is a common name. Say it to a fan, and they go ballistic. Say it to your parents, and they scowl. Say it to a priest, and well, you’ll probably have an exorcism performed on you. One of the biggest names in the Thrash community, Slayer
is part of the ‘Big Four’, which is made up of Anthrax
, and the once-juggernaut Metallica
. Most of these big names, save Anthrax
, have had some rough times lately in the album area. Megadeth
released constant let-down after let-down, namely albums like “Risk
”, until they came to “The System Has Failed
” which showed a recognizable return to their past thrash-roots. Metallica
, on the other hand, who was the king, hit an all-time low with the unbearable “St. Anger
”, and we have yet to see whether their new album with live up to their name.
So what about Slayer
They’ve had it rough as well. After releasing “Divine Intervention
”, which should’ve been called “Seasons in the Abyss: Part 2
”, critics went straight to their throats, claiming the band had lost its edge. Which was rather confusing, seeing as how “Divine Intervention
” was rather underrated and still was a great trip. So, like most bands do when they seem to be stuck in the rut, Slayer
aimed to redefine their sound. What occurred, which was “Diabolus in Musica
”, could’ve very easily have been labeled as their “St. Anger
”. Incorporating a slight “Metalcore” sound and mixing in some “Nu-Metal” here and there, it was a nauseating effort. Slayer
must’ve realized this, as their next album, “God Hates Us All
”, showed the band packing the intensity and anger from their previous albums, as well as some of their sound, into the style of playing that was found on “Diabolus in Musica
”. What resulted was a moderately well accepted album, that while good for the first few days, wound up feeling somewhat flat.
So what’s become of Slayer
now, with the release of an EP, entitled “Eternal Pyre
Well, they’re back, about ¾ of it anyway.
”, which is the only real song off this EP, is the new single from their upcoming untitled album that will hit stores July 25th. The other two features off this EP are a live video of “War Ensemble
” live in Germany, and a studio video of these guys playing “Cult
” is almost like a blender. The intro, which is a single-guitar, is very low on distortion and rather slow at first. It’s strange, because usually a slow intro from these guys would be very eerie, and ghastly, such as on “South of Heaven
” or “Dead Skin Mask
”, but not here. It’s more of a build-up of tension, as you wait for that moment when the speakers will blast. After a while of this, in which the guitar flicks on the distortion and it comes in more powerful, it moves onto another build-up of sorts, when Dave and Tom come in pounding away while Jeff and Kerry begin to chug away slowly. It’s then that the riff that most of us have heard off their website hit you in the face un-relentlessly. The buzzsaw-like guitars are only showcased for a few mere seconds before it moves into a thick-palm muted verse that will remind you of a mix between “War Ensemble
” and “Disciple
”. Tom’s voice has also taken a slight turn for the better. Not only does he incorporate his old style of speed-talking, he twists it to be almost like speed-sceam-talking, instead of just yelling like he did all over on “Diabolus in Musica
”. The chorus, which features grinding guitars and dominance from Dave’s bass drum, includes lyrics such as “Religion is hate, Religion is fear, Religion is war! / Religion is rape, Religion’s obscene, Religion’s a whore!
” After Tom showcasing some of his fastest vocals this side of “Dittohead
”, he lets out a yell of “6-6-6!”, which cues a whammy-bar abuses solo. Typical Slayer
solo here, whammy-bar abuse +insane shredding (mash of notes) + slight whammy-bar abuse again = Kerry/Jeff solo. It kicks back the aggressive verse, then into the spiteful chorus. The bridge that follows seems like it took a note or two from a “Metalcore” bridge (I will NOT call it a break-down!), with hard-hitting chugging guitars and a popping snare drum from Dave, with Tom yelling over it all “Jesus is pain, Jesus is gore, Jesus is the spilled that’s spilled in war! / He’s everything, He’s all things dead, He’s pulling down the trigger that’s pointed at your head!
”. What follows is another Slayer
solo, this one using a good load of “wah”. Then back to that chorus that pops up all over place, before the outro begins to kick in. The outro consists of an almost classic Slayer
riff, with a huge emphasis on palm-mutes and a quick fill at the end of each. Another solo comes “whammy-barring in”, before the song pounds itself out.
So how’d I feel about the song" It’s good stuff. It drags on a little long, which takes away from the power and intensity showcased during it. It’s not exactly a continuation of “God Hates Us All
”, which is a good thing in a sense, but it does take a few pointers from songs like “Disciple
” from it, though “Disciple
” was a great song. Tom’s voice, as I pointed out earlier, is another improvement. He became rather annoying on the past two albums, but here, it’s enough of the old mixed with the new to make up some tolerance of it. Actually, forget tolerance. It sounds pretty damn good. The same thing goes for Kerry and Jeff, the “Nu-Metal” is completely gone, as some of it was still previous on the past album. This song is seriously like half-and-half of “War Ensemble
” and “Disciple
”. And while Paul Bostaph was a good drummer, well, Dave is better. He doesn’t bang away all day and give the listener hearing problems like Paul did. He’s more restricted, but his fills all over this song are incredible, and downright fast.
Overall rating for “Cult”
Now, as for the rest of this so-called “EP”, it only has two other features, which is a complete annoyance if you ask me. I mean, it only cost me 6 bucks, but seriously, one song" And you call it an EP" Get real. Of the two videos, the only one worth watching really is the live version of “War Ensemble
”. It’s played live in Germany, and its pretty funny to see how old Tom looks now, with his grey beard. And Jeff also gives you the finger as he walks on the stage, which was cool. But the best part about their appearance had to be Kerry King, as he showcased those huge-ass wrist-spikes that he used to wear way back in the earlier days of “Show No Mercy
”. It’s also great to see Dave playing with him, as he brings back his old beats near-perfectly. The song playing overall is still superb, they hit everything dead on. As for the other video, its just them in the studio playing “Cult
” with no vocals, and there's some funny clips here and there of them messing around in-between the playing, but it’s nothing really spectacular.
I was disappointed, as I had really wanted to the see the promised “Live Intrusion” video of the fan that carved the band’s name into his arm. I almost shed a tear.
My recommendation" Don’t buy this EP unless you REALLY want to see a live video of “War Ensemble
” and a studio video of “Cult
”. Just buy the new song off of “iTunes”, as it’s on there, and it’s probably only 99 cents. This thing was 6 bucks, and all I really got was one new song. However, the new song is pretty darn good, and if it’s a representation of what’s in store for us on July 25th, I’m damn excited.
Overall EP grade
After a whole day's worth of listening to "Cult
" (seriously, there's only one audio track on this EP, it ain't hard to do folks), I have come to reconsider my previous rating of 4.5/5 and am changing it to a full 5. "Cult
" showcases some of the finest musical qualities Slayer
has shown since "Seasons in the Abyss
", and while it certainly is no "Angel of Death
" or "South of Heaven
", it's the best song Slayer
has written out of all the tracks off of "Diabolus in Musica
" and "God Hates Us All
New Rating for "Cult"