Eyes of the Insane

Last updated
"Eyes of the Insane"
Eyes of the Insane.jpg
Single by Slayer
from the album Christ Illusion
ReleasedNovember 23, 2006 (2006-11-23)
Format CD single
Genre Thrash metal
Label WEA International
Composer(s) Jeff Hanneman
Lyricist(s) Tom Araya
Producer(s) Josh Abraham
Slayer singles chronology
"Eyes of the Insane"
"Psychopathy Red"

"Eyes of the Insane" is a 2006 song by the American thrash metal band Slayer, taken from their 2006 album Christ Illusion . The lyrics explore an American soldier's mental anguish following his return home from the second Gulf War, and are based on an article entitled "Casualty of War" in Texas Monthly magazine. "Eyes of the Insane" was written by vocalist Tom Araya during pre-production for the album. The song was generally well received by critics, and also peaked #15 on the Danish singles charts.

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 guitar work. The lyrical subject matter often deals with criticisms of The Establishment, and at times shares a disdain for Christian dogma resembling that of their black metal counterparts. The language is typically quite direct and denunciatory, 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 guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman and vocalist and bassist Tom Araya. 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.

<i>Christ Illusion</i> 2006 studio album by Slayer

Christ Illusion is the tenth studio album by American thrash metal band Slayer, released on August 8, 2006 by American Recordings. It was the band's first and only album featuring all 4 original members with their drummer Dave Lombardo since Seasons in the Abyss (1990), and also marked the first time since Divine Intervention (1994) that they recorded songs in D# tuning. The songs "Jihad", "Flesh Storm", "Catalyst", and "Consfearacy" were recorded in D# tuning, while "Catatonic", "Eyes of the Insane", "Skeleton Christ", and "Supremist" were recorded in Drop B tuning and "Black Serenade" and "Cult" in C# tuning.


The accompanying music video by the Tehran-born Armenian director Tony Petrossian was recorded in the Los Angeles area in August 2006. The film is presented as a close-up of the soldier's pupil and iris, which reflect disconcerting images of war-themed horrors, flashbacks of his home, wife and children, and ultimately images of his death. "Eyes of the Insane" was used on the soundtrack to Saw III , and won an award for the Best Metal Performance at the 49th Grammy Awards.

A music video is a short film that integrates a song with imagery, and is produced for promotional or artistic purposes. Modern music videos are primarily made and used as a marketing device intended to promote the sale of music recordings. There are also cases where songs are used in tie-in marketing campaigns that allow them to become more than just a song. Tie-ins and merchandising can be used for toys or for food or other products. Although the origins of the music video date back to musical short films that first appeared in the 1920s, they again came into prominence in the 1980s when the channel MTV based their format around the medium. Prior to the 1980s, these kinds of videos were described by various terms including "illustrated song", "filmed insert", "promotional (promo) film", "promotional clip", "promotional video", "song video", "song clip" or "film clip".

Armenians ethnic group native to the Armenian Highland

Armenians are an ethnic group native to the Armenian Highlands of Western Asia.

Tony Petrossian is a commercial and music video director.


While walking through an airport, vocalist Tom Araya picked up a March 2006 issue of Texas Monthly with a soldier's helmet on the front cover. Seeing the article "Casualty of War", he was interested enough to purchase a copy. [1] The issue explored the involvement of military personnel from Texas in the Iraq War, and included a list of Texan soldiers who had died in the conflict. [2] [3] The feature was accompanied by photographs of some of the dead, while a further article dealt with the anguish of surviving soldiers on their return home. [2] Araya later said the article "blew his mind". [3]

Iraq War War which started on 20 March 2003, based in Iraq

The Iraq War was a protracted armed conflict that began in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq by a United States-led coalition that overthrew the government of Saddam Hussein. The conflict continued for much of the next decade as an insurgency emerged to oppose the occupying forces and the post-invasion Iraqi government. An estimated 151,000 to 600,000 or more Iraqis were killed in the first three to four years of conflict. In 2009, official US troops were withdrawn, but American soldiers continued to remain on the ground fighting in Iraq, hired by defence contractors and private military companies. The U.S. became re-involved in 2014 at the head of a new coalition; the insurgency and many dimensions of the civil armed conflict continue. The invasion occurred as part of a declared war against international terrorism and its sponsors under the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush following the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Araya read the article during his flight back to Los Angeles. Pre-production for Slayer's ninth studio album Christ Illusion had just begun, and the band was about to undertake a three-day rehearsal with producer Josh Abraham. Araya left his baggage at the hotel to attend the rehearsals, then returned to re-read the article. Finding it to be "very profound", he woke up in the middle of the night and wrote down the lyrics. [1] He said that his treatment of the topic is "sincere", and that he believes it to be "one that the military doesn't want you to know. They sweep it under the rug, but it's a story that needs to be told." [1] The band's guitarist, Kerry King, has said that "these new songs [from the Christ Illusion album] aren't political at all: 'Jihad', 'Eyes of the Insane' — it's what's spewing out at us from the TV." [4]

Josh Abraham American record producer, songwriter, and music executive

Josh Abraham is an American record producer, songwriter, and music executive. Having worked with some of the music industry's most successful artists over the past 15 years including P!nk, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Kelly Clarkson, Shakira, Weezer, Linkin Park, Velvet Revolver, Carly Rae Jepsen, Adam Lambert, and Slayer, he has produced and co-written songs accounting for sales of more than 40 million albums worldwide.

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.

"Jihad" is a song by the American thrash metal band Slayer which appears on the band's 2006 studio album Christ Illusion. The song portrays the imagined viewpoint of a terrorist who has participated in the September 11, 2001 attacks, concluding with spoken lyrics taken from words left behind by Mohamed Atta; Atta was named by the FBI as the "head suicide terrorist" of the first plane to crash into the World Trade Center. "Jihad" was primarily written by guitarist Jeff Hanneman; the lyrics were co-authored with vocalist Tom Araya.

Musical structure

"Eyes of the Insane" is 3 minutes 23 seconds long. [5] A slow drum pattern played by Dave Lombardo opens the track, over which Hanneman and King play angular and descending scales on guitar. These guitar riffs evolve from verse to verse, and have been described by Allmusic as "intensely harrowing". [5] The song gradually builds over the course of the verses, refrain and bridge, before resolving with a "towering" chorus. [6]

Dave Lombardo Cuban drummer

David Lombardo is a Cuban-American drummer, best known as a co-founding member of American thrash metal band Slayer. Lombardo played drums on nine Slayer albums, including the 1986 album Reign in Blood and the 2006 album Christ Illusion, for which he received critical praise. Lombardo's music career has spanned forty years, during which he has been involved in the production of thirty-five commercial recordings covering a number of genres. He has performed with numerous bands, including Grip Inc., Fantômas, Testament, and Suicidal Tendencies, in addition to Slayer. Lombardo is currently playing drums with Fantômas, Suicidal Tendencies, Dead Cross, and the Misfits.

In music, especially western popular music, a bridge is a contrasting section that prepares for the return of the original material section. In a piece in which the original material or melody is referred to as the "A" section, the bridge may be the third eight-bar phrase in a thirty-two-bar form, or may be used more loosely in verse-chorus form, or, in a compound AABA form, used as a contrast to a full AABA section.

Resolution (music) in music theory, change from dissonance to consonance

Resolution in western tonal music theory is the move of a note or chord from dissonance to a consonance.

Some reviewers paid particular attention to Araya's vocal contribution. Zach Hothorn of Prefix magazine said the song "allows Araya to show his vocal range, deepening to build up tension and creating a wonderfully chilling 3 and a half minutes", [7] while Ian Robinson of musicOMH felt the track "is a distinct but welcome change of pace, Dave Lombardo's machine-gun rhythms forming the backbone for Tom Araya's impressively intact scream." [8]

musicOMH is a London-based online music magazine which publishes independent reviews, features and interviews from across all genres including classical, metal, rock and R&B.

Music video

A screenshot from the music video Eyesoftheinsane.JPG
A screenshot from the music video

By the time Slayer decided a music video should be filmed, touring commitments prevented their involvement in the actual shoot. [9] Instead, others were contacted to produce the film. [9] Director Tony Petrossian presented Slayer with the first draft, and the group made a few suggestions for improvement. [10] Never having met him, King recalled Petrossian "had a treatment, and we all dug the treatment so we just turned him loose." [10] "Eyes of the Insane"'s war-themed music video was filmed on August 13, 2006, in the Los Angeles area. Casting company Tolley Casparis Casting sought a male Caucasian between the ages of 18 and 26 to appear in the clip, with auditions held on August 10, 2006. The official project notes deemed that "This guy must be a serious actor, capable of emoting everything through his eyes. He was innocent a few months ago, now he is scarred by seeing so much fighting. Strong eyebrows that do not overpower the face. Scars or large veins actually a plus." [11]

The video was shot as a "first-person narrative about the horrors leading up to the final moments of a soldier at war", and was described as "a single, long and tight close-up of the soldier's eye with images clearly reflected within his pupil and iris and perfectly choreographed with the rhythm of the music. Reflected are disconcerting images of para trooping into enemy territory, gunfire, helicopters and tanks, explosions, poignant flashbacks of his wife and child and home, and the images of his death." [12] Two endings were shot; one in which the soldier is killed as the result of sustained combat wounds, and another in which the soldier commits suicide by hanging - the latter one was used. [12] Jeff Hanneman confirmed that the band "loved" the eye concept, and personally felt that the video was "pretty amazing" when he first viewed it. [9] King admitted the film is "pretty cool — I thought it was neat idea — very different, especially for us, because we usually do performance based videos." [10] The video was exclusively posted on mp3.com late in October 2006. [12] In 2007, the video earned a Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards nomination for Best Video, [13] but eventually lost to Avenged Sevenfold's "Seize The Day." [14]

Critical reception

Critics were generally positive when reviewing "Eyes of the Insane". Stylus magazine's Cosmo Lee described the track as "a dark, midpaced exploration of a soldier's psyche", and remarked that "it's memorable and would be a good breather between the usual barnburners". [15] Peter Atkinson of KNAC.com felt that "'Eyes of the Insane' offers a post-traumatic sequel to 'Mandatory Suicide', again with a soundtrack that recalls the original, but boasting a couple truly mammoth hooks that do shake things up." [16] Don Kaye of Blabbermouth made a comparison to a different Slayer track than Atkinson, and commented that "'Eyes of the Insane' and 'Catatonic' both have that slow, grinding feeling of doom that the band has done so well before on classics like 'Dead Skin Mask'." [17]


The song was nominated for Best Metal Performance at the 49th annual Grammy Awards. [18] When asked for his thoughts on the nomination, King revealed that he did not "even care", and noted that Slayer fans "don't give a shit and that's the most important thing to me". The interviewer expressed his surprise at the nomination given Slayer's "inflammatory" lyrics, to which King replied, "That would be the coolest thing, you know? To win with the shit we write about." [19] The ceremony was held on February 11, 2007, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, with Slayer competing against Mastodon, Lamb of God, Ministry and Stone Sour. [20] Slayer won the Best Metal Performance Grammy award, [21] although the band was unable to attend because of a conflicting North American headlining tour. [20] Araya commented about the win from a hotel room in Columbus, Ohio: "Jeff [Hanneman] and I put a lot into 'Eyes of the Insane' so we're thrilled that the Grammy voters took the time to listen to it, and then vote for it. We're out here on the road and we're all really, really happy." [20] King disagreed, deeming the song "one of the poorest representations of us [Slayer] on the record [Christ Illusion]". He further said that, if given the decision, he would have chosen the controversial track "Jihad" to represent Slayer from their ninth album Christ Illusion. Critical of the Recording Academy, King said, "Realistically, I think people on the academy who vote pick the household name ... And that's what we are." [22]

Other media

The soundtrack to the 2006 horror film Saw III included "Eyes of the Insane", and was released on October 24, 2006, by Warcon Enterprises. [23] The track was one of six songs performed by Slayer during their first US network television appearance on ABC-TV's Jimmy Kimmel Live! (January 19, 2007), and was the only song broadcast in its entirety. [24] However, King dislikes playing "Eyes of the Insane" live, commenting, "It's just dull to play, good song just dull to play on guitar." [25]

Track listing

CD1 [26]
1."Eyes of the Insane"3:23
2."Eyes of the Insane" (Live)3:31
CD2 [26]
1."Eyes of the Insane"3:23
2."Cult" (Live)4:37
3."Reborn" (Live Video) 
7" vinyl [26]
1."Eyes of the Insane"3:23
2."Cult" (Live)4:37


Chart (2006)Peak
Denmark (Tracklisten) [27] 15
UK Singles (Official Charts Company) [28] 97

See also


  1. 1 2 3 Claes, Sean (2006). "Slayer". Blistering . Archived from the original on 2006-10-22. Retrieved 2007-02-22.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  2. 1 2 Atkinson, Peter (2006-05-03). "Songs About God and Satan - Part 2: An Interview With Slayer's Tom Araya". KNAC.com. Retrieved 2007-01-26.
  3. 1 2 Harris, Chris (2006-04-20). "New Slayer album might be their fastest yet". MTV.com. Retrieved 2007-03-11.
  4. Beck, Aaron (2007-02-10). "After 25 years, Slayer keeps casting metal". The Columbus Dispatch. Archived from the original on 2012-03-29. Retrieved 2007-02-25.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  5. 1 2 3 Jurek, Thom. "Allmusic Review - Christ Illusion". Allmusic . Retrieved 2007-02-22.
  6. Begrand, Adrien. "Christ Illusion - Review". Popmatters . Retrieved 2007-03-27.
  7. Hothorn, Zach (2006-08-16). "Christ Illusion - Review". Prefix Magazine. Retrieved 2007-05-16.
  8. Robinson, Ian (2006-08-21). "Christ Illusion - Review". MusicOMH.com. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-05-16.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  9. 1 2 3 Lahtinen, Lexi (2006-12-18). "Slayer - Jeff Hanneman". Metal-rules.com. Archived from the original on 2014-10-16. Retrieved 2007-02-23.Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  10. 1 2 3 Butler, Roya. "Slayer". ReadJunk.com. Retrieved 2010-04-11.
  11. "Slayer: 'Eyes Of The Insane' video shoot to take place this Sunday". Blabbermouth.net . 2006-08-09. Archived from the original on 2012-03-29. Retrieved 2007-02-25.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  12. 1 2 3 "Slayer: 'Eyes Of The Insane' video posted online". Blabbermouth.net. 2006-10-30. Archived from the original on 2012-03-29. Retrieved 2007-02-25.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  13. "Will Lambs slaughter rivals?". The Sun . 2007-04-11. Retrieved 2007-06-03.
  14. http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/bullet-for-my-valentine-booed-at-metal-hammer-golden-gods-awards/
  15. Lee, Cosmo. "Christ Illusion - Review". Stylus . Archived from the original on 2007-06-07. Retrieved 2007-03-27.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  16. Atkinson, Peter (2006-07-24). "KNAC Review - Christ Illusion". KNAC.com. Retrieved 2007-02-22.
  17. Kaye, Don. "Blabbermouth Review - Christ Illusion". Blabbermouth.net. Archived from the original on 2007-03-08. Retrieved 2007-02-22.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  18. "49th Annual Grammy Awards Winners List". Grammy.com. Archived from the original on 2006-12-20. Retrieved 2007-06-01.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  19. Foxworthy, John (2006-12-24). "Interview with Slayer's Kerry King". Garage Radio Magazine. Retrieved 2007-02-25.
  20. 1 2 3 "Slayer wins Grammy In 'Best Metal Performance' Category". Blabbermouth.net. 2007-02-11. Archived from the original on 2007-02-22. Retrieved 2007-02-12.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  21. "49th Annual Grammy Awards winners list". Grammy.com. Archived from the original on 2006-12-20. Retrieved 2007-03-05.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  22. Piccoli, Sean (2007-02-21). "Grammy for Slayer's 11th album shows metal legends are now a household name". Sun-Sentinel.com.
  23. "Slayer, Eighteen Visions, Lamb of God, Mastodon Featured On 'Saw III' Soundtrack". Blabbermouth.net. 2006-09-14. Archived from the original on 2012-03-29. Retrieved 2007-02-25.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  24. "Slayer on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!!': 'Eyes Of The Insane' performance posted online". Blabbermouth.net. 2007-01-20. Archived from the original on 2007-10-01. Retrieved 2007-04-08.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  25. Gamble, Billy. "Slayer interview Pt II". Rocknworld.com. Retrieved 2007-04-08.
  26. 1 2 3 "Slayer: 'Eyes Of The Insane' single due in November". Blabbermouth.net. 2006-10-24. Archived from the original on 2012-03-29. Retrieved 2007-02-25.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  27. "Danishcharts.com – Slayer – Eyes Of The Insane". Tracklisten. Retrieved 2013-05-23.
  28. "Slayer: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 16, 2014.

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