With 1986's 'Reign In Blood', Slayer reached the pinnacle of its rapid-fire, speed metal style. for the band's next effort, instead of embracing its hardcore roots even further, the band retraced its metal influences, namely Black Sabbath. 1988's 'South Of Heaven' surprised many fans because it contained several mid-paced, dirge-like compositions that spotlighted metal's crunch over punk's reckless energy. Tom Araya's lyrics still addressed controversial subjects, while another piece of gruesome artwork graced the album's cover. despite it all, Slayer's ardent following embraced the album, eventually propelling 'South Of Heaven' to gold-certification in the U.S.