Posts Tagged ‘South Of Heaven’

Slayer Seasons In The AbyssLast night, I witnessed one of the best performances by thrash metal legends Slayer since the passing of Jeff Hanneman at the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion in Boston, MA. It inspired me to finish the trilogy of albums that featured Dave Lombardo (Drums) as I already covered Reign In Blood and South Of Heaven. The album that I am covering for today is the band’s fifth studio album Seasons In The Abyss which was the first through Def American, was produced once again by Rick Rubin, but was the last to feature Lombardo on drums for a long time. The rest of the band was rounded out by Tom Araya (Bass/Lead Vocals), Kerry King (Guitar), and the late Jeff Hanneman (Guitar). The best way to describe the album is to look at it as the best of both South and Reign with fast and heavy tracks to go along with the more melodic and evil sounding tracks. Upon it’s release on October 9, 1990, the album would peak at number 40 on the US Billboard Top 200 and it peaked in the top 20 in the UK as it made it’s way to be certified Gold (selling 500,000).

117471726-21.War Ensemble– The punishing and sonic ear drums destroying, neckbreaker of a track kicks the album and describes the world’s obsession with war. 5/5

2. Blood Red– Another amazing track that is just hammering as they talk about communist dictatorships. The track also features an amazing guitar solo that displays that signature sound from the boys. 5/5

3. Spirit In Black– Another razor fast barn burner from the band in a track that talks about that infamous spirit in black that haunts you and wants to possess. The cool thing about the track is out of nowhere the band speeds the tempo to Reign In Blood like pace. 4.5/5

4. Expendable Youth– The tempo is slowed down a little, but this is one of my favorite tracks on the album that is an absolute headbanger from beginning to end. The track is social commentary on the youth who grow up in less desirable conditions where killing is all they know. 5/5

5. Dead Skin Mask– A very melodic South Of Heaven-esque track that according to Tom Araya live is a love song, but it’s really a track about serial killer Ed Gein who inspired the characters of Leatherface and Norman Bates. 5/5

6. Hallowed Point– Another superfast tempo track in a track that could be about a gun and the damage that a hallowed point can cause. 4.5/5

Slayer-Seasons-In-The-Ab-4905707. Skeletons of Society– Another one of my personal favorites on the album that is a slowed down tempo, but it’s a headbanger for sure. The song could be talking about war and the the effects of an atomic bomb. 5/5

8. Temptation– A return to the fast tempo like sonic assault that we all love from the band in a track that is about giving into temptation. 4/5

9. Born Of Fire– Another super sonic razor fast assault from the band in a track that could be talking of the coming of something like the antichrist. 4.5/5

10. Seasons In The Abyss– The last track on the album and another of my personal favorites in a track that talks about the abyss (as maybe Aliester Crowley once described). 5/5

My Final Thoughts– The three Slayer albums (Reign, South, and Seasons) are the most untouchable albums in the history of Thrash Metal. It’s some of the best work the band ever did in their careers and don’t get me wrong because they’ve had other triumphs throughout. It just shows the magic that is the dynamics they had and that shouldn’t be taken for granted. I am giving the album 4.75 stars out of five for a final grade.

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south of heavenAll the Slayer covers I’ve been hearing over the past couple of days inspired me to want to review another Slayer album since Reign In Blood was the last one I did from them. Reign In Blood set the standard for what Slayer was all about and it established the band as a powerhouse in the metal scene, but the band took a lot of crap from the sceptics saying that they were a one trick pony. Tom Araya (Bass/Vocals), Jeff Hanneman (Guitars), Kerry King (Guitars), and Dave Lombardo (Drums) were out to prove with their fourth record South Of Heaven that they were more than a one trick pony. They did that by slowing down the music and one might think that it was a dangerous move for Slayer to do so, but I think it had the opposite effect. I truly believe with all the songs on the record that it made the band sound more evil than they ever were. The record also marked the fact that it was the second time that the band had worked with Rick Rubin as their producer and it was the last time an album was released by Def Jam since Rick had ended his partnership with Russell Simmons. The album peaked at number 52 and it reached Gold status by 1992.

Slayer_-_south_of_heaven_backThe album opens up with the eerie riff of South Of Heaven and when the drums come in and it sounds like the earth is crumbling and you are getting sucked into the mouths of hell and the long chant of you must die enforces the image in my head. The rest of the track is an exercise in how great metal really is and the song still remains on the set lists to this day. Silent Scream turns the tempo up from the last track and delivers what fans want from Slayer. The meaning of the song seems to talk about abortion cause the band says, “Silent scream, burying an unwanted child, beaten and torn, sacrifice the unborn.” Live Undead is the next track and the bands starts with an evil sounding riff and they hit you with those signature wailing whammy bar solos that were accustomed with Slayer as Araya speaks of death. Behind The Crooked Cross is the next track on the record that looks at a certain issue that would plague the band for years a different way. The Crooked Cross represents the Nazi Swastika and the lyrics describe a scenario where the soldiers come to realize that they may have been fighting for the wrong reasons. Mandatory Suicide, the other famous song from the album which isn’t what you think it’s about. The song deals with the idea of soldiers having to die in combat for their country.

slayer 2The trailblazer Ghosts Of War is next as it melts your face with every riff as the band talks about how soldiers that were wronged will rise to get their revenge. Read Between The Lies is a trailblazer that deals with the idea of evangelists stealing your money while they try to convince you of how they can heal you through faith. Cleanse The Soul is one of the other sonic facemelters on the record that will sure to leave any Slayer fan wanting more. Dissident Aggressor is a cover of the Judas Priest track and it remains to be the only cover ever released on a Slayer studio album. The last track on the record Spill The Blood  is one of my all time favorite Slayer songs on the album. The song starts off with this really evil acoustic riff before Lombardo kicks it off with his monster drumming in a track about gaining immortality through blood. The album is definitely one of the most classic Slayer albums  and apart of the iconic three (Reign, South, and Seasons In The Abyss) that the band released with Lombardo still in the band. I am going to give this record 4 stars out of five for a final grade.

whitechapelI know that I already released an album of the week yesterday, but this is a special release and since I received it in the mail today I wanted to review this album. So, this is one of two Album of the week’s for this week. Tennessee Deathcore kings Whitechapel are back with a brand new record entitled Our Endless War which is the fifth studio album for the band and it’s the follow up to 2012’s self titled album. The album hits the shelves on April 28TH via Metal Blade Records, but yours truly has a copy of the record. The band which is made up of Phil Bozeman (Vocals), Ben Savage (Guitar), Alex Wade (Guitar), Zach Householder (Guitar), Gabe Crisp (Bass), and Ben Harclerode (Drums) have teased us for the last couple of months releasing The Saw Is The Law and Mono as singles followed by making of Our Endless War videos as well as embarking on some major tours especially the one with Devildriver, Carnifex, Revocation, and many more. There are ten tracks on the record as well as a couple of bonus tracks that the band included in there as well. This just may be the best record this band has ever released, but remember that this is my opinion, you can either take or leave it. Let’s check out the record!

whitechapel 2The album starts off with the intro track Rise which is the calm before the storm as the track leads to the crushing debut of the title track. The track’s lyrical theme is very political as it explores the idea that we are losing our grip on what it really means to be American as we turn a blind eye to the atrocities that our government is doing behind our backs. The next track which was the first single we heard from the album titled The Saw Is The Law and it’s a balls to the wall metalcore like track that will sure to have the pits groovin. Someone must have pissed off Phil Bozeman because he is angry in the albums next track and second single Mono. With lyrics like “Get my name out of your mouth before you choke. Or you can swallow it down and sh** out your soul.” The sledge hammer like groove metal Let Me Burn absolutely destroys everything in it’s path and it’s sang in the perspective of a murderer who apparently kills a woman. Worship The Digital Age is the next track on the record and it brings back those death metal roots that we are used to from the group while How Times Have Changed returns to the hardcore metal sound the band used in previous tracks and it’s a song that battles the word of the ancient scriptures. Psychopathy starts off with some clean metal guitar before we are launched back into hell on a hot rod going 1000 MPH. I love the track because the band experiments with thrash metal like beats that remind me of South Of Heaven era Slayer. Blacked Out returns us to the all out metal assault that is custom of Whitechapel which means it contains elements of metal and black metal mixed in with their typical sound.

whitechapel 3Digg’s Road is a different type of track because it’s more of a metal and hardcore infused track that also has a somber feel to it. The song is dedicated who I am assuming are Phil Bozeman’s parents and it’s lyrics deal with someone who can’t handle the loss of loved ones so the thought of suicide becomes an option. A Process So Familiar is the first of two bonus tracks on the record and it’s a kick ass track that mixes every element of Whitechapel into one track. The last track on the record Fall Of The Hypocrites seems to be a letter to former Westboro Baptist Church scumbag Fred Phelps who passed away recently and believe me his people won’t find the song flattering either which is ok by me. Some may cry over this record saying that it’s a little more mainstream than past Whitechapel releases, but I just look at it as a natural progression for the band. Personally, I believe this is definitely one of the best releases from the band alongside my other favorite A New Era Of Corruption. I am going to give this album four stars out of five because it was definitely worth the wait and build up.

 

 

aaEveryone was looking forward to performances from A Day To Remember, Guns N Roses, and even Zakk Wylde’s, but nobody saw this coming at the 2014 Revolver Golden God Awards which was Slayer opening the show as the surprise performer. One of the things people expect at this particular awards show is to see who the surprise guest performer will be, but Slayer didn’t need it as the bulldozed their way through classics South Of Heaven, War Ensemble, and the premiere of a brand new track Implode. It was especially cool to see Marilyn Manson intro the band in. Right after Slayer was done with their set, it was time to meet this year’s hosts of the show since Chris Jericho wasn’t doing it this year. Eddie Trunk, Don Jamieson, and Jim Florentine of VH1 Classics That Metal Show were the hosts and their intro was horrible. Then it was off to the first presenters of the show as Mike Shinoda and Chester Bennington of Linkin Park came out to present The Best Vocalist Award (see below for complete list of winners), then that was followed by Dave Navarro and Jill Janus of Huntress presenting the Best Live Band Award.

a dayFrankie Palmeri of Emmure came out next to present the next live band of the night which was A Day To Remember who brought something completely different than Slayer, but they pleased the crowd as the band performed hit songs such as Right Back At It Again, End Of Me, and their closer All I Want. They were the second band to perform and still no surprise guest on stage with which is unusual at this point in the show. Then there was some technical difficulties as we waited for the cameras to show us Tony Hawk and Carmen Electra who were presenting the best live band award which was won by Avenged Sevenfold. They weren’t at The Nokia Theater, but they were brought in via satellite from a gig in Minneapolis where they gave the award away to a fan from the crowd. Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach and a couple of members from Memphis May Fire came out next to present the best new band award.

maxThen the legendary Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein along with the sexy brand new lead singer of Arch Enemy Alissa White-Gluz to intro The Pretty Reckless who were the next band to perform that night. Taylor Momsen is beautiful and very sexual on stage as most of you may know, but she has an amazing band that backs her up as they had one heck of a performance. The band performed their tracks Fucked Up World, Heaven Knows, and Going To Hell. Zakk Wylde would eventually come out to do a special Piano performance of In This River to pay tribute to all that have fallen over the years, but who was working the special video screwed up saying that Jani Lane was the singer for Motorhead. Then more technical difficulties plagued the show as we waited for Suicide Silence to take the stage to perform for the first time with their brand new singer Eddie Hermida. The band would play the tracks You Only Live Once and No Pity For A Coward, but it was their last song that was amazing. The band brought out Max Cavalera of Soulfly/Sepultura fame and they performed Roots on stage together that had me saying thank God someone finally had a guest on stage.

joan jettAlice Cooper presented The Golden God Award to Joan Jett who mentioned The Runaways. After her speech, she wanted to perform, but they nixed it so that Alice could introduce the performance. She opened up her performance with a rocking version of Bad Reputation which was tearing up the house. The next track she performed was a track that she had written with Dave Grohl called Any Weather which captured the spirit of the Blackhearts. Then Joan Jett & The Blackhearts were on fire with the next song I Hate Myself For Loving You for which she was joined onstage by Taylor Momsen. What I didn’t understand is that after the performance was done they performed it again to which Billy Gibbons would join them on stage to be the cheerleader. It was one heck of a performance anyways, but I believe they may have been shooting a version for television.

gnrAndrew Dice Clay came out to present the video montage for Axl Rose while Nicolas Cage presented Axl Rose of  Guns N Rose with the Ronnie James Dio Lifetime Achievement Award. Of course from that point on, we were wondering how long it was going to take for the band to actual perform. The crowd was definitely anxiously awaiting the band to hit the stage as we also knew that Duff McKagan would be performing with the band. The band eventually came out and started rocking right away with It’s So Easy. The band would blaze through one of my all time favorite tracks Welcome To The Jungle with a killer intro by DJ Ashba. One thing I will admit is that Axl’s vocals were a little off tonight when it came to his high notes. Then for the third track of the night they would dig into their latest album Chinese Democracy with the Better. The band would then perform This I Love from Chinese Democracy. Then the band kicked into the kickass Use Your Illusion II track You Could Be Mine. The band would continue with Sweet Child Of Mine and a Babe I’m Gonna Leave You/November Rain medley after Axl introduced the whole band to the crowd. My final thoughts on the show is that I thought it could have been executed a little bit better than it had been in the past. I certainly miss having Chris Jericho hosting the show, but after a while the boys from That Metal Show did fine.

Awards:

Best Vocalist- Josh Homme of Queens Of The Stone Age

Best Live Band- Rob Zombie

Most Dedicated Fans- Avenged Sevenfold

Best New Talent- Twelve Foot Ninja

Paul Gray Best Bassist- Chris Kael

Best Drummer- Arin Ilejay

Comeback Of The Year- Deep Purple

Best Film & Video- This Is A Wasteland by Pierce The Veil

Song Of The Year- Lift Me Up by Five Finger Death Punch

Most Metal Athlete- Josh Barnett

Golden God Award- Joan Jett

Dimebag Darrell Best Guitarist- Zacky Vengeance & Synyster Gates

Album Of The Year- 13 by Black Sabbath

Ronnie James Dio Lifetime Achievement Award- Axl Rose of Guns N Roses

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