Review Summary: Slayer went experimental, did it result as a dissapointment or was it great? Maybe it ended somewhere in the middle.
Slayer. The name of a band that has been stirring up controversy since ‘83. The name that some might see as satanic, some as “those crazy guys”, some as a terrible band that lives just because of pure controversy, some as the best thrash band ever, some as just a solid band all around. I am a part of the last group, mind you. With their 7th studio effort, Diabolus in Musica, the band decided to go on a new direction. As many of you know, commonly when a band says they’re “changing their sound” the critics go crazy with how will it be so they can… Well, criticize it, and the fans might as well die of fear of what the result could be. Diabolus in Musica is not different at all. In this delivery, the band decided abandon the Seasons in the Abyss sound and give more groove and a thicker guitar sound to their style. And for the most part, it works.
The opening track, Bitter Peace
is a good show of their new sound while mixing it with their old sound. The 2 minute intro is quite good, starting slow and giving a good build-up. It’s possibly the 2nd fastest song of the album, and definitely a highlight. Of the new sound, you can notice Araya using more voice effects, drumming is groovier. There’s 2 solos, typical Slayer style. Overall, a good song. The next song, Death’s Head
opens with bass and drums, then the main riff starts. Their new sound is pretty much obvious here. By 2:08, Araya starts playing a bassline that sounds like something of some old Slipknot CD, then the whole band joins in. Good song overall, but not a highlight. But the next song, Stain of Mind
, is one. More groove in the opening, and then the verse opens. Then a short pre-chorus that is whispered, quite cool. The chorus is the best part of the song:
In fire baptized
All pain sifts through my soul
You’ll never feel greater misery
Master of my enemy
Let the purest stain of mind
Wash the virtue from your eyes!
The solo in this song is quite good too, ending with King doing some insane string bending which makes it sound really high-pitched. A highlight song. Next comes Overt Enemy
. Intro with some radio broadcasts sounding, cliche but works well. Slow song overall, until 2:54, where it gains some speed. Quite a good riff there. A good song, though nothing special. Then comes Perversions of Pain
. Enter the cheesiest lyrics of all Slayer:
You better learn my name
‘cuz I’m the one insane
This is another fast song, yet not as good as Bitter Peace. With some solos thrown here and there, it’s actually a nice listen. In fact, the first solo is thrown after the first chorus. Song ends with Araya screaming “A higher level of pain” many times. Enter Love to Hate
. The main riff sounds kinda Black Sabbath like. This is yet again a highlight. The chorus is definitely one of the most aggressive ones here:
You love to hate me
But you won’t kill me
Desensitize the world!
The riffs are good, we get one of King’s best solos, and the chorus sounds great. Sadly, it’s followed by the 2nd worst song on the album, Desire
. After an interesting acoustic intro, the main riff starts playing, and Araya enters, trying to sound like a true necrophiliac (Which is the theme of the song), but he ends up sounding like a bad rip-off of Kurt Cobain mumbling every word. The solos in this song are typical Slayer bad, and the song feels like it drags on for too long. By the time it finishes, you’ll be happy that it has actually finished.
The situation doesn’t get really much better, in any case. In The Name of God
is one of the most repetitive songs of the album. A slow chugging riff in the verses, a few power chords for the chorus. By 1:50, the song gets faster, but it’s still a repetitive riff. King’s lyrics don’t make it much better. After Tom screams “Antichrist is the name of God!
a few times, King gives another terrible solo.
Of course, it had to get better, and Scrum
gets the image clearer for this album. Lyrics based on… Rugby" Yes, believe it or not, that’s what the song is about. And the pace of this song fits the theme. It’s a fast thrasher, with Araya screaming with quite a bit or power. Good solo, too. Also the shortest song of the album, but still quite good, a highlight more.
Sadly, then comes Screaming from the Sky
. If you thought it couldn’t get more repetitive than In The Name of God
, I’m sad to tell you that you were wrong. This song is even more repetitive, with a riff that is basically the same during the entire song. Araya sings through a walkie-talkie or something, lame effect in this song, but would later be reused in Christ Illusion
for an amazing ending.
But it picks up for the ending. Point
is easily the fastest song of the album, and possibly the best song of the album. Starts somewhat slow, but builds speed. A great solo by the beginning, then it becomes a force to be reckoned with. Araya screams with a lot of energy, then 2 really fast solos which use the typical formula of their solos, but more reminiscent of Reign in Blood. Araya screams ”Point is where all die!
, a bit of drumming to get the song to an end, and the album closes.
Slayer went, decided what they wanted to do, did it and pulled it off quite well. The sound here was perfected in God Hates Us All (Well, kind of) and Christ Illusion. And heck, did they perfect the sound. Quite a good album, definitely better than God Hates us All and Divine Intervention (I feel there is too much filler in both), and far from their worst, even though not as good as their early stuff. Could have been better, but it is definitely not their worst as many claim it to be.
Pros and Cons:
+Has more groove than any of their stuff
+Thicker, heavier guitar sound
+Great production quality
+Some great solos
+The highlights are quite great: Bitter Peace, Stain of Mind, Love To Hate, Scrum and Point.
-Araya’s vocals can be annoying
-Some songs are too repetitive (In The Name of God, Screaming From The Sky)
The good outweighs the bad, in any case
Individual Track Ratings:
Bitter Peace - 5/5
Death’s Head - 4/5
Stain Of Mind - 5/5
Overt Enemy 3.7/5
Perversions of Pain - 3.5/5
Love to Hate - 4.5/5
Desire - 2.5/5
In The Name of God - 2.75/5
Scrum - 4.5/5
Screaming from the Sky - 2.5/5
Point - 5/5
Total Score: 3.9/5, which I approximate to 4.