Seasons In The Abyss
Review by Luka on August 18, 2001.
Throughout the years, the name Slayer has always meant one thing: dark, aggressive, Satanic metal! Anywhere in the world, wear a Slayer shirt and you’ll have a friend. With their fifth full-length album, the guys keep up the everlasting tradition of amazing albums. "Seasons..." proudly marks the point of perfection Slayer have reached in their career.
The opening shredder, 'War Ensemble', opens the bloody gates of war and unleashes total destruction on the listener. The amazing guitar duo, King and Hanneman, prove to the metal world who truly pulls the strings (of distortion). Amazing solos ('Born of Fire', 'Seasons in the Abyss') as well as riffs ('Spirit in Black', 'Dead Skin Mask') dominate the album. Tom Araya’s voice is as dismal and unfeeling as ever, and it only works to the music’s advantage. Dave Lombardo (a legend on the drums) doesn’t let up for a bit and perfectly adds violent structure to the songs with relentless double-bass drumming and lightning-speed fillers.
The production is the only low point here. Everything sounds dreary and lifeless, making some songs seem boring and monotone (especially the slower ones). Rick Rubin has been with the band since ’86 and has disappointed me on this release. Fast and Slayer’s traditionally violent songs like 'War Ensemble' lack the necessary energy and spirit needed for a ripping thrash tune. On the faster songs, some notes are buried in the muddy distorted sound.
The bands amazing talent, however, is not buried under the bad production. Certain songs benefit from the cold, unfeeling sound, like the eerie 'Dead Skin Mask' and even the epic title track. Not a masterpiece but certainly an excellent album that won’t disappoint even the most skeptic Slayer fan.
Bottom Line: A very solid album from the Kings of Thrash Metal.
Rating: 8 out of 10