Divine Intervention (album)

Last updated
Divine Intervention
Slayer-DivineIntervention.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 27, 1994 (1994-09-27)
Recorded1994
Studio
Genre Thrash metal
Length36:33
Label American
Producer
Slayer chronology
Seasons in the Abyss
(1990)
Divine Intervention
(1994)
Undisputed Attitude
(1996)
Serenity in Murder EP
SIM album Cover.jpg
Cover of the Serenity in Murder EP, released on August 28, 1995.

Divine Intervention is the sixth studio album by American thrash metal band Slayer, released on September 27, 1994 by American Recordings. The album's production posed a challenge to the label, as its marketing situation drew arguments over its explicitness; to give them time to decide over its style, the band released the live album Decade of Aggression . [1] Since it was released nearly four years after its predecessor Seasons in the Abyss (1990), vocalist Tom Araya said there was more time spent on its production compared to the band's previous albums.

Contents

Divine Intervention was the band's first album to feature Paul Bostaph, replacing original drummer Dave Lombardo. Its songs' origins came not only from television shows, but were also inspired by various other subjects including Rush Limbaugh and serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Its cover artwork was painted and designed by Wes Benscoter as a re-imaging of the band's early "Slayergram" graphic. Although so much time was spent on its production, Kerry King has expressed his disapproval over the album's final mix, saying it should have had more attention.

Despite receiving mixed reviews from critics, Divine Intervention peaked at number eight on the US Billboard 200 and number 15 on the UK Albums Chart, selling over 93,000 copies in its first week of sales. It was later certified gold in the United States and Canada, and was followed by the EP Serenity in Murder.

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!" [2]

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." [3] 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." [4] 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." [5]

Composition

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". [3] Both the mixing and mastering were criticized, with guitarist Kerry King saying that the band should have "paid more attention to the mix", [6] and Araya saying that it "is the one (if any) that he would not mind re-mastering". [7] 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". [8] "Sex, Murder, Art" was said by TheState.com to feature "roars about a maddening relationship and his 'pleasure in inflicting pain.'" [9]

King said that the album contained origins relating to "war stories" and "explorations of madness". [10] 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". [11]

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." [12] Mike Bone from American Recordings said that "we captured this not only by photography, but with video — him actually doing it." [12] 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 . [13] [14] [15] 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. [12]

Reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [11]
The Deseret News favorable [5]
Entertainment Weekly B [16]
Metal Forces 7/10 [17]
Rolling Stone Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [18]
Rock Hard8.5/10 [19]

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." [11] By the album's release date, vocalist Tom Araya considered it to be their best album. [5]

Divine Intervention sold 93,000 copies in its first week, [20] [21] and by 2002, it sold over 400,000 copies in the US . [22] [23] It was reported that in the same year of its release, 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". [24] 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. [25]

Track listing

No.TitleLyricsMusicLength
1."Killing Fields" Tom Araya Kerry King 3:57
2."Sex. Murder. Art."ArayaKing1:50
3."Fictional Reality"KingKing3:38
4."Dittohead"KingKing2:31
5."Divine Intervention"
  • Hanneman
  • King
5:33
6."Circle of Beliefs"KingKing4:30
7."SS-3"Hanneman
  • Hanneman
  • King
4:07
8."Serenity in Murder"Araya
  • Hanneman
  • King
2:36
9."213"ArayaHanneman4:52
10."Mind Control"
  • Araya
  • King
  • Hanneman
  • King
3:04
Serenity in Murder EP
No.TitleLength
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

Credits

Personnel information can be verified at AllMusic. [13]

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