Slayer - Diabolus In Musica review




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Reviewer:
4.9

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6.68
Band: Slayer
Album: Diabolus In Musica
Release date: June 1998


Disc I
01. Bitter Peace
02. Death's Head
03. Stain Of Mind
04. Overt Enemy
05. Perversions Of Pain
06. Love To Hate
07. Desire
08. Unguarded Instinct [Japanese bonus]
09. In The Name Of God
10. Scrum
11. Screaming From The Sky
12. Wicked [Japanese/Australian bonus]
13. Point

Disc II [limited 2CD edition] [live]
01. Raining Blood
02. Angel Of Death
03. Mandatory Suicide
04. Chemical Warfare
05. Dittohead
06. South Of Heaven


Who knew the devil would make them do this and not Hell Awaits eh?

As opposed to the other big 4 in the 90's who changed their sounds to keep up with changing trends, Slayer were unique in that they incorporated it into their sound instead. This may seem like a minor distinction, but it is one that has big ramifications on the band's formula. Where the other three tried their hand at hard rock (or groove in the case of Anthrax) and only kept a few common threads to their past, Slayer flip this on its head and keep being themselves whilst bringing in nu metal influences.

Unfortunately for the band, this ended up creating a twofold problem, one being that (in hindsight anyway) Slayer got the bogey choice when it came to genre cross-pollination, with nu metal being the least credible and derided when compared with groove metal and hard rock. The other problem was that the band had cultivated such an identifiable and rigid formula for themselves (to the point that South Of Heaven was controversial at first merely for dropping the tempo) that a divergence of Diabolus In Musica's size is one that was as welcome as a fart in church. Whether to head this off, the band then feel like they're either second guessing themselves and never fully committing to this new direction, and as a result many ideas are left unfinished or lack commitment in the execution.

"Stain Of Mind" sounds like a half-hearted Machine Head track to me, but with far weaker production and an application that sees Slayer's intensity in place of the grit required to really nail the song. Had the track had a production job similar to something off of Burn My Eyes I could see it work well; in its current form, it is listenable but not much more than that. "Perversions Of Pain" and "In The Name Of God" sound like unfinished ideas leftover from previous albums and the gaps in the tracks are filled in with nu-metal-isms, out of place effects and riffs that try to ape the chug sound but aren't really built to do so. It's tracks like these that make me think Slayer were trying to keep a foot in both camps to cover their backs, pleasing no one as a result.

I'm not a fan of the overuse of effects and reverb on Araya's vocals; for much of the album his voice is distorted by something and it is rarely partnered with a different vocal pattern to match, rendering the effects underutilized and feeling like they're included as a token gesture rather than an actual idea. Aside from "Stain Of Mind" and "Desire", where Araya varies his vocal approach, the rest of the album is basically hearing regular Araya but through a murky lens. It leads you again back to the question of whether the band didn't know how to best utilize this new sound or it was a half-hearted attempt.

The rest of the band don't make this transition in style either, with Hanneman and King's guitar work being devoid of any real strong riffing and their style not fitting in with the downtuned thick aesthetic. "Scrum" comes closest to memorable guitar work, but it is probably because it is the most Slayer track here, and even then I would call it B-side quality at best. Bostaph is probably the only member who really rises above the material; his drumming is strong and he does at least make for some interesting passages and transitions, but even then he can't bring his full talent to bare and really elevate the album.

Diabolus In Musica is unique for me in that I can't pinpoint any good qualities as such, but then I can't give it a zero as that would imply. This album has something that at least prevents it from being a total write-off; it's the scattered pieces that while too small to identify, when put together make something of value. It is easily the worst album in Slayer's career as even King himself would later admit; aside for inclusions sake, I wouldn't want any of these tracks picked on a setlist or compilation by the band at the expense of other songs.

It's up to you if you feel the album suffers from a lack of conviction or was just a bad idea with little to no chance of redemption; either way you get to the same result, that being Diabolus In Musica is a poor album. I'd say call in the exorcist to get the devil out of this music but make sure to ensure the priest knows to limit it to just this album; he's done pretty well for the band otherwise.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 6
Songwriting: 5
Originality: 5
Production: 5


 



Written on 13.11.2020 by Just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.


Comments

Comments: 7   Visited by: 25 users
14.11.2020 - 13:47
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
After season this band died to me, and here we see what dushbag King is. Band id dead and dead for real
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Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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14.11.2020 - 13:59
JoHn DoE
Slayer's St. Anger
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I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.
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14.11.2020 - 15:44
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Written by JoHn DoE on 14.11.2020 at 13:59

Slayer's St. Anger

Even worst, i hated st. Anger, but I hate this most.
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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14.11.2020 - 15:52
JoHn DoE
Written by Bad English on 14.11.2020 at 15:44

Written by JoHn DoE on 14.11.2020 at 13:59

Slayer's St. Anger

Even worst, i hated st. Anger, but I hate this most.


yeah, both unlistenable.
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I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.
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14.11.2020 - 19:43
IH8Hipsters
This is an album that even Slayer hates. They had some other lops after Seasons like Undisputed Attitude and Divine Intervention this album being the bands trifecta of shit. After that though their albums have all been very good to excellent IMO. God Hates Us All is a great album that got them back on track. Christ Illusion is alway excellent as is World Painted Blood. Repentless is good even. I disagree that the band died as they've proven they can still make original badass thrash still today.
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14.11.2020 - 22:25
omne metallum
Written by IH8Hipsters on 14.11.2020 at 19:43
they can still make original badass thrash still today.


Might be a bit hard given they've split up (for now anyway)
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Just because I'm not listening doesn't mean I don't care
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16.11.2020 - 16:44
IH8Hipsters
Written by omne metallum on 14.11.2020 at 22:25

Written by IH8Hipsters on 14.11.2020 at 19:43
they can still make original badass thrash still today.


Might be a bit hard given they've split up (for now anyway)



That's true. I was more speaking of Repentless
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