Divine Intervention (album)

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Divine Intervention
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 27, 1994 (1994-09-27)
StudioOceanway, Los Angeles, California
Sound City, Van Nuys, California
Genre Thrash metal
Label American Recordings
Producer Rick Rubin (exec.)
Toby Wright
Slayer chronology
Seasons in the Abyss
Divine Intervention
Undisputed Attitude
Serenity in Murder EP
SIM album Cover.jpg
Cover for Serenity in Murder single/EP released on August 28, 1995.

Divine Intervention is the sixth studio album by American thrash metal band Slayer. Released on September 27, 1994, through American Recordings, it was their first album to feature Paul Bostaph, replacing the band's original drummer Dave Lombardo. The production posed a challenge to the record company, as its marketing situation drew arguments over the album's explicitness. The band used the Decade of Aggression live album to give them time to decide the album's style. [1] Since it was released nearly four years after Seasons in the Abyss , vocalist Tom Araya said that there was more time spent on production compared to the band's previous albums. The cover was painted and designed by Wes Benscoter as a re-imaging of the group's early "Slayergram" graphic.

Thrash metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music characterized by its overall aggression and often fast tempo. The songs usually use fast percussive beats and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead work. The lyrics often deal with social issues and criticism of The Establishment, using direct and denunciatory language, an approach borrowed from hardcore punk.

Slayer American thrash metal band

Slayer is an American thrash metal band from Huntington Park, California. The band was formed in 1981 by vocalist and bassist Tom Araya and guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman. Slayer's fast and aggressive musical style made them one of the founding "big four" bands of thrash metal, alongside Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax. Slayer's current lineup comprises King, Araya, drummer Paul Bostaph and guitarist Gary Holt. Hanneman and drummers Dave Lombardo and Jon Dette are former members of the band.

American Recordings (record label) record label

American Recordings is an American record label headed by producer Rick Rubin. The label has featured artists such as Slayer, the Black Crowes, ZZ Top, Danzig, Trouble, Tom Petty, Johnny Cash, The Mother Hips, and System of a Down.


Divine Intervention received mixed reviews by critics. The album sold 93,000 copies in its first week. It peaked number eight on the Billboard 200 and charted at number 15 on UK Albums Chart. It was rewarded gold in the United States and Canada. An EP entitled Serenity in Murder was released shortly after the album. [2]

The Billboard 200 is a record chart ranking the 200 most popular music albums and EPs in the United States. It is published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists. Often, a recording act will be remembered by its "number ones", those of their albums that outperformed all others during at least one week. The chart grew from a weekly top 10 list in 1956 to become a top 200 in May 1967, and acquired its present title in March 1992. Its previous names include the Billboard Top LPs (1961–72), Billboard Top LPs & Tape (1972–84), Billboard Top 200 Albums (1984–85) and Billboard Top Pop Albums.

Extended play musical recording longer than a single, but shorter than a full album

An extended play record, often referred to as an EP, is a musical recording that contains more tracks than a single, but is usually unqualified as an album or LP. Contemporary EPs generally contain a minimum of three tracks and maximum of six tracks, and are considered "less expensive and time-consuming" for an artist to produce than an album. An EP originally referred to specific types of vinyl records other than 78 rpm standard play (SP) and LP, but it is now applied to mid-length CDs and downloads as well.

Writing and production

Tom Araya said that "when we did Divine Intervention, this was the last conference we ever had with a record label where they sat us down and sold us the idea of how they wanted to do "Divine", and how they were going to do this with the cover... and all these different ideas for the album. Then one guy looked at us and said, 'But we need a hit song.' And we said, 'But you've got eleven songs, and if you can't find a hit in one of them then you're shit out of luck because that's what we're giving you.' So we're like saying to them, 'Right, you write the fucking hit song and we'll record it.' That shut the guy up and that was the last time we had any kind of meetings like that!" [3]

Tom Araya American singer and bassist

Tomás Enrique Araya Díaz is a Chilean-American musician, best known as the lead vocalist and bassist of the American thrash metal band Slayer. Araya is ranked fifty-eighth by Hit Parader on their list of the 100 Greatest Metal Vocalists of All Time.

A record label, or record company, is a brand or trademark associated with the marketing of music recordings and music videos. Sometimes, a record label is also a publishing company that manages such brands and trademarks, coordinates the production, manufacture, distribution, marketing, promotion, and enforcement of copyright for sound recordings and music videos, while also conducting talent scouting and development of new artists, and maintaining contracts with recording artists and their managers. The term "record label" derives from the circular label in the center of a vinyl record which prominently displays the manufacturer's name, along with other information. Within the mainstream music industry, recording artists have traditionally been reliant upon record labels to broaden their consumer base, market their albums, and be both promoted and heard on music streaming services, radio, and television. Record labels also provide publicists, who assist performers in gaining positive media coverage, and arrange for their merchandise to be available via stores and other media outlets.

Araya described "For this one, I just kind of got inspired by watching TV. That gave me a whole lot of ideas. The whole idea about the dude with Slayer in his arms was brought about because reality is scarier than anything you can make up." [4] The production of the album posed as a challenge to the record company, "how to market a group whose gore-soaked, extreme music is anathema to radio programmers." It is the company's first attempt to "hit the thrash band's core-audience of rabid enthusiasts with a fan-orientated marketing assault." [5] Araya related: "We decided to take more time to bring this one together. We actually went into the studio with more written material than the past. We completed three out of seven songs outside the studio. We all sort of felt it was important to do it slowly. After the last tour, we had the intention to take the break." [6]


The College Music Journal said that "the band deals almost exclusively with realism" in the album, and noted that it "shocks and splatters like a severed artery, painting crimson pictures of murders, necrophiliacs, and the ravaged, chaotic world they inhabit". [4] Both the mixing and mastering were criticized, with guitarist Kerry King saying that the band should have "paid more attention to the mix", [7] and Araya saying that it "is the one (if any) that he would not mind re-mastering". [8] Neil Strauss from The New York Times explained many of the album's origins. "213" was described as a "love song" by Araya, which was something they had never done before. The song was named after serial killer and sex offender Jeffrey Dahmer's old apartment number. "Dittohead" begins by criticizing the legal system for "being too lenient on killers". The song "ended up not denouncing the system but advocating its permissiveness". [9] "Sex, Murder, Art" was said by TheState.com to feature "roars about a maddening relationship and his 'pleasure in inflicting pain.'" [10]

Audio mixing (recorded music) audio mixing to yield recorded sound

In sound recording and reproduction, audio mixing is the process of combining multitrack recordings into a final mono, stereo or surround sound product. In the process of combining the separate tracks, their relative levels are adjusted and balanced and various processes such as equalization and compression are commonly applied to individual tracks, groups of tracks, and the overall mix. In stereo and surround sound mixing, the placement of the tracks within the stereo field are adjusted and balanced. Audio mixing techniques and approaches vary widely and have a significant influence on the final product.

Kerry King American musician

Kerry Ray King is an American musician, best known as a guitarist and songwriter for the American thrash metal band Slayer. He co-founded the band with Jeff Hanneman in 1981 and has been a member ever since.

<i>The New York Times</i> Daily broadsheet newspaper based in New York City

The New York Times is an American newspaper based in New York City with worldwide influence and readership. Founded in 1851, the paper has won 127 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other newspaper. The Times is ranked 17th in the world by circulation and 2nd in the U.S.

King said that the album contained origins relating to "war stories" and "explorations of madness". [11] It is Paul Bostaph's first studio album with Slayer, resulting in Alex Henderson of AllMusic saying that it is a "positive, energizing influence on Slayer, which sounds better than ever on such dark triumphs as 'Killing Fields,' 'Serenity in Murder,' and 'Circle of Beliefs.'" Henderson also said that they "focus[ed] on the violently repressive nature of governments and the lengths to which they will go to wield power". [12]

Paul Bostaph American drummer

Paul Steven Bostaph is a heavy metal drummer currently performing for the thrash metal band Slayer. His drumming career began in 1984, when he was 20 years old, and he has since worked with bands like Forbidden, Exodus, Systematic, Testament, and BlackGates. Metal-Rules.com describes Bostaph as "a true professional and one of the best drummers on today's metal music scene."

AllMusic Online music database

AllMusic is an online music database. It catalogs more than 3 million album entries and 30 million tracks, as well as information on musical artists and bands. It launched in 1991, predating the World Wide Web.

Artwork and packaging

The album was issued in a clear jewel box with a die-cut cardboard O-card. It included sixteen pages, which fold out to be a poster, which displays the cover art. Both the disc and the disc tray feature — as described by Chris Morris — an "image reflective of the mania displayed by the group's fans, and exemplary of American frequently deployed shock tactics: a kid carving the band's name into his arms with a scalpel." [13] Mike Bone from American Recordings said that "we captured this not only by photography, but with video — him actually doing it." [13] The front cover was painted and designed by Wes Benscoter, an American artist who would later paint the covers for the other Slayer releases Undisputed Attitude and Live Intrusion . [14] [15] [16] The album sleeve features for the second time the backronym Satan Laughs As You Eternally Rot. This phrase was first used on the vinyl edition of the album Show No Mercy where it was carved into the runout groove of the record. [13]


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [12]
The Deseret News favorable [6]
Entertainment Weekly B [17]
Metal Forces 7/10 [18]
Rolling Stone Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [19]
Rock Hard8.5/10 [20]

AllMusic said that "instead of doing something calculated like emulating Nirvana or Pearl Jam—or for that matter, Nine Inch Nails or Ministry—Slayer wisely refused to sound like anyone but Slayer. Tom Araya and co. responded to the new environment simply by striving to be the heaviest metal band they possibly could." [12] By the album's release date, vocalist Tom Araya considered it to be their best album. [6]

Divine Intervention sold 93,000 copies in its first week, [21] [22] and by 2002, it sold over 400,000 copies in the US . [23] [24] It was reported that in the same year of its released, Kevin Kirk from the Heavy Metal Shop "ordered 1,000 copies of Slayer's Divine Intervention and sold every last album in a matter of weeks". [25] Although it is less accessible than its predecessor Seasons in the Abyss , Rolling Stone considered it to be their most successful album as of 2001. [26]

Track listing

1."Killing Fields" Tom Araya Kerry King 3:57
2."Sex. Murder. Art."ArayaKing1:50
3."Fictional Reality"KingKing3:38
5."Divine Intervention"
  • Hanneman
  • King
6."Circle of Beliefs"KingKing4:30
  • Hanneman
  • King
8."Serenity in Murder"Araya
  • Hanneman
  • King
10."Mind Control"
  • Araya
  • King
  • Hanneman
  • King
Serenity in Murder EP
1."Serenity in Murder" (live)2:37
2."Angel of Death" (live)4:52
3."Mandatory Suicide" (live)4:05
4."War Ensemble" (live)4:52

Chart positions and certifications


Personnel information can be verified at AllMusic. [14]

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