate dates. Its working title was Decade of Decadence until Mötley Crüe registered the name. Three of the album's tracks were included in the box set Soundtrack to the Apocalypse. The album's reception was generally positive, with Entertainment Weekly and Robert Christgau both giving the album a positive rating. The album reached number 55 in the Billboard 200 and also charted on two other charts.
While touring on the Clash of the Titans tour to promote the 1990 studio album Seasons in the Abyss, separate sections of the Decade of Aggression album were recorded on October 14, 1990, March 8, 1991, and July 13, 1991, however, AllMusic said that Rick Rubin's production "seems to be in terms of shaping the live sound to make it sound like this is all one gig." Although it had a working title of Decade of Decadence, it would be released as Decade of Aggression after Mötley Crüe copyrighted the name on their 1991 greatest hits album. It was released through Def American Recordings on October 22, 1991.
“The main disc was one and then we had other songs that we played a different night that we added to the package, and that was our first live experience, the first anyone could have Slayer live unless it was a tape-trading kind of thing from way back when. So it was kind of cool, you know, we were proud of it.”
— Kerry King
The release was intended to give them time to decide what their next album's style would be. Text in the book The Great Rock Discography said that it was released after the band had gained popularity, saying, "Slayer had finally made it into the metal big league and summing up the first blood-soaked chapter of their career, the group duly released the live double set." It was also released to commemorate their 10th anniversary.
The album does not feature an overdub of guitars. In The Rough Guide to Rock, it was said to be "intense" and "put studio favorites through the live shredder in a brutal and definitive manner." Most of the tracks were a selection from South of Heaven, Reign in Blood, and Seasons in the Abyss. The album's total duration is one hour, twenty-five minutes, and twenty-eight seconds (85:28). Three of the album's tracks were included in the box set Soundtrack to the Apocalypse.
The album booklet includes a photo gallery with pictures dating back to 1982. The majority of the photos come from Kevin Estrada, who has said:
“Usually I choose my favorite shots that I've taken, and then I give them to the band and they choose the ones they like best. It's funny because you'd think Slayer would have a definite vision for what they want to do with the photos, but they don't. I say 'What do you want to do?' and they say 'I don't know, what you want to do?' But it works well because everything I do they're happy with. They like to work quick — they don't want to do any two-hour photo shoots — and our personalities work really well because I work quickly too.”
Thom Jurek, a staff writer for AllMusic, gave the album a rating of three out of five stars. Jurek gave notice to the album's sound quality, telling readers that it does not "capture the sheer overblown intensity of the unit in a concert setting," but that it comes closer than one may imagine. Jurek also gave the note to how Rick Rubin made the two-discs sound like it was recorded at one gig, writing "Producer Rick Rubin stays out of the way; his production seems to be in terms of shaping the live sound to make it sound like this is all one gig." Entertainment Weekly's David Browne said that it was an "accurate aural snapshots of what it's like to be part of a crowd craning to see the action on a stage that seems two miles away." Browne also said, "They're perfect examples of the sad current state of the once-proud live rock album." Robert Christgau gave the album a star ("Honorable Mention is a worthy effort consumer attuned to its overriding aesthetic or individual vision may well like."), saying, "praise the Lord — I can hardly understand a word they're singing (Hell Awaits)." Joel McIver, author of The Bloody Reign of Slayer said that it was regarded as one of the best live albums released by a heavy metal band.
The album charted on three different charts. On November 9, 1991, it peaked at number 55 on the Billboard 200. On January 13, 1992, the album entered the Media Control Charts, where it peaked at number 77. It maintained a number on the chart until February 2, 1992, giving it a total of three weeks on the chart. On December 2, 1991, it entered the UK Album Charts, peaking at number 29. It stayed on the chart for two weeks.
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