Sooner or later Slayer had to make it onto this list. Why? Because they’re Slayer that’s why. The undisputed kings of the darker side of thrash metal. Many people would vote for “Reign in blood” as their greatest album and I am in no way disparaging that album. It is an etched in stone classic. However to me their 5th album “seasons in the abyss” is the jewel in the crown.
The big difference for me between “reigning blood” and “seasons in the abyss” is the slight let up in pace. Not much but it changes the dynamics of the band. “Reign in blood” is a frenzied attack in an alleyway. “Seasons” is a well controlled punishment beating. The results are the same, but seasons is much more brutal for it. This album delivers blow after blow and doesn’t let up at all.
The confidence emanating from this band is both palpable and much deserved. Just look at the track listing. “War ensemble”, “blood red”, “spirit in black” and these OPEN the album. By any standard that’s just ridiculous. A majority of these songs are still a mainstay in the band’s live set and finishing with a song of the quality of the title track shows you the calibre of the album.
“Seasons” also includes my all time favourite Slayer track. Inspired by serial killer Ed Gein “dead skin mask” is everything that makes Slayer a phenomenal band distilled into 5:20. If anyone asked me what Slayer sounded like, this is what I would play them. Haunting atmosphere, questionable lyrics, drum fills that kick you off you feet and guitar riffs that ironically will take you face off.
This is the last album for a long time with the original lineup. These are four musicians at the top of their game and their isn’t a note out of place or a beat missed. I think that this album cemented Slayer as one of the all time greats and this lineup as untouchable.