Album Reviews of the 80s

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Slayer, "Seasons In The Abyss" / 1991 Review by: Johnson
After staking out new territory with the underrated South of Heaven, Slayer brought back some of the pounding speed of 1987's Reign in Blood for its third major-label album, Seasons in the Abyss. Essentially, Seasons fuses its two predecessors, periodically kicking up the midtempo grooves of 1989's South of Heaven with manic bursts of aggession. "War Ensemble" and the title track each represented opposite sides of the coin, and they both earned Slayer their heaviest MTV airplay to date. In fact, Seasons in the Abyss is probably their most accessible album, displaying the full range of their abilities all in one place, with sharp, clean production. Since the band is refining rather than progressing or experimenting, Seasons doesn't have quite the freshness of its predecessors, but aside from that drawback, it's strong almost all the way from top to bottom (with perhaps one or two exceptions). Lyrically, the band rarely turns to demonic visions of the afterlife anymore, preferring instead to find tangible horror in real life war, murder, human weakness. There's even full-fledged social criticism, which should convince any doubters that Slayer isn't trying to promote the subjects they sing about. Like Metallica's Master of Puppets or Megadeth's Peace Sells...But Who's Buying, Seasons in the Abyss paints Reagan-era America as a cesspool of corruption and cruelty, and the music is as devilishly effective as ever.

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