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“Seasons in the Abyss” by Slayer

Slayer is one of the most iconic thrash metal bands there is. You cannot go to a metal show without seeing multiple people with a big Slayer patch on the back of their vests.  


Slayer gets a lot of controversy mainly for the violence in lyrics and most notably, the edgy imagery they use for albums and songs. One of the biggest claims was that the band is satanist, but the bands lead singer Tom Araya is a devout Catholic and is open about his faith. 


The band itself has never really taken any sides in controversies and usually tries to highlight the same aspects that all thrash music covered. This includes topics like war, Hell, diseases, disasters and anything else that has some impact on society whether natural or manmade, especially in terms of violence.  


“Seasons in the Abyss” is my personal favorite Slayer album, and because it has a few songs that I love. To me, they fit a more classic, thrash style but easily fit into the spooky season.  


We will start with “Skeltons of Society,” an absolute ear worm with a killer riff and lyrics in your head to hum all day. The song is about nuclear war and seeing the world after the bombs and how society will unravel.  


“Dead Skin Mask,” another banger that is more open about why it’s on the spooky section, is based around real life serial killer and cannibal Ed Gein. Gein was the inspiration for Norman Bates in “Psycho” and Leatherface in the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” series. 


The other that I think can fit into the spooky themed category is the self-titled “Seasons in the Abyss.” I am positive this is based around the occultist Aleister Crowley’s philosophy of Thelema. Applying this to “The Abyss,” there is a gap between the real, unreal and were nothing but delusions. There is a lot more to it than that, but Slayer has lyrics that point directly to Crowley’s basic idea of the Abyss in a general context. 


Then, we get to the war-themed songs, which is something Slayer is recognized for. “War Ensemble” opens the track, a heavy hitter centered on World War II and how war was seen as a game until technology surpassed the civility of mankind. “Hallowed Point” is a faster song with intense riffing to describe the power of a gun and what it can do.  


“Expendable Youth” reminds me of the Frankin D. Roosevelt quote, “War is young men dying and old men talking.” This song focuses on how our youth is sent to die for control of resources and wealth. Last in the war category is “Blood Red,” which seems like more of a statement on the way force is used on civilians, but I count it toward this category. 


The last category is the edgy Hell-themed tunes.  


“Temptation” is a song about the devil trying to make a deal that describes the temptations offered and the bargaining for one’s soul. Additionally, “Born of Fire” focuses on how the Antichrist could emerge and features mind-blowing instrumentals. Finishing the category, “Spirit In Black” is as if Satan himself was giving a tour of Hell describing what awaits.  


The album sits well among the ranks of thrash metal. Almost every song brings intensity, and the hard-hitting sound Slayer is known for, with only “Blood Red” not keeping up like the other songs. 

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