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When everything seemed to go well for Slayer, came Diabolous in Musica. With the Divine Intervention album, Slayer proved us that they were avoiding the groove/grunge period very well but the hopes of a solid, still thrash metal effort were destroyed by this album, the weakest point in their career. I can say that if it’s even acceptable because after 15 years of music the inspiration can go away for awhile, but the music here is not good…and I must admit it, me, a huge fan of this band. Nothing is perfect and they are human beings too, even if in the previous efforts they looked like (or played like) gods to me.
I’ve listened to this album a lot of times in the past because I was younger and as a teenager with a low knowledge of metal, I was attracted by anything that sounded heavy and it did to me. By the way, growing up as a guy and as a metal aficionado, I understood that this album had nothing to do with the previous ones. The 90s were a quite bad period for the genres born in the 80s and this is the proof, even because the “nu-metal” was putting the head out and was becoming a popular genre among the young bands. I can’t say that Slayer completely went “nu-metal” but they filled their sound with new elements and the songwriting changed a lot.
The beginning is not bad at all and it gives you the idea that the band is back again with a furious opus of thrash metal. The introduction to “Bitter Peace” and the following up-tempo parts are just blowing. The band is compact, brutal and fast. The production is clear, pounding and truly devastating. Bostaph at the drums is always great and the furious restarts with the fast bass drum parts are very good. Tom’s vocals are always good and angry but some filtrated vocals are a bit weird. At this point I wasn’t worried because everything seemed a continuation of Divine Intervention. “Death’s Head” shows signs of changes for the more hardcore/punk patterns and guitars parts with sudden doom breaks. The riffs are far simpler than in the past and some effects are actually new in their sound. Everything seems directed in a different way than in the past. Everything is extreme in another direction and this time the first groovy parts are more audible. The atmosphere, anyway, is truly gloom and dark and this is the thing I liked the most. Even the whispered vocals are dark but they are a bit in Slipknot style, so… “Stain of Mind” follows more or less the patterns of the previous song, while the doom atmospheres of “Overt Enemy” and the sludgy riffage are too boring. Tom’s here is terrible and the vocals remind the ones on the following God Hates Us All.
The riffs are sloppy and the solos have lost that uncontrollable fury of the previous works. The fast parts are better and they avoid me from falling asleep. By the way, even in this part, the thrash metal is just present as a tree in the Sahara. The refrain on “Perversion of Pain” is terrible with the clean vocals but the fast parts are finally what I call thrash metal. The solo too is far better. The riffs on “Love to Hate” are one of the most horrible things ever by this band. They are senseless and without even a hint of power and rage. “Desire” is utterly boring in its purpose to be dark and obsessive. As always, the vocals are shit and the arpeggios are flowing crap. Oh my, what a mountain of shit. “In The Name of God” makes me laugh and at times I wanna cry too… here Slayer are almost unrecognizable and completely anonymous in their way of playing. They were born to play thrash and anything different they did they did it bad. No fast parts, no impact, no THRASH, no METAL! This is desolating and going on this album continues in going downhill. The rest of this album isn’t worthy a description. Except for some good riffs on “Scrum”, the rest is to throw away.
They give you the idea that when they decide to play thrash metal, they are still unmatchable but they don’t want to do it in the greatest part of the album. This is definitely the lowest point in their discography and objectively a musical wreck. Ok, if you want to change, do it with a style and this is not the right way. Also the following album would be quite bad but with this one we reached the limits. Unless you are constipated, avoid this album and you’ll live better, for sure.