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Is this the most underrated album of all time? Maybe. All I know is that it's way better than what most people give it credit for. Most of the thrash is gone, the songs are slower, the album is more melodic, and Araya actually sings here and there. So? It's a vast improvement over Divine Intervention, and that's what matters.
The best song is the first you hear, 'Bitter Peace'. It's pretty thrashy, actually, and completely and relentlessly in-your-face, and one of the best Slayer songs ever! Yes! While the rest of the album isn't as good as this, it sure is a cool album still. 'Death's Head' is the first departure from the trademark Slayer sound. It has lot more groove than any other song before it, and many metalheads hates this groove-thing that's going on with this album. And some people have the indecency to label it "mallcore". It's heavy metal, people! Wash your freaking ears! Now, the song itself is very good, with a nice tag-along riff, and a nice....GROOVE...Now, for even more....GROOVE...check out 'Stain of Mind'. Hip and modern, something all old farts hate. Furthermore, it's a bleedin' awesome track. The main riff ain't complicated, actually it's something I could play (WOW!), but it's damn catchy. Which leads me to this album's main advantage compared to the older Slayer albums, it's a whole lot easier to remember the songs, as they intrude into your mind, never letting you go. That's called catchiness.
'Overt Enemy' is more of a slow number. Not as in ballad, but as in doomy and gritty. Some excellent harmonies at the beginning helps set the mood, and the riff that follows and leads into the awesome verse is very nice. Hell, this song even has a memorable solo! When did Slayer write memorable solos!? Halfway the song speeds up slightly, losing none of its excellence. There's some cool lyrics in this song. An even better song you can find in 'Perversions of Pain'. Again a in-your-face track. It's not as fast as 'Bitter Peace', but it sure is great. The guitars works furious rhythms, and the drums are blasting into your now damaged brain. I am of the opinion that Paul Bostaph is the best drummer Slayer ever had, and his work on this album is mindblowing. Too bad he wimped out eventually. "Perversions of pain/seep from my eyes/into your brain/visualize" Excellent and evil lyrics, haha. Then we have 'Love to Hate' which some people has the nerve to call rap! Yes, it sounds cool and modern as hell, but how does that make it rap? There are guitars, killer drums, and all the heavy metal there should be. I do admit, though, that this could've been a reworked rap song from RunDMC or something. Hell, I don't hate rap, so why should I be in denial?
'Desire'....ok, so now the album takes a little dive. But only a very small one, for this is an alright song. It's midpaced (as most of the album is), and there's nothing really wrong with it, except the slightly lame chorus, and the fact that nothing really happens. 'In the Name of God' is a bit better, but you start to realize that maybe Slayer used up their best songs for the first album half. Still, this is good stuff. Again mid-paced, with a nice chugging riff, cool dual lead guitars, and awesome drumming. Halfway in the song gets more attitude, which MAKES the song, simply. Great section, especially the "Antichrist is the name of god!" And then we have a slow, grinding riff which just kills. Talk about a song going from ok to fuckin a! What is a scrum? I have no idea, but 'Scrum' is still a nice song. The section 43 seconds into the songs is cool as hell, and the thrashy section that follows makes you wanna headbang like crazy, maybe because there has been so little thrash so far. You gotta hear the solo, total killer.
More songs. 'Screaming to the Sky' isn't as good as 'Screaming for Vengeance', but hey, what is, right? Damn, now I want to listen to Judas Priest! I'll wait 'till this review is finished, I guess. Here I go again: 'Screaming to the Sky' is not that great. The chorus is a little stupid, there's extreme vocal distortion in the middle, which almost always suck, and the riff....what riff? Can't even remember it even though the song plays as I write. Forgettable, then. The "Japanese" bonus song, Wicked, is, in fact, also a European bonus song. So there. I just wish it wasn't included. Ok, so the beginning is badass, but six minutes of this song is too much. If it was cut by two minutes, it would be fine. The last song is 'Point', some of the thrashiest found in "Diabolus...". It doesn't sound like that to begin with, but a minute into the song, the thrash comes crumbling down on you. Awesome stuff.
"Diabolus In Musica" is really a unique album. I can't think of anything else that sounds like it, not even anything Slayer. They wrote it a time where they were pissed off and tired of music and the music business, but that doesn't really show. It's not Slayer's finest, but it's not far from it. Vastly and horribly underrated.