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Review: Slayer - Seasons In The Abyss
Seasons In The Abyss

Label: American Recordings
Year released: 1990
Duration: 42:27
Tracks: 10
Genre: Thrash Metal

Rating: 3/5

Review online: April 22, 2009
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
Seasons In The Abyss

Rated 4.02/5 (80.47%) (85 Votes)

This is often viewed as the last good Slayer album, which I think is fairly ridiculous, as this is just barely decent. After the sad South Of Heaven Slayer needed a killer comeback to get their momentum going again, and at the time this was regarded as just such a disc. Almost twenty years later, revisiting this, I am surprised by just how badly we all wanted Slayer to make a good album, that we were all willing to overlook the flaws and celebrate the good stuff on this rather tepid offering.

Seasons In The Abyss starts off pretty well with the fast cut of "War Ensemble", which has a killer rep but is really just OK – certainly not even up to the standards of a filler cut on Show No Mercy or Reign In Blood. There are some good songs on this album, such as the occult riff-fest of "Spirit In Black" or the hyper-catchy "Dead Skin Mask" – which was the only song here to hark back to the more melodic riffage of earlier albums and which the fans adored, so of course Slayer never recorded another song like it ever. The rest of the album is just bland, with interchangeable cuts like "Blood Red", "Expendable Youth", and "Temptation." The real dogs are the recycled riffs of "Skeletons Of Society" and the awful, awful title track – maybe the worst Slayer song ever.

The production is crap, with a smooth, limp guitar tone and no punch to the drums at all. Bass? I don't hear any bass. This is another side effect of being on a fucking pop label, as they couldn't get a decent producer to save their lives. The whole album sounds lackluster, feeble, and dull. Did they not grasp that this is supposed to be a Thrash recording? That it should be nonstop raging guitars and screaming leads backed up by pounding drums with a singer who spits and bellows into the mike? This album sounds like it was made by a band that is half-asleep. What happened to the hungry young bastards that thrashed out "The Antichrist"?

Slayer produced a brilliant debut, then managed one more killer disc with Reign In Blood that their label almost managed to ruin with a feeble recording. Everything after that has been the band desperately trying to recapture the passion they had in those days, and largely failing. Calling this a decent album is accurate, calling this Thrash is just sad.

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