Rating:
8.5
Slayer - Divine Intervention
27 September 1994


01. Killing Fields
02. Sex. Murder. Art.
03. Fictional Reality
04. Dittohead
05. Divine Intervention
06. Circle Of Beliefs
07. SS-3
08. Serenity In Murder
09. 213
10. Mind Control


Slayer fans around the world held their breath with this release, the first since the departure of much loved drummer Dave Lombardo. Paul Bostaph had big shoes to fill and was immediately branded inferior by the almost universal agreement of passionate Slayer fans everywhere. Right from the word go he puts any concerns to rest. He blasts off straight away on the first track "Killing Fields" with the toms and double bass driving like a well oiled locomotive and he uses a complete range of various speeds and timings on the track. The fact that the guitars only kick in after the drumming is already well on its way seems to be a statement of intent that Lombardo is gone and Bostaph is here to stay (which is quite ironical in light of events almost a decade later).

It is a brutally aggressive album exploring mankind's innermost unspoken desires on tracks like "Sex, Murder, Art" and "Serenity in Murder". There are nods to the infamous obsession their fans have with the band and their lyrical concepts, with the picture of the word Slayer carved into the arm of a fan gracing the album's inner sleeve and the last statement towards the fans in the final track "Mind Control".

"Dittohead" is one of the fastest songs they have ever done and is the object of many young Slayer fans attempts to repeat the words in time to the music at shows, with little or no success. Tom Araya confesses that even he sometimes has trouble duplicating the speed of the singing on the album during live shows.

The album generally plays in the same vain as its predecessors using all of the Slayer clichés used to maximum effect. It includes the second and final instalment of their "serial killer" songs, this time the story of Jeffrey Dahmer on the haunting "213". There is another song, following tracks off Reign In Blood and South of Heaven, dealing with Nazi ideology, this time "SS-3", which starts off slowly and increases in pace and intensity before reaching its crescendo with a final comment from the point of view of the historical figure in question.

The occult connections and concepts had become more subtle with each release and this album is no exception and for the first time the band felt the mention of Satan was not warranted. A trend they followed throughout their career until their 2006 release "Christ Illusion".

This album was a statement in so many ways of who Slayer was and who they were to become. The album touched on the different vocal melodies which Slayer would go on to experiment with on subsequent albums and yet didn't deviate from their tried and tested formulae of the past.

Overall it is the "underrated" album of their back catalogue and although it was not groundbreaking by any means it is still a very good release and considered by some to be one their very best.

Performance: 10
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 10


Band profile: Slayer
Album: Divine Intervention


 


written by Stuart | 04.04.2008


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



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Syk - 29.04.2008 at 11:28  
Performance a 10, huh? I thought the vocals were light years away from being anywhere near perfect. This was my first Slayer purchase and I was quite disappointed. The title track is my favourite due to the guitars, especially the last couple solos which stuck with me, unlike most of the rest of the album... track 8 is an abomination (those vocals, argh) and a few of the other tracks are just quite boring. 5/10

A couple other notes, what are you talking about trend of losing Satan, their next original album was practically called Devil in Music. And "crescendo" refers to the build-up itself, it is not synonymous with "climax". Tell yer friends
Slaytan - 29.04.2008 at 14:33  
10/10
theflyingmachine - 29.04.2008 at 18:47  
I really enjoyed this album too. This is their last good release (other than Undisputed Attitude), and I'm not sure why so many seem to dislike it.
Stuart - 29.04.2008 at 21:37  
Written by Syk on 29.04.2008 at 11:28

Performance a 10, huh? I thought the vocals were light years away from being anywhere near perfect. This was my first Slayer purchase and I was quite disappointed. The title track is my favourite due to the guitars, especially the last couple solos which stuck with me, unlike most of the rest of the album... track 8 is an abomination (those vocals, argh) and a few of the other tracks are just quite boring. 5/10

A couple other notes, what are you talking about trend of losing Satan, their next original album was practically called Devil in Music. And "crescendo" refers to the build-up itself, it is not synonymous with "climax". Tell yer friends

Diabolous in Musica is reference to a specific musical interval used often by Slayer and has little to do with the their satan references of before. I thought the vocals were pretty damn good on this album. I personaly don't find any of these songs boring, in fact I thought they were all quite interesting. except this album takes a little more patience to get into than there others, I guess some people want instant gratification though. I think reading this review again I could maybe have done a better job though if I were to write it again.
Syk - 30.04.2008 at 13:07  
Written by Stuart on 29.04.2008 at 21:37
I know all about the tritone, but why would they use that title if they were distancing themselves from Satan? Plus there's a few "antichrist"s along the way, which is just as good. Are you gonna review it and GHUA? I consider Diabolus to be their real underrated album but I'll understand if you won't
Opium - 30.04.2008 at 16:31  
It's just as good as the older Slayer albums, IMO. I don't understand how people can think it's any worse than their previous efforts, too. Yet another album I need to buy XD
Stuart - 30.04.2008 at 22:12  
Written by Syk on 30.04.2008 at 13:07

Written by Stuart on 29.04.2008 at 21:37
I know all about the tritone, but why would they use that title if they were distancing themselves from Satan? Plus there's a few "antichrist"s along the way, which is just as good. Are you gonna review it and GHUA? I consider Diabolus to be their real underrated album but I'll understand if you won't

well their pseudo satanism of the first two albums mellowed slightly with reign in blood, but was still ever present in songs like altar of sacrifice, it only barely got a mention in south of heaven and seasons in the abyss, was non existent on this album, and I believe the use of it on diabolous was more of anti-christian/society than actual praise Satan bollocks, although one could argue it's the same thing, there was a definite distinction in the way it was used prior and subsequent to this album.

I never said distancing themselves from satan... i just believe they evolved clever subtleties in their lyrics and they no longer needed the shock value.

god hates and diabolous are the only two i haven't reviewed because I left these albums in another country and i like to listen to an album whilst reviewing it.
Lokomotiv - 01.05.2008 at 00:23  
I love this album, probably my favourite by Slayer after the no less than perfect Hell Awaits.
Martin_metal - 17.06.2008 at 06:36  
This album is a killer! Not their best, but it´s poor they don´t have songs from this album in the liveset nowdays =(
Timelord - 29.06.2008 at 17:28  
There is only so many ways to sing about satan and I think Slayer made their point. I much prefer the less fantasy based lyrics over the satan proclamations. They matured lyrically with each release.

The reason alot of people IMO dislike DI is the production wasn't quite up to snuff. Also it had been 4 yrs since Seasons and metal was taking a new face. This is when Tom starting just yelling the lyrics instead of putting that classic Slayer wickedness into the vocals. I myself love this album but only from time to time. Dittohead,Divine Intervention,Serenity in Murder and 213 are the standouts to me.
Stuart - 12.07.2008 at 13:58  
Written by Timelord on 29.06.2008 at 17:28

There is only so many ways to sing about satan and I think Slayer made their point. I much prefer the less fantasy based lyrics over the satan proclamations. They matured lyrically with each release.

Yeah I love the lyrics on this album, they really got into the whole "we can really fuck with peoples heads", the whole album from beginning to end is basically just designed to do that, clever stuff!
Uirapuru - 15.06.2009 at 09:11  
Nothing spetacular, but a nice album to have. ''Serenity in Murder'' and ''Mind Control'' are my favorite tracks.
Motionless - 02.11.2009 at 11:58  
First album I bought just when it came out. Not to mention I love it. I think it is an underrated release. I give it 10 for personal reasons
hobaleo - 03.11.2009 at 02:09  
This album is when Slayer started its decline and morphing into some stupid loud-crap-metal. The following Diabolus is total crap. And God Hates us All is the crappiest of all Slayer albums. Christ Illusion was great, sounding a bit more like their earlier music. But now the latest 2009 album is again back to crap music.

Also I think they should disband already. Because it sounds so stupid to hear 50 year old men screaming "fuck you, fuck religion, sataaaan!" etc
Hermann Langke - 05.11.2009 at 15:48  
I love Dittohead and SS-3.
I_Die_Often - 28.03.2010 at 16:30  
I love this album, and it may be blasphemy... but I prefer Paul Bostaph's drumming over Dave's, there, I said it!
I am no expert, but to my ears, Paul puts more variety and creativity into his drumming, which is the main reason Christ Illusion and World Painted Blood sound so flat to me. Dave was in innovator perhaps, but Paul brought Slayer into the new era and gave Slayer a better, more extreme sound IMO.
Lord_Regnier - 28.03.2010 at 18:16  
This album marks the point at which I stopped caring for Slayer's new releases. I don't like it at all, mostly because of vocals and production.

Anyway, it was almost impossible to find good Thrash Metal albums in the 90s.
spiritofvengence - 21.09.2010 at 14:45  
So why is cliche good for slayer, iron maiden and dio but bad for anyone else?
Angelic Storm - 21.09.2010 at 15:45  
Id say Diabolus is Slayer's most underrated, even though it has a couple of crappy songs on it, while Divine has no songs I dislike. I think Divine is loved way more generally by the fans.

Some of my fave Slayer songs come from this album. "Sex, Murder, Art", and "Dittohead" are whirling dervishes of violence that harks back to the classic "Reign In Blood". While the creeping "213" is loaded with menace, and I even prefer it over the track its often associated with. ("Dead Skin Mask") I also love "Circle Of Beliefs". Yep, great Slayer album. If not quite up there with the first 4 classics.

Paul Bostaph is an amazing drummer, no doubt. But I still prefer Dave Lombardo. Paul's drumming is much more clinical, while Dave plays a much looser style, which sounds more chaotic and suits Slayer better imo. But still, he did a great job of filling Dave's shoes. xD
Deadmeat - 03.02.2011 at 17:28  
I agree with the review on most parts. this one really is underrated though i dont like so much the production. it is clean but a bit "un-aggressive". i'd like heavier guitars etc. also the drummer sounds to me better than lombardo! hahahah!

i also like very much araya's vocals. i totally despise his vocals on south of heaven for example (on RiB on the other hand they were amazing). generally imo it probably is their 3rd best album after RiB and Seasons in the Abyss.
RavenKing - 05.02.2011 at 17:01  
Written by Angelic Storm on 21.09.2010 at 15:45

Id say Diabolus is Slayer's most underrated, even though it has a couple of crappy songs on it, while Divine has no songs I dislike. I think Divine is loved way more generally by the fans.

Some of my fave Slayer songs come from this album. "Sex, Murder, Art", and "Dittohead" are whirling dervishes of violence that harks back to the classic "Reign In Blood". While the creeping "213" is loaded with menace, and I even prefer it over the track its often associated with. ("Dead Skin Mask") I also love "Circle Of Beliefs". Yep, great Slayer album. If not quite up there with the first 4 classics.


We often agree but we will disagree strongly here. This album has no song I like.
I bought it when it was released but I traded it many years ago because I hated the sound and found the album overall boring.

I would not say it is an album generally liked by the fans because I think more than half people who like old Slayer never liked this album much. It is more tolerated than liked. Or simply ignored.

"Great Slayer album"? Not in my book. It's listenable, no more. Not even enjoyable.

"Quite up there with the first 4 classics"? Not even close, if you ask me.

P.S. It's a matter of tastes and preferences, of course, but I've never been able to get used to this album. I think there are enough Thrash albums I like so much more than this that I don't want to loose my time with it.
JohnDoe - 05.02.2011 at 17:03  
Not up there with their classic work, but still a good album IMO
RavenKing - 05.02.2011 at 17:07  
Written by Deadmeat on 03.02.2011 at 17:28

i also like very much araya's vocals. i totally despise his vocals on south of heaven


It has always been my gripe with "South Of Heaven". I think vocals are very weak and don't fit the music at all. Imo, vocals sound ridiculous and whiny on this album.
Angelic Storm - 05.02.2011 at 17:50  
Written by RavenKing on 05.02.2011 at 17:01
We often agree but we will disagree strongly here. This album has no song I like.
I bought it when it was released but I traded it many years ago because I hated the sound and found the album overall boring.

I would not say it is an album generally liked by the fans because I think more than half people who like old Slayer never liked this album much. It is more tolerated than liked. Or simply ignored.


Well, the band apparently dont like the sound on the album either. When asked about the possibility of re-recording or re-mastering "Show No Mercy" and/or "Hell Awaits", Tom Araya said he had no interest in doing so, as he felt tampering with those albums would ruin their charm and what makes them special. (Which I also happen to agree with him strongly about.) However, he stated if he could go back and re-do any of their albums, it would be "Divine Intervention", as while he likes a lot of the songs themselves, he doesn't like the sound on the album. Ive never had a problem with the album's sound, but it seems like Tom himself agrees with you. lol xD

As for your second point, I have generally heard far more positive comments about the album, than Ive heard negative. Whereas I have heard quite a few disparaging remarks aimed at DIM and GHUA, Ive never really seen any about "Divine Intervention". *shrugs*

Quote:
"Great Slayer album"? Not in my book. It's listenable, no more. Not even enjoyable.

"Quite up there with the first 4 classics"? Not even close, if you ask me.

P.S. It's a matter of tastes and preferences, of course, but I've never been able to get used to this album. I think there are enough Thrash albums I like so much more than this that I don't want to loose my time with it.


I actually prefer "Divine Intervention" overall, over "Seasons In The Abyss", although it's not as good as the first four albums. At least not in my own opinion. As for everything else you're saying, I can only agree of course, if you don't like it, you don't like it, end of.
RavenKing - 06.02.2011 at 15:31  
@Angelic Storm: I didn't know Tom Araya shared my opinion about the album's sound.
I also agree with him (and with you, in this case) that "Show No Mercy" and "Hell Awaits" must be left untouched, as in my mind that's how Slayer should sound. I think Slayer's music works much better with raw production. That's why I own only their early albums nowadays.

About preferring "Divine Intervention" over "Seasons In The Abyss", you're not the first person to make this comment, though I disagree here and prefer by far SITA.
Angelic Storm - 06.02.2011 at 16:27  
Written by RavenKing on 06.02.2011 at 15:31

@Angelic Storm: I didn't know Tom Araya shared my opinion about the album's sound.
I also agree with him (and with you, in this case) that "Show No Mercy" and "Hell Awaits" must be left untouched, as in my mind that's how Slayer should sound. I think Slayer's music works much better with raw production. That's why I own only their early albums nowadays.


Here is another interview with Tom where he states he's not in favour of remastering "Hell Awaits", and expressing a wish to re-do "Divine Intervention". http://thequietus.com/articles/04805-slayer-hell-awaits-25th-anniversary

Quote:
About preferring "Divine Intervention" over "Seasons In The Abyss", you're not the first person to make this comment, though I disagree here and prefer by far SITA.


For me it's really the consistency. The best songs on Seasons are better than most of what's on DI. I feel DI is more well-rounded overall though. lol
RavenKing - 06.02.2011 at 17:07  
Written by Angelic Storm on 06.02.2011 at 16:27

For me it's really the consistency. The best songs on Seasons are better than most of what's on DI. I feel DI is more well-rounded overall though.


I think "Blood Red", "Expendable Youth" and "Skeletons Of Society" are too much similar but they're not bad songs. "War Ensemble", "Spirit In Black", "Dead Skin Mask", "Born Of Fire" and "Hallowed Point" are great. "Temptation" and "Seasons In The Abyss" are decent but not great.
Imo, there's not a single sucky song on the album, while "Divine Intervention" had many songs I utterly disliked.

But I confess I'm one of those who believe "Seasons In The Abyss" is where Slayer succeeded at mixing all the different elements from their previous albums. And I like this album more than "South Of Heaven" or even "Reign In Blood". However, I don't listen to anything post-Hell Awaits on a regular basis nowadays.
Angelic Storm - 06.02.2011 at 17:37  
I know "Skeletons Of Society" usually gets lumped together with "Expendable Youth", but I personally find it a much better song. "Blood Red" isn't a bad song no, but it's definitely weak compared to the album's best songs. All those songs you mentioned as being great, I would agree with you on. Although Id also include the title track as great. "Temptation" is a lot better than "Expendable Youth", and maybe better than "Blood Red" as well, but it's not up there with the album's best IMO.

I think where Seasons comes up short, is in it's consistency of material. On the 4 previous albums, there's no filler for me. SITA was the first Slayer album, in my opinion at least, where they started writing sub-par material. Even if it was mixed in with some really great stuff also. I do, like you however, like it's mix of the previous albums, especially RIB and SOH. xD
RavenKing - 06.02.2011 at 17:49  
Written by Angelic Storm on 06.02.2011 at 17:37

I think where Seasons comes up short, is in it's consistency of material. On the 4 previous albums, there's no filler for me. SITA was the first Slayer album, in my opinion at least, where they started writing sub-par material. Even if it was mixed in with some really great stuff also. I do, like you however, like it's mix of the previous albums, especially RIB and SOH. xD


I think "South Of Heaven" has more fillers and weak songs than "Seasons In The Abyss" but I don't remember it very well because I never listen to it, since I hate vocals on SOH so much.

As for "Reign In Blood", I already mentioned that I don't enjoy listening to it because of its too one-dimensional nature and lack of variety.
Thrash del Sur - 16.04.2011 at 00:44  
This album is really good, I don't know what some guys expected. I think this is the Slayer's 90's best album.
pkillerjp - 10.03.2014 at 17:26  
For me this album is a glaringly obvious dip in quality from the previous "classic era" releases. Writer's block seemed to be overtaking them, something they never corrected, but got increasingly worse over the years. For me, this one still holds value as their last listenable release, I've heard many give credit to Christ Illusion, but I find it entirely forgettable. At least this one starts great, I love Killings Fields, the drum intro, the build up to the chorus, the riffs, it's a beast. There's a few other highlights sprinkled throughout the album as well.
deadone - 11.03.2014 at 00:09  
I prefer it to Seasons In The Abyss and it's one of my favourite Slayer releases for reasons completely unknown to me.

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