Sound — 9
This is a diffentaly a step up from their first album (Show No Mercy). They are much more tighter as a band and seem know what they wanted to play in aspets of style. The songs are fast and there are lots of sudden tempo changes. Necrophiliac is proably the best example of this. The tempo changes fast to a less faster tempo thoughout the song. Hell Awaits (the song) is another big higlight in the album. The Begining is pure gold, the drums and guitars really do sound like somthing you might hear in hell. Praise Of Death, At The Dawn They Sleep, and Kill Again are good soild hits. My personaly least favorite track on the album is Hardening Of Arteries, but even that track is not bad. Crypts Of Eternity has a bit of a lacking chorus but is saved the guitar solos. It's also little lacking in the recording aspect, they should proably remaster it.
Lyrics — 7
The lyrics are slayer tipical slayers lyrics, killing, going to hell, death, etc. which fit well with the music. The lyrics, for the most part, are presented pretty well. In the self titled song, Tom Araya does a bit of that fast sing thing where he'll all the sudden sing faster than rate he was singing before and then go back to his privous tempo; kind of gives the song a crazier effect which was probably the desired effect. The lyrics in At Dawn They Sleep and Necrophiliac are catchy and well presented, but some songs like Crypts Of Eternity could of been done a little better.
Overall Impression — 9
I always find myself listening this record when I want to listen to slayer. Hell Awaits is 100% slayer, its got everything that makes slayers sound what is, sudden tempo changes, choatic solos, fast songs, satanic lyrics, its all here. The songs fit very well together but there's only 7 tracks (but still longer than RIB). But don't let your guard down, these tracks are brutal and relantless.