Review Summary: This is the best produced Slayer album at the time with innovative drumming.Also it is great for workout.
Let's see.The standard intro would for this review sound something like this "After the pummeling "Raining Blood", and toned down, yet great "South of Heaven", Slayer registered "Seasons in the Abyss" as a re-calibrating piece between the two while returning to speed...".
And what speed it is.A thing that I really believe and is not being addressed in other reviews of this album, is how much of a influence Dave Lombardo's drumming on "Seasons..." is or turned out to be in extreme metal scene of the 90's and 2000's.It's spectacular.His precise attacks on rhythm, his inventive fills and feel of it and, of course, the amazing sound that he got for this recording is really unique and groundbreaking, in my opinion.And timeless.I can go through the album just by listening to Dave's drumming to have a lot of fun with it.It is amazing.
Here is a short description of the album "besties" shown throughout some if is tracks:
Leaving Dave aside, the riffs are amazing also."War Ensemble" is a masterpiece of riffing and rhythm, with an amazing performance of Araya on the vocals.The hard-core punk roots of Slayer are best expressed through Tom's vocal style, at this time.And the lyrics are great here too.I think this track sums up best parts of "Seasons..."
"Dead Skin Mask" is the track that stands out as most creative, in my opinion.The mood of the intro riff, the strong lyrics and the spoken child voice in the middle make this one of the darkest pieces in metal.One of the things that I like about Slayer the most is their ability to immerse in twisted mindsets and create almost perfect cinematic characters.Well, sometimes.When they do reach this level, it is great, just like the Mengele character in "Angel of Death" or the anti-religious character in "Disciple".Hats off to the lyrics and creativity in this one.
"Seasons of the Abyss"...a classic Slayer track by now with one of their most studied riff - the one that gives the pace of the track and supports Tom's vocal line perfectly.Here Dave is magical, as he pummels the best fills in his career.Every time I listen to it, I am amazed by his drumming.
The political themes of oppression and power are best expressed in the slow-paced "Expandable Youth", once again with incredible drum chops from Dave, although simple and to the point this time.The main riff is amazing in its simplicity.One of the best chorus of the album on this track, I think.
Back to the riffs."Temptation" is overlooked by most but I think that the main riff and the drop-down bridge after the solo are brilliant.
The solos.If you compare the soloing on "Seasons..." with Megadeth or Coroner on their best outputs, you will not think much about Hanneman/King chops.But still, they pull it through great with a approach that fits the tracks.On "Seasons of the Abyss" they pin it best.Their solo work is dissonant, absurd and crazy just like the themes in the songs.This is the best way to look at their guitar solos, I think.On the mellow side, the solo in "Spirit in Black" is a stand-out.
Overall, the album is a landmark in Slayer career and also a big influence in the metal scene, especially for the 90's underground.Specifically sound wise, because it not bound to its time productions.That's why it sound great even now.