I’ve been a Slayer fan for almost 15 years now, and I clearly remember how in a promo-interview after “Seasons in the Abyss” was released in 1990 Tom Araya promised, that from that year on they would release a new album every year, because they felt very creative. And then… BANG! Dave Lombardo left the band, and there was 4 years of silence.Upon listening to this record, on one hand, I was really happy to have yet another violent thrash record by my favourite band at that time. On the other, something was missing. That something was the diversity of the drums that only Lombardo could provide. I’m not saying that Paul Bostaph is a bad drummer, no way, but he has certain limitations. These limitations lead Slayer into more punkish/hardcore realm with their music. Like “Seasons in the Abyss” crossed with something like D.R.I. With that change, the vocal style has changed too, to more hardcore angry tone, and again, diversity was lost on the way.While I like most of the songs offered here, some of them just don’t glue with me. And seeing how this path ultimately has broought Slayer to an utter disgrace in form of “God Hates Us All”, I can only sigh, because “Divine Intervention” proves that, while pleasantly violent, it’s not classic Slayer any more, and never will there be.
Metal Album Reviews[RSS]
this is the only slayer album that kerry king write most of the songs, and therefore it is their best recording ever! Killing fields, 213, and Divine Intervention is the greatest songs ever to be recorded! If you haven’t been into trash/metal before, you should start by listening to this. this is awesome!
After going a bit softer with “South Of Heaven” and “Seasons In The Abyss”, Slayer went back to their roots while still moving ahead to new sounds with their 1994 offering “Divine Intervention”. This album has such an enormous amount of fury and rage on it, that it makes you wonder when your speakers are going to explode. Some of the songs are slow and creepy, while others are pure, extreme thrash. Sex, Murder, Art could’ve been on “Reign In Blood” easily. It’s short, fast and furious. Dittohead, a song about the flaws of the judicial system is probably one of Slayer’s fastest and best songs ever. This CD also has some of the creepiest, sickest and darkest lyrics in Slayer’s catalog. 213 is about serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer… The title of Sex, Murder, Art pretty much explains the song. The musicianship on the entire album is incredible. Paul Bostaph’s drum attack at the beginning of Killing Fields is mind-blowing, making it into one of the greatest intros ever. Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman provide some excellent riffs and solos, and Tom Araya just enhances the music with his bass lines and incredible vocals. This 36 minute set of anger, rage and aggression is sure to please any hardcore metal fan.
Where to begin? Even the cover art chosen for this album is perfect, the medieval feel of the swords and dungeon-esque stone circle recall Slayer’s early 80s image, such as the cover of Show No Mercy, but the laughing skull whose nose forms the spine of a human skeleton against a backdrop of the infinity of the universe infuses a feel of vast loneliness, finality and horror. This album is really something special- the themes in the cover art seem to find their way into the songs on the album, almost like the band was using the art as inspiration (or vice-versa). Take the song `Divine Intervention’, where the twisting arrangement climbs to an eerie, `final’ -sounding plateau, while Tom Araya’s voice (coming from several directions at once) speaks suitably angst-ridden lyrics over the echoing, hollow guitars with a conviction rarely heard on other albums. This is key – the conviction on this album, this is the sound of a band after a 10 year dominance of the genre; playing at the edge of their ability and unafraid to take risks. From the commanding opener, `Killing Fields’, through the vicious `Sex Murder Art’, and on through the haunting `213′, every element in the music seems to fit perfectly, leaving the listener on the edge of their seat.
Once you’re through listening to it, the album feels `epic’: so many dark places have been visited, no songs sounding even similar to each other – every song has its own vibe and manic, distressed guitar work. The guitars on this album are mesmerizing. Others may disagree, but the ‘different’ tone has a lot to do with it (I read somewhere that Kerry and Jeff switched from Marshall JCM800s to modified JCM900s for this album). What ever they did – it drives the mood of the album perfectly, having a sort of ‘over the edge’ and ‘gushy’ sound to it – very sinister. It’s also cool that Jeff’s guitar sounds different than Kerry’s – think when the first guitar comes in on `Killing Fields’, then a louder, more-midreangey one crash-lands into the mix playing the same riff, taking up the intensity a hundredfold with its looser, over-the-top sound. The songs on this album consistently employ this sort of `edgy’ guitar work, full of odd timing and sprawling, decrepit solos. I was frankly devastated upon hearing the standard-metal riffs resorted to on their next release, Diabolous in Musica, but we won’t go there.
My review falls far short of conveying the unique darkness on this album. I’m often surprised to hear what other heavy metal fans seem to value in music. It seems many people are really only seeking something -fast-, aggressive, lots of yelling etc. If you are someone like that, on a surface level this album will not disappoint. However, if you crave music for its atmosphere, its ability to convey our darkest and most suffocating doubts about our existence, and true unapologetic, unrestrained art, then this album is essential listening. A high water mark for Slayer.
Even though Dave was gone with this release, Slayer stayed strong. While it isn’t as good as their first 5 albums, it is still worthy of 5 starts and amazing. This was the last Slayer album I bought, simply because I listened too everybody else too much. I figured if it was like Reign in Blood part 2, I wanted nothing to do with it. Simply because If I wanna listen to Reign in Bl0od then well, i’ll listen to Reign in Blood. However, I don’t really see it, this album stands as a strong but sadly over looked Slayer classic. Jeff and King seem like they may slow it down a little bit here, which at first was annoying, i’d be sitting listening to this album, grinding my teeth waiting for it to speed up (i.e. ss-3) Once I got over that though, it seems that the speed might have done more wrong than right for this album. Don’t get me wrong, it is still quite fast. Vocal wise, this is up there with South of Heaven as one of Tom’s best vocal performances. While dave is missed (welcome back!!!) Paul does a steady job of filling in, as he would for years. All in all, don’t let the few nay sayers stop you from purchasing this album. It’s Slayer, never dissapointed. Never anything less.
Killing Fields – 5/5 Talk about starting an album off with an anthem. This is one where I could only imagine how crazy the crowd is at a live show while this one is being played. The first 25 seconds can’t even begin to prepare you for what happens next. To think, this is only the first song.
Sex. Murder. Art. – 5/5 A fast one and definetly a good one. A good opening riff leads into killer lyrics/vocals. I feel the drums slow it down a little too much in the start of things but after about 20 seconds, that is not a problem. Definetly a personal favorite of mine. Also a wonderful song name. Tom flows quite well with his vocals here. Should please any thrash maniac.
Fictional Reality – 5/5 Reminds me of a faster version of “Killing Fields” the main riff here, is one of the most memorable from this album. Probably Pauls best work is here. He really helps the flow of the song click well.
Dittohead – 4/5 The intro riff tells you one thing. “This song is going to be short and fast” which is pretty much what it is. One of the fastest here. Part of me thinks they tried to make it too slow and sped it up a bit too much and maybe should have added another 45 seconds or so to this one.
Divine Intervention – 5/5 A song that lets you take a small break. A bit long for the normal Slayer song, over 5 + minutes. Really sets the mood for the second half of the album. Not one to be missed. I love the dark almost depressing feel of the outro for this song.
Circle of Beliefs – 4.5/5 Right away, Tom starts belting it out with his vocals, I wish this song had more of an intro to it. Other than that I can’t think of anything else wrong with this. It has one of the best solos on the album. It almost has a “distant” feel which gives it more atmosphere when a solo isn’t being played.
SS-3 – 6/5 A song that took me some getting used to. When I did though, it became one of my favorites if not my favorite. The riffs here are the darkest you will find on this album. a song that w ill beat you jsut as hard as any other Slayer track but jsut doing it a bit slower. Enoguh to agonize.
Serenity in Murder – 4.5/5 The song name says it all, I don’t think I need to say anything more. This is the type of asylum patient violence we’ve come to love from Slayer. only here, Tom does some really good singing, which could be called “Spooky” definetly adds something to the song. The guitars hold back here, that doesn’t kill the song though.
213 – Definetly the song with the most atmosphere here. The string intro is just great. One of the best songs here. Not one to be passed over. The chorus is a bit choppy but other than that it is great.
Mind Control – 4.5/5 One of the fastest songs here. Can’t go wrong with that. A good way to go out. Tom seems to put a little more venom into his vocals here. Great guitar solos as well.
So once again, you can never go wrong with Slayer. Enjoy.