Today’s a bit of a dual post, but it all goes together, as you shall see…
Parte The First:
Today was our son’s first day returning for another school year. As you may recall from previous posts in these pages, my way of writing while he was in school last year was to show up early for picking him up at the end of the day. My daughter and I then rocked an album in the car, and I write about it in a notebook. I called this my Office, and it worked great all school year. Well, today’s review is the first from my return to the Office for a new school year.
Greetings from the Office!
Parte The Second:
Slayer’s 1998 album, Diabolus In Musica, is a monster of an album. The sound is very big, and clear. Can we credit Rubin with this? I seem to recall Kerry King saying somewhere that he was a bit of a hands-off producer… Whatever. It’s pure Slayer – you know that sound: the howled, menacing vocals, and lyrics covering typical Slayer territory. Present are the great riffs and blistering solos, the heavy bottom end and pummeling drums. It’s all here. And speaking of the drums, this is the second album they made with Paul Bostaph on the kit, after Dave Lombardo left. I have zero problem with Bostaph’s playing on this album.
Some detractors said they thought this album was weak, not up to snuff for Slayer’s discography of evil and mayhem. Too nu-metal, some complained, saying Slayer were trying too hard to add new elements to the already-established Slayer sound. Others said it all sounded too same-y. These may be legitimate concerns to some, but I wonder if you probed a bit deeper you’d simply find that some of these complainers are just upset that the band isn’t re-making Reign In Blood over and over again.
For myself, I have no such complaints. I can play this album top to bottom, as I have done again today (for the umpteenth time since I bought it), and I think it’s great. Actually, the first 5 tracks are some of the strongest songs available at that time. Bitter Peace teases with an intro and then just blasts you. They don’t let up through Death’s Head, Stain Of Mind (which I first heard on a CMJ compilation at the time), Overt Enemy and Perversions Of Pain. If that were an EP, it would be a sure-fire metal classic. The rest of the album continues in that vein, all the way through to Point, which is a hulking giant of a tune. Crazy stuff. I like this record a lot.
I did notice one thing: In the song Love To Hate, the song just cuts off at 2:06, right in the middle of the guitar solo. It pops back on after a second or two, but it’s weird. Is this just a problem with my copy, or does everyone’s copy do the same thing? It’s possible that that break is supposed to be there and I’m just not hip enough to recognize its significance.
No matter. This album kicks. SLAYER!!