Seasons in the Abyss

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Seasons in the Abyss
Slayer - Seasons in the Abyss.jpg
Studio album by Slayer
Released October 9, 1990 (1990-10-09)
Recorded March–June 1990
Studio Hit City West, Hollywood Sound, and Record Plant, Los Angeles, California
Genre Thrash metal
Length42:27
Label Def American
Producer
Slayer chronology
South of Heaven
(1988)
Seasons in the Abyss
(1990)
Divine Intervention
(1994)

Seasons in the Abyss is the fifth studio album by American thrash metal band Slayer, released on October 9, 1990 by Def American Records. Recording sessions began in March 1990 at Hit City West and Hollywood Sound, and ended in June 1990 at The Record Plant in Los Angeles, California. It was the band's last album to feature original drummer Dave Lombardo until 2006's Christ Illusion . Seasons in the Abyss' musical style has been compared by critics to the band's previous two albums South of Heaven (1988) and Reign in Blood (1986).

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.

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 Suicidal Tendencies, Dead Cross and the Misfits.

Contents

Upon its release, Seasons in the Abyss received a generally positive reception and peaked at number 40 on the US Billboard 200. It was later certified gold in the United States and Canada.

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.

Recording and production

The album was recorded from March to June 1990 in two separate studios: Hit City West, Hollywood Sound, and Record Plant in Los Angeles, California. [1] [2] Seasons in the Abyss was produced by Rick Rubin, who had also produced their previous two albums Reign in Blood and South of Heaven .

Record producer individual who oversees and manages the recording of an artists music

A record producer or music producer oversees and manages the sound recording and production of a band or performer's music, which may range from recording one song to recording a lengthy concept album. A producer has many, varying roles during the recording process. They may gather musical ideas for the project, collaborate with the artists to select cover tunes or original songs by the artist/group, work with artists and help them to improve their songs, lyrics or arrangements.

Rick Rubin American music producer

Frederick Jay Rubin is an American record producer and former co-president of Columbia Records. Along with Russell Simmons, he is the co-founder of Def Jam Recordings and also established American Recordings. With the Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Geto Boys, and Run-DMC, Rubin helped popularize hip hop music.

<i>Reign in Blood</i> album by Slayer

Reign in Blood is the third studio album by American thrash metal band Slayer, released on October 7, 1986 by Def Jam Recordings. The album was the band's first collaboration with producer Rick Rubin, whose input helped the band's sound evolve. The release date of the album was delayed because of concerns regarding the lyrical subject matter of the song “Angel of Death.” The opening track "Angel of Death", which refers to Josef Mengele and describes acts such as human experimentation that he committed at the Auschwitz concentration camp, provoked allegations of Nazism. However, the band's members stated numerous times that they did not condone Nazism and were merely interested in the subject.

Track eight, "Temptation", featured an overdub of lead vocalist Tom Araya's singing; the vocal arrangement on the track was unintentional. Araya sang the song twice: once the way he felt it sounded best; the second time at the insistence of Kerry King the way he thought it should be sung. By accident both tracks were played back simultaneously, and the producer suggested that both vocal tracks should be used together on the final version. [3]

Overdubbing is a technique used in audio recording, whereby a musical passage is recorded two or more times. This practice can be found with singers, as well as with instruments, or ensembles/orchestras.

Singing act of producing musical sounds with the voice

Singing is the act of producing musical sounds with the voice and augments regular speech by the use of sustained tonality, rhythm, and a variety of vocal techniques. A person who sings is called a singer or vocalist. Singers perform music that can be sung with or without accompaniment by musical instruments. Singing is often done in an ensemble of musicians, such as a choir of singers or a band of instrumentalists. Singers may perform as soloists or accompanied by anything from a single instrument up to a symphony orchestra or big band. Different singing styles include art music such as opera and Chinese opera, Indian music and religious music styles such as gospel, traditional music styles, world music, jazz, blues, gazal and popular music styles such as pop, rock, electronic dance music and filmi.

Tom Araya American singer and bassist

Tomás "Tom" 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.

Music and lyrics

According to Nathan Brackett, author of The Rolling Stone Album Guide , Seasons in the Abyss continued the band's sound as displayed in their first four albums. The songs on the album have complex guitar riffs that proceed at both "blinding speed" tempos and mid-tempo hefts. Brackett said that the songs' themes shy away from the "fantasy and into the hells here on Earth" and instead was "music to conquer nations by". [4]

<i>The Rolling Stone Album Guide</i> book

The Rolling Stone Album Guide, previously known as The Rolling Stone Record Guide, is a book that contains professional music reviews written and edited by staff members from Rolling Stone magazine. Its first edition was published in 1979 and its last in 2004. The guide can be seen at Rate Your Music, while a list of albums given a five star rating by the guide can be seen at Rocklist.net.

The album combines "grim" vocals and "frenetic" guitars. [5] Blabbermouth.net said that the album is "considered to be among the genre's all-time classics". "War Ensemble", "Dead Skin Mask", and "Seasons In The Abyss" were described as setting the album's standard and the songs, according to the site, produced a sound that could not be matched by anyone else. [6]

Blabbermouth.net is a website dedicated to heavy metal and hard rock news, as well as album and music DVD reviews. Blabbermouth.net was founded and is run by Borivoj Krgin. The first version of the website was launched in March 2001; in October 2001, the record label Roadrunner Records began hosting it.

AllMusic said that it combines the mid-tempo grooves of South of Heaven with "manic bursts of aggression" à la Reign in Blood . Allmusic also said that when writing the album's lyrics, Slayer "rarely turns to demonic visions of the afterlife anymore, preferring instead to find tangible horror in real life—war, murder, [and] human weakness. There's even full-fledged social criticism, which should convince any doubters that Slayer aren't trying to promote the subjects they sing about." [7]

Release and reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg [7]
Entertainment Weekly B+ [5]
Rock Hard10/10 [8]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svgStar empty.svg [4]
Sputnikmusic 4.0/5 [9]

Slayer released Seasons in the Abyss on October 9, 1990, through Def American Records. Later that year it was released again through Warner Music Group. It was re-released in 1994 through American Recordings. [7] Although it was "unwelcome" to music shows and rock–radio outlets, it got substantial airplay on MTV's now-defunct "Headbangers Ball". [10] Seasons in the Abyss features Slayer's first music video, filmed at the Giza Plateau in Giza, Egypt . [10]

The album received generally positive reviews by critics. AllMusic's Steve Huey said that it "brought back some of the pounding speed of Reign in Blood for their third major-label album", and addressed it to be "their most accessible album, displaying the full range of their abilities all in one place, with sharp, clean production". [7] Huey later wrote that the album "paints Reagan-era America as a cesspool of corruption and cruelty, and the music is as devilishly effective as ever". [7]

J. D. Considine noted about "War Ensemble": "it's not a pretty song by any means. An aural blitzkrieg whose chorus climaxes with the lines, 'The final swing is not a drill/It's how many people I can kill,' it is filled with brutal images and blaring guitars, all propelled at the breathless pace of thrash metal." Considine would later say that the album's music "so accurately sums up the controlled panic of combat that the Army itself has been using Slayer songs to psych its troops for military maneuvers in the Saudi desert". [11] Mike Stagno from SputnikMusic said that the album was a well-received return by Slayer. [9] Entertainment Weekly reviewer David Browne said that listening to Seasons in the Abyss was "like listening to a single speed-metal song—the world's longest". [5] In 2017, it was ranked 31st on Rolling Stone 's "100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time". [12]

The album peaked at number 40 on the Billboard 200 and number 18 on the UK Albums Chart. [13] [14] Seasons in the Abyss was certified gold in both the United States and Canada. [15] [16] The title track and "War Ensemble" earned Slayer its heaviest airplay on MTV to date. [7] In an October 2007 interview, Evile frontman Matt Drake described Seasons in the Abyss as "the perfect mix" between the two styles ("speed" and "slow material") showcased on Reign in Blood and South of Heaven respectively. [17] Children of Bodom bassist Henkka T. Blacksmith hailed Seasons in the Abyss as "the best metal album ever". [18] The thrash/crossover supergroup S.O.D. released a single named "Seasoning the Obese" in tribute to the album. [19]

In 2016, Loudwire ranked Seasons in the Abyss #2 among Slayer's eleven studio albums. [20]

Track listing

Side one
No.TitleLyricsMusicLength
1."War Ensemble"Hanneman4:51
2."Blood Red"ArayaHanneman2:47
3."Spirit in Black" King Hanneman4:07
4."Expendable Youth"ArayaKing4:09
5."Dead Skin Mask"ArayaHanneman5:20
Side two
No.TitleLyricsMusicLength
6."Hallowed Point"
  • Hanneman
  • Araya
  • Hanneman
  • King
3:23
7."Skeletons of Society"KingKing4:40
8."Temptation"KingKing3:25
9."Born of Fire"King
  • Hanneman
  • King
3:07
10."Seasons in the Abyss"ArayaHanneman6:34

Personnel

Slayer
Production

Charts and certifications

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References

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  4. 1 2 Brackett, Nathan; Christian Hoard (2004). The Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York City, New York: Simon and Schuster. pp. 741–742. ISBN   0-7432-0169-8.
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