Slayer
Seasons in the Abyss


4.5
superb

Review

by Andrew Buckley USER (16 Reviews)
February 9th, 2011 | 33 replies


Release Date: 1990 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Slayer is dead; long live Slayer.

I admit, I used to be a blind Slayer hater too, judging the entire band based merely off a few snippets that I'd heard forever ago of "Angel Of Death", "Raining Blood", and the title track of this album. No doubt, most of their pre-Reign In Blood songs still remain unimpressive, and they sure as hell haven't recorded a song since 1991 that was worth the time to listen (besides "Psychopathy Red", as unoriginal as it may be). And besides, it was easy to once-upon-a-time buy into the groupthink that wrote off the slaying ones as nothing more than a dumb, mediocre, generic (if aggressive) thrash band with an obnoxiously shouting singer. Reign In Blood actually does have some songs that are kind of dumb (overly straightforward) in their songwriting. However, follow-up South Of Heaven saw Slayer dramatically up their songwriting layers, if you will, though that record also saw a downward shift in the song speeds, losing some of that visceral aggression that made Reign such a legend in the annals of thrash.

So, where does that leave Seasons Of The Abyss then? Well, it's almost as if the band foresee that they would eventually turn into a dull parody of themselves over the coming 2 decades, so they decided to end the classic section of their career with a bang, by taking some of the blistering tempos from Reign In Blood and combining that with the songwriting intelligence and complexity of South Of Heaven, and also mixing in the occasional, catchy mid-tempo track to keep things varied, and kinda offer the best of both worlds when it came to elements off the previous 2 records. Frantic, hyperactive cuts like "War Ensemble", "Hallowed Point", & "Born Of Fire" offer all the old-school thrashage you could ask for, while catchy mid-tempo stuff like "Expendable Youth", "Skeletons Of Society", and the title track offer up some variety, and prove that old-school Slayer was good at more than just going all-out all the time.

Opener "War Ensemble" has to be one of the brainiest songs Slayer ever wrote, highly complex with its song switch-ups, tempo & riff changes, and Dave Lombardo's incredibly memorable, numerous, always-inventive drum fills, all while making the song's constantly-driving momentum keep charging forward and forward and forward, always, ever, onwards and upwards, endlessly, like an unstoppable, blitzkrieg-ing, jack-booted army.... ahem. Anyway, "War Ensemble" is one of those songs that feels a lot longer than it is, but in a good way, since there's just so much good stuff in it.

Anyway anyway, Seasons has one of Lombardo's finest drum performances to date, if not the finest, with his signature bouncy groove at its bounciest/grooviest, and with entertaining drum fills just falling out his ass he has so many of 'em. They particularly get the chance to shine out on the mid-tempo numbers, and to quote a fellow Internet metalhead ( http://www.globaldomination.se/top10/gd-s-top-10-best-metal-drummers , because I can't put it any better); Dave kind of "plays his own 'songs'" within the songs, where you're as likely "to remember his fills as much as you remember the riffs", and he plays "like he means every" single hit instead of just trying to blast away the whole time. Yes, blasters like Gene Hoglan or Vitek are impressive, but it's also refreshing to hear a kit-basher who truly puts some thought and care into what he's playing, who keeps his playing consistently varied, and consistently interesting for his listeners.

Anyway, at any rate, I think I've said my piece on Seasons In The Abyss (and Slayer in general), and why it/they mean something to me. Metal newbs, be aware, if you want smart metal that'll still put some hair on your chest, check out Seasons. But, Slayer, just please forgive me for ever thinking you guys were a dumb band.

Slayer is dead; long live Slayer.


RECOMMENDED TRACK: "War Ensemble" (my favorite Slayer song)




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user ratings (2145)
Chart.
4.2
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other reviews of this album

Comments:Add a Comment 
Smalley
February 9th 2011


108 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Heh, sorry about the messed-up URLs, please don't neg my review for 'em, it's the first time I've tried them on Sputnik. Can anyone help me fix 'em?

Pyosisified
February 9th 2011


2450 Comments


overrated

Tyrael
February 9th 2011


20979 Comments


Derp.

LepreCon
February 9th 2011


4156 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Derp [2]

Pyosisified
February 9th 2011


2450 Comments


should be like this i think [URL][/URL] (insert your link between)

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
February 9th 2011


7432 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Have a look on the FAQ that'll tell you how to do links.

Probably my 2nd favourite Slayer album.

Pyosisified
February 9th 2011


2450 Comments


5 it

kygermo
February 9th 2011


996 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I agree, probably Lombardo's best drumming. Album rules.

Tyrael
February 9th 2011


20979 Comments


Dave Lombardo is an animal.

Smalley
February 9th 2011


108 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"overrated"
Why do you think that?
"Have a look on the FAQ that'll tell you how to do links."
Already looked earlier, and changed it to what Pyo recommended, but where am I supposed to place my hyperlinked text in the mix?

psite45
February 9th 2011


275 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

SLAYER!!! fuck yeah this album rocks!! Skeletons of Society is one of my favorite Slayer songs.

ConsiderPhlebas
February 9th 2011


6157 Comments


Take the link out and just name the song. Even if the link worked it would be awkward in the review.

Smalley
February 9th 2011


108 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Alright, I re-edited it again.

"SLAYER!!! fuck yeah this album rocks!! Skeletons of Society is one of my favorite Slayer songs."
Yup, one of the best examples of mid-tempo Slayer out there.

daveypeach
February 9th 2011


86 Comments


waaaaarrrrrrrrr

Pillbox
February 9th 2011


67 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I saw them in July. They played the whole 'Seasons' album + angel of Death + south of heaven+ 2 songs from their newest album. That was fantastic. The best show in my life.

Smalley
February 9th 2011


108 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"I saw them in July. They played the whole 'Seasons' album + angel of Death + south of heaven+ 2 songs from their newest album. That was fantastic. The best show in my life."
Awesome; do you remember which World Painted Blood tracks they did?

kangaroopoo
February 9th 2011


3175 Comments


good description of the album although the review would feel stronger without casual usage such as: “kinda, &, anyway anyway, stuff, ass, brainiest, dumb, ‘em.”

south_of_heaven 11
February 9th 2011


5438 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

No doubt, most of their pre-Reign In Blood songs still remain unimpressive


Really wanted to stop reading here, but I pressed on until...

So, where does that leave Seasons Of The Abyss then


...then I stopped reading.


BallsToTheWall
February 9th 2011


44805 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You called Slayer dumb and you're still alive and unharmed? And Angel of death unimpressive? Please, someone give this man a steel toed boot to the face.


I'm so startled.

vanderb0b
February 9th 2011


3473 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Show No Mercy and Haunting the Chapel are their best by far, but this is also pretty cool.



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