Seasons in the Abyss



by bicepman4000 USER (12 Reviews)
June 2nd, 2006 | 10 replies

Release Date: 1990 | Tracklist

For me, Seasons In the Abyss is Slayer's pinnacle. It is Metallica's ...And Justice For All. It is Fear Factoy's Demanufacture. It is Pantera's Far Beyond Driven. Oddly enough, all of these albums mark the change of style for each band. While Metallica released the hugely popular (and in my opinion grossly overrated) Black album in 1990, Slayer come out with Seasons. It followed their thrash/speed/(whatever other genre people come up with) metal albums, being Reign in Blood and South of Heaven (plus earlier, rawer stuff). These two albums were different in many respects, but on the whole represent their earlier, thrashy style. After Seasons, Slayer changed drummers and released Devine Intervention and Diabolus in Musica. These two albums, in my view, embraced the emerging Nu-Metal of the 90's and were in that mould. I feel that Seasons in the Abyss sits in between, but is somewhat closer to their earlier music. It is thrashy in some songs, but not anywhere near "let's see how fast we can play" like their earlier material. With the scene set, onto the album;

1. War Ensemble
This is how one begins a metal album. It is fast, it is aggressive, it has killer riffs and solos, and it has awesome drumming. The song itself is war being fought as a sport by, I assume, America and given the year in Iraq. There is a small drum solo at 2:13 which pricks up your ears before the song slows a little to consolidate after the initial charge. The song slows to a trot with the guitars and drums tapping with the beat and Tom screams WAR! as the second solo arcs up, and other verse and chorus brings the song to an end. I don't give 5 often... 5/5

2. Blood Red
This one has a bit more of a slow chunky riff compared to War Ensemble and compliments it well. It has a catchy beat and I always find myself nodding to this one. The solo is also good in this one with both guitarists alternating the duties, definitely improvements seen from earlier solos. The song ends somewhat abruptly and goes straight in track 3. A good consolidator.

3. Spirit In Black
We are met with one of the best riffs on the album, and then the song quickly moves on. Another great solo, which continues on with a wail through the following chorus. This one is hard and fast, which scents of their Reign in Blood. Again, a second solo and another verse round out this one well.

4. Expendable Youth
Starts with a chugging riff and a big gong hit (thatís G ong) gives this song an eerie feel. The drums punching in is an album highlight for me (listen to this bit!) and slow double kick matches the riff. The song grinds on with a slower beat and is a good rest between the three previous tracks. Not a standout, but still a great song.

5. Dead Skin Mask
Just like South of Heaven, this one actually creates an atmosphere, a facet Slayer did not have in the earlier material. It starts with the songs main with being alternated between guitarists, and Tom speaking in a very deep and calm yet somewhat disturbing voice. This song seems very thought out with a lot more care taken for what is happening, when and how. The song builds to peak at the solo and lets you wind back down, to finish with the chorus and a high squeaky voice muttering something. "The dead have taken my soul, temptation has lost all control" Yeh!

6. Hallowed Point
This song bolts out the stalls and does not slow the whole way. Nothing much happens for 1 minute and 11 seconds except a lot of fast guitars and drumming, then... there is this awesome break down and lone guitar moment which stands this track out. This sort of stuff was not seen much on their earlier stuff and, for me, gives Slayer that little bit extra musically. The song does slow a little sorry, but it leads straight into the next track without a break in sound, and is another slow one so it works really well. 4.5/5

7. Skeletons of Society
Like I say, another slow chunky song. Sort of similar to track 4, but not likely to get stuck in your head like 4. The standout aspect of this song is the chorus, where Tom speaking in between singing. It sort of sounds cool, and this song is not a bad one, but is a filler between the albums highs. 3/5

8. Temptation
A return to fast and thrashy for this one. The verse is peculiar with two voices, both Tom's, singing. The first sounds slightly muffled and the second one starts before the first has finished the line, barbershop style! It works really well though. The lone guitar intermission is the best I've heard, yep, better than Angel of Death which would be second. If a band wanted to copy a lone guitar bit then I would suggest this one. An awesome solo follows, then the song slows and breaks up a little before the lone guitar bit returns to, and the rest of the instruments join in to round this one out. 4.5/5

9. Born of Fire
This one could have been on Reign in Blood or Hell Awaits. It is pure thrash with an average solo, as seen on those albums. The finishing riff and second solo are a little slower and more coherent, and give this song credibility. The only weak song on the album 2/5

10. I was up late one night as a 15 year old watching rage and Les Claypool was the guest programmer (Aussies will know what this means), anyway at like 2 in the morning this video is played, and I am thinking to myself, who the hell is Slayer and where can I get it. This was my first taste of Slayer, and changed my taste in music to heavier music. The song itself, looking back now, is not as good as others on the album, or other favourites of mine, but it is THAT song for me. It starts slowly with the intro, and builds for 1:44 to break into the faster verse riff. In the chorus Tom sings with a chanting type style which works really well. One thing about his singing is you can understand for the most part what he is saying. The song ends with the intro repeated and ends the album well, good closure. 4/5

This is a very solid album. For me it was my initiation into metal and lead me to the rest of Slayer and so many other heavy bands. Definitely an essential addition to my collection.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
June 2nd 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

This review wasn't entirely necessary, and there were a few things that were wrong. South of Heaven wasn't a thrash/speed album. That album really showed a slower and heavier side to the band. Slayer's other two albums you listed didn't really "embrace" nu-metal, either.

This review was pretty weak, actually. We already have plenty and this didn't add anything new.

Edit: and why did you include As I Lay Dying's album as a suggestion? They don't sound anything like this album.This Message Edited On 06.02.06

June 2nd 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

You have got to be kidding... For one I said South of Heven was different to Reign in Blood, which it clearly is. I may have ommited that is is not thrash, but my point is it is a part of their earlier style. Their next albums, especially Diabolus, I think is very nu-metallish, opinion... I am flogging Shadows Are Security at the moment, and I hear so many facets of Slayer in their music. The lone guitar pauses, the drumming, some of the riffs. I feel justified putting it there. Lastly, I didn't like any of the reviews for this album, so I wrote one which in which I tried to convey the points I value about this album.

June 3rd 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

For one of your first reviews, it was a decent effort. I agree with you on some of your points but I really think 'Skeletons of Society' is an amazing song.

south_of_heaven 11
June 3rd 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

its Pantera's Far Beyond Driven

The only thing that album got right was the cover art, cause it really did feel like someone was taking a drill to my head when i listened to that s**t.

After Seasons, Slayer changed drummers and released Devine Intervention and Diabolus in Musica. These two albums, in my view, embraced the emerging Nu-Metal of the 90's

eh, Diabolus to a point...but in no way did Divine Intervention. Divine was more like "Seasons in the Abyss, part 2."

Overall, decent effort.

August 3rd 2006


Album Rating: 2.0

What Thor said.

August 3rd 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

What I said after him comment...

south_of_heaven 11
August 3rd 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

Man I love this album...

October 24th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

"The song itself is war being fought as a sport by, I assume, America and given the year in Iraq."

uhhhh... I think this album was released before the war

"You have got to be kidding... ...Their next albums, especially Diabolus, I think is very nu-metallish, opinion... "

Nu-Metal? How did you figure that out? Nu-metal is an twist on the phrase "New Metal" and I guess most off us would find Slayer to be "Old Metal"

Uh... I liked every Pantera album better than Far beyond driven (not including pre-cowboys) but I can't see how pantera fit into a slayer review, they're groove man.This Message Edited On 10.24.06

March 17th 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

Trudging through some of my old reviews... wtf?!?

Hardspot, you should go get a clue... nu-metal is a genre which was prominant in the late 90's/early 00's, incedently when DiM was released!

And you do know there was a gulf war before the current war in Iraq?

October 3rd 2009


The album owns...easily (imo) the second best Slayer album...I did like 'God Hates Us All' though. Anyways, my 'Seasons In The Abyss' review is so much better.

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