"Hell Awaits" is the track on the second studio album (Hell Awaits) by the American thrash metal band Slayer, released through Metal Blade Records in 1985. The band's previous release, Show No Mercy, became Metal Blade Records highest selling release, which led producer Brian Slagel wish to release another album. Slagel financed a recording budget (Show No Mercy was self-financed by band members) and recruited several experienced producers to help in the studio.
Hell Awaits featured the band's most progressive and diverse work compared to their previous releases, having faster, thrash orientated songs, and is cited as an influence by many extreme metal bands. The album had several re-issues, including bonus tracks taken from the EP Haunting the Chapel.
Although it did not enter any charts, Hell Awaits was noted for being Slayer's most progressive recording, featuring much darker thrash orientated style, adding unusual arrangements such as varying tempos, and dissonant nuances that "Paved the way to a wholly distinctive sound all their own," according to All Music Guide reviewer Eduardo Rivadavia. Rivadavia awarded the album four out of five stars, calling it an "irresistible force, but one could still make a confident point that Hell Awaits uniquely daunting compositions arguably proved just as influential to future extreme metal acts."
E.N.Death of the blackened death metal band The Deviant from Norway says the song "Hell Awaits" and Slayer's music in general has influenced him as a musician, ranking the album in his top five. Lenzig Leal of the doom metal band Cephalic Carnage also ranked the album in his top five. The band Cradle of Filth covered "Hell Awaits" and released it on the Japanese release of their album Dusk and Her Embrace, which featured three bonus covers, "Hell Awaits" being one of them.