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I think we all agree that "Undisputed Attitude" is Slayer's most exceptional album. Its concept is questionable. Even almost 20 years after the release, I am still slightly confused about the offering of "Gemini", that does not fit into the scheme. It seems as if Slayer did not trust their own concept. Or - worse still - they wanted to create an additional purchase incentive at the expense of their integrity. "Yes, we want to cover raw and violent punk classics. But come on, let us at least take one new Slayer track so that everybody has to buy the album, if he wants to have a complete Slayer collection" - this was seemingly their train of thought. To add insult to injury, the slow-moving "Gemini" stands in sharp contrast to the other songs and it does not reach the expected level of aggression and velocity. The solid but fairly weary composition fails to enrich the catalogue of Slayer sustainably.
Apart from this minor conventional flaw, the band cannot be blamed for half-heartedness. Slayer have internalized the spirit of the songs and they express it in a furious manner. An acoustic amok run reminds us that the fucked up universe also knows good extreme music which cannot be labelled as metal. I freely admit that the pretty harmless Ramones are the only punk band that I really love. By the way, their best track is "Garden of Serenity" from "Halfway to Sanity". But that is another story. I just want to say that I am no expert for punk music and I do not know the original tunes. This said, the here presented attacks have absolutely nothing in common with the musical approach of the forefathers of punk. The songs barrel along as if there is no tomorrow. Even if the band slows down the pace, the aura of stubborn resistance stays the same. Song titles such as "Guilty of Being White", "Violent Pacification" or "Richard Hung Himself" show impressively that Slayer know how to play the game of provocation. And I do not think that we have to discuss about these lyrics. From my point of view, they should not and cannot be taken seriously.
The adrenaline rush seems to be unstoppable. After having performed the first high velocity eruptions, the band does not get out of breath and the level of harshness remains unaffected. For example, "Spiritual Law" is one of the most intense orgies of the album, although it has a mid-paced middle part. Furthermore, it is remarkable that this song, as well as the majority of the other tunes, considers the necessary amount of melody lines. The crude authors of the original versions knew their business. Compared with their working results, the two punk-influenced creations of Jeff Hanneman (R.I.P.) do not leave a lasting impression. To play punk songs means more than killing your instrument within 90 seconds.
Despite the forceful and mainly clean sound, the album transmits the crusty character of typical hardcore / punk eruptions. Tom Araya's vocal performance is an important component in this context. He sounds less demonic than on the regular albums. Instead, he seems to scream permanently "piss off", while using mysteriously other words for that friendly invitation. Anyway! "Undisputed Aggression" has its own charm. Enjoy slayerized punk anthems and don't give a damn about the political - or naive? - lyrics. This is punk! (As a marginal note: the second CD offers three live tracks, among other things a cover version of Venom. Nice, but unspectacular.)
What we have here is one of the most overlooked albums in the Slayer discography. It is also fairly significant in the timeline of their stylistic (d)evolution, as well as being the last time they seem to lack that manufactured nu rage that would dominate their sound in the later 90's.
As the title suggests, the closest comparison that can be drawn to this album's sound is the seminal Reign In Blood. Think of this as a more punk driven and bass-heavy version of their much lauded 1986 outing. The album takes the form of the old style of hardcore, hearkening back to a time when that word wasn't associated with the likes of Hatebreed. If you have ever listened to one hardcore or crossover release, you will know how this thing sounds anyway. The first 13 tracks are all under 3 minutes, which is fine as this style of music entails having one riff carrying the whole song with no change-ups in pace to speak of. Each riff is a variation on the same 3 or 4 notes, but that is how the old hardcore bands they are covering would have done it. I would have hoped for a S.O.D. or Cro-Mags cover, but never mind.
These are clearly cover songs, and couldn't be mistaken for Slayer songs. However, they add their own spin by applying tighter musicianship and upping the intensity from the originals. Araya gives his last respectable vocal performance, the maximum shouting style being belted out with a passion and intensity never to be seen again. Unusually for a Slayer album (but typical for a punk release) the bass is very prominent, and he really slaps the thing like there is no tomorrow. Paul Bostaph steps up his game from his previous outing on Divine Intervention. Whereas on that album he was constantly falling out of time, here he is perfectly on the money, delivering the fast and furious (yet simple) punk beats with not a single slip-up. King and Hanneman don't really have too difficult a job - not many of these songs have solos and the riffs are even simpler than on Reign in Blood. They do their job well enough, though.
The album's thrashing majority is rounded off with 3 far sludgier and slower tracks at the end. These are the longest on the album, and are a welcome change in pace that prevents the whole thing from running together too much. The most notable of these is the only original track here, 'Gemini', which wouldn't have been out of place on the previous 3 Slayer albums. The verses are delivered in a very relaxed manner, but it doesn't come across as flat like 'Serenity in Murder' from 2 years prior. The solos are typical spastic Slayer, and it seems they couldn't make it through a whole song being slow, speeding up towards the end. The lyrics deal with the Zodiac killer, and the song is a chilling note on which to end on an otherwise ludicrously vulgar crossover album.
The production is a typical corporate '90s affair. Everything is crystal clear and all the instruments possess good dynamics to their sound. Unlike Divine Intervention, each instrument also possesses a good depth as well, and the drums don't dominate the album. Such a production job gives these songs a new lease on life, helping to accentuate the increased speed brought on by Slayer.
This is an essential purchase for those that admire the old style of hardcore and are partial to the fusing of metal and punk. I would recommend this also to all fans of Slayer, particularly those who liked Reign In Blood and the various attempts at recapturing that sound over the years, the latest being World Painted Blood. What we have here is the last time you will ever hear Slayer thrash with passion, as every album after this is contrived to oblivion.
Undisputed Attitude came out the summer before my senior year in High School and remained firmly ensconced in my cassette deck throughout that summer as my friends and I drove to hardcore punk and metal shows throughout the Central New York region. Like Reign In Blood a decade earlier, this album was everywhere and everyone listened to it: skate punks, heshers, crusties, straight-edgers, etc. Slayer brought us all together, hanging out and headbanging to what seemed to be a match-made in hell: Slayer covering hardcore punk, particularly some of the elite of the genre, bands like D.R.I., Minor Threat, and Verbal Abuse, all of whom we loved anyway.
Listening to this album is like peering behind the veil of what made Reign In Blood so iconic a decade earlier. That album took the ferocious anger and purity of intention that was hardcore and embalmed it in evil, taking an already speedy genre and amping it up to eleven. Hearing Slayer blaze through such classics as Minor Threat's 'Filler' and 'I Don't Wanna Hear It' is literally breathtaking, in that they retain the essence of Minor Threat's self-righteous anger while still retaining their own signature thrash aggression. Slayer can only sound like Slayer in the end, even when performing a near-Xerox caliber cover.
And the bands selected here were all vital influences in the early architecture of Slayer. Hell, two of the tracks on here ('Ddamn'; 'Can't Stand You') are from Pap Smear, Dave & Jeff's short-lived punk band with members of Suicidal Tendencies. Which makes Dave's lack of appearance here on drums all the more disheartening. Paul Bostaph is a perfectly adequate drummer but Dave would've rocked the shit out of these tunes. The rest of the band sounds good enough, though Tom's vocals sometimes take on an over-distorted tone that swamps the power of his vocals.
As with most hardcore punk oriented albums, things start to blur together -- there's only so much you can do with three chords. Given their more precise and technical nature, the band naturally both speeds up and tightens up these tunes (and changes the occasional word-or-two), which some purists turned up their noses to. Fuck 'em! Slayer rubs their noses in it by being punk as fuck yet metal as death. And if you needed a quick reminder of the Slayer's other side, the South Of Heaven side, there's always 'Gemini' -- a slow-groove, brooding piece of atmospheric doom that always left my less metal inclined friends slack-jawed. Slayer forever!
Not that there's much competition, but this would easily be the best Slayer album since South of Heaven, at the very least, if not Reign in Blood. Sure, it's pretty one dimensional, tom shouts all the time and there's a ridiculous amount of double time snare, but a) this is slayer b) covering hardcore punk c) so what did you expect d) dipshit.
Not being much of a hardcore punk conniseur it's pretty hard to give a nuanced account of the songs and how they differ from the original versions, whether Slayer have murdered them or whatever but they sound pretty cool to me, if like every other hardcore punk i've heard. Simple, three chord riffs with a few pretty fast 16th notes and solos thrown in- perhaps to thrash it up, I don't know- a polka beat with some extra speed added and the snare hit harder- lots of yelling with the occaisonal slower section or song thrown in for a breather- the epic doomy/sludge album closer that's "Gemini" being a rather cool- and rather surprising- example.
It's intense and there's heaps of energy, the band tight and really fierce and raw. You have to wonder how much time this took to record- the vibe on the record suggests a very quick, warts-and-all recording, which is pretty ideal for this sort of music. Certainly everyone sounds like they're belting the crap out of their instruments, which is the way it should be. The main drawback being Tom's voice. Sure, doing deep growling when spitting out super fast lyrics like in "Guilty of Being White" would be pretty much impossible but it's still monotonous as all hell, mid-range shouting with an almost robotic consistency. Screaming these lyrics out at the top of your lungs is all fine and good, but why not get Kerry or Jeff to do a song or two? Or get them doing gang vocals? Wouldn't be too hard and it'd be a nice break from the sore throat barking. I've always imagined that Kerry has a really high pitched voice though, so perhaps that's why.
No big deal, though. Complaining about monotonous vocals on songs like "I don't want to hear it" or "Violent Pacification" is really missing the point of these tunes. They're super fast and full of rage; they get me hyped and pumped, and it's the sort of music that is guaranteed to kill your mother. Not an essential purchase for anyone, but a bit of old hardcore does go down well and good once in a while, so you might as well get this.
Holy hell, this is good. It's nice to hear a blast of what real old school hardcore sounds like, unlike the sludgy groove metal dirges youngsters associate with the style these days. When I say "old school", I mean as in early 1980s, when hardcore was frenzied, furious at the world at large, got in, made its point, and got out inside of a minute and change, all at about 100mph, with ranting screaming vocals and energy to spare. Slayer have always made it clear that this played a big part in their sound and style, and this album is a very convincing run through of some golden oldies from that era. I'd rate it higher if it were an actual Slayer album, since they've not had this kind of energy since the days of "South of Heaven" and "Seasons in the Abyss" (on the faster numbers from that album anyway), but this is still a really good album anyway.
I give them credit for mostly not choosing obvious bands (other than Minor Threat) from the genre to cover, first of all; not many folks these days remember the likes of D.I., TSOL, Dr. Know, and Verbal Abuse. I could've done with a Bad Brains tune or two, myself, but that's just my preference. I think they were choosing mostly West Coast bands since they're from L.A., and that's perfectly OK, since, again, most of these bands are not known at all to today's youth.
It's well-produced, too, which makes these songs have even more impact than the original versions in that respect; the guitars have that trademark grungy Slayer tone from back in the day, the drums are perfectly mixed, and the bass is even audible, something you don't hear on a Slayer album. Then again, the bass led the charge much of the time in hardcore's glory days, and Tom Araya gets lots of chances to shine throughout the album with a dirty bass sound that adds healthy amounts of heft and grit to the overall wall of sound, but it' s not so fuzzed out you can't hear what he's doing. And he really beats the crap out of the thing, too. To my surprise, Paul Bostaph earns the award for "Most Improved" on this album, as his drum performance here leaves his sloppy showing on "Divine Intervention" in the dust in more ways than one. He's far tighter and more intense on this album, and the bits of double kick he throws in fit well and don't come off as gratuitious at all, to my surprise. It doesn't sound as though he's triggered, either, which lends some more credibility to his cause. Hannemann and King, well, you know what to expect from them; tight riffing and their usual noisy, chaotic soloing--not as much in evidence as usual here since hardcore rarely featured lead guitar.
Standouts? Lots of 'em! I really pick Dr. Know's "Mr. Freeze" since it features some really nasty and sinster lyrics and Araya lets out the most chilling scream he'd let out in years at the time at the end as he sings "You try to think with reason/But all you can do is SCREAM!!!" In fact. his vocals throughout are fantastic, and I can envision him turning bright red, spit flying, veins bulging as he rants away with feverish intensity. Also their blistering run through of D.R.I.'s classic "Violent Pacification" is convincing, with Bostaph putting the gas pedal to the floor as he blasts away through the frenetic first half and pounding the hell out of his tom toms in the slower second half. Most everything else on this album is fun and exciting as well. The sole original tunes on here, the Ddamm songs and "Gemini" are good as well; the Ddamm songs are fun to scream along to with mindless lyrics and the circle pit part on "Can't Stand You" is awesome! "Gemini" is the creepiest thing they'd written in years at the time; a slow, simple riff with doomy ambience that really works and a solo that evokes Tony Iommi in his prime.
If you want to hear what real hardcore from back in the day sounded like, delivered by a band that obviously loves and respects the genre, you could do worse than picking this up. Obviously, going back to hear the originals as well is always a great thing, too, which I highly recommend. But yeah, this is definitely worth picking up for the fun factor and the energy level as well.
Actually, this album is not one of my favorites. It took me quite sometimes to accept their punk inclination that seems nonsense at first. Eventually I begin to comprehend that there are many things that can be enjoyed by just listening to Undisputed Attitude. Maybe this is where I learn some new stuff about punk music and its unique features.
Since I do not really remember the name of punk bands covered by Slayer, probably I just describe them as veteran ones. Well, I only have with me the regular CD version which comes with no bonus tracks; “Sick Boy” and “Memories of Tomorrow”. Anyway, the opening track is absolutely refreshing and powerful due to the first verse: “Disintegrate you bastard!!” which then followed by a layer of chugging punk riffs as if I was standing in front of punk live show. This track alone makes me want to jump up and down and bang my head like hell which as a whole, an absolutely invigorating song. What makes me surprise even for more is that, I never had idea that punk hardcore music would be this good. I wonder how the actual bands would sound like.
There’s more than meets the eye in this album. The addition of machine gun blast beats in certain songs immediately told me to listen to this album even further. Paul drumming is absolutely in its top form and every single beat could be clearly heard following his solid excellent performance in Divine Intervention. Araya’s vocals are also at its best since I could feel that he sings every song with full spirit and dedication. Just like in the third track “Abolish Government / Superficial Love” and Hanneman’s unnamed punk side projects “Can’t Stand You” and “Ddamm”. While “Abolish Government” is entirely listenable, the next rack “Can’t Stand You” is an incredible punk masterpiece and a little bit hilarious too.
“Violent Pacification” is something that I thought never got a chance to fuel my adrenalin, but this song’s cool and stylistically insane with Araya’s crispy bass volume perhaps unmatched to the original band itself. Jeff Hanneman and King are doing their job well in ensuring that their punk - inspired thrash sound never go out of style. Their riffs are convincingly suitable for this album which exhibits full fledged catchy tunes. Mostly are heavy and repetitive riffs with bass solo interludes which are apparently sticking out from the background. As for “I’m Gonna be your God” and “Richard Hung Himself” these tracks are suitable for mature audiences only! The music is typically all right but the lyrics are one of the insane ones from this album. Not for children of course.
Finally the album closes with the return of Slayer’s original output; “Gemini” is perhaps one of their slowest tracks ever in spite of Paul’s intricate and precise drumming that are abundant throughout the entire song. As usual, the black flames of riffing insanity are thundering the whole song structures from the very beginning regardless of the sluggish advancement. Araya seems to enjoy singing the verses as well as the choruses with pure relaxation as though he was drinking a glass of champagne with ease.
So how was that? Did you find this review helpful in order to consolidate your maniacal interest in Slayer’s furious intent? I hope you guys enjoy reading my review and don’t hesitate to criticize me since I’m just a green that needed someone to show me the rope.
It took me a long time to get this album. Not to go out and buy it, but to actually understand what it was that I was hearing. First impression: pretty much shit. This was not Slayer, it did not sound like Slayer, it did not own at all. What a naive approach to one of the best cover albums money can buy.
Since the time that I bought this, I got into hardcore punk. Suicidal Tendencies, DRI, Dead Kennedys, etc. Pretty much the kinds of bands that Slayer covers on this. To date I've managed to track down and hear about half of the original versions and by God, Slayer somehow does it better, or at least just as well. The drumming is even more frantic than the originals (thank you, Paul Bostaph), the guitars are even heavier and more destructive, and in a few rare moments, Tom's vocals are even better than the original singers. His scream in "Memories of Tomorrow" is better than Mike Muir's on both the original and the re-recorded version, for instance. Plus you get to hear his bass guitar work, a Slayer rarity. Every song on here is fast, angry, and awesome. This is pretty much dependent on whether or not you like hardcore punk. If you don't, I hope it didn't take you this far into the review to realize that you'll hate this with every essence of your being. The only song you might not mind is "Gemini," a Slayer original. It's way too slow, but Tom's clean vocals in the verse sections are a welcome innovation.
So to sum it up, if you like hardcore punk and/or Slayer, you may want to look this one up, hopefully not just for completion. This is one of the only cover albums that I've actually listened to more than twice, because even though Slayer covers the songs as accurately as possible (that is, with as little "artistic interpretation" as possible), it's still an original and engaging listen. Slayer's decision to give tribute to their hardcore roots rather than their metal ones was controversial for sure, but I think a better choice at the end of the day.
Im not a huge fan of slayer or anything, I don't even listen to that many punk bands, but this one delivered more than my expectations. Just imagine slayers unrelenting speed/thrash style and punks raw aggression in one record.
The guitar sounds punk. The drums sound punk and fucking clear, the bass is heard well.And fuck, even Tom Araya sounds punk! Everything sounds good and thats enough for me.In short "undisputed attitude "pwns" punk.
Most songs are medleys of 2 songs from various punk bands and are roughly between 1 and 2 minutes long and they are fast, each number sleamlessly blending into the next song on the medley.
The album sounds fucking angry and hilarious at the same time. Youd wanna get drunk and shout along with the songs! Tom Araya screams his head off in this one spewing all the pissed off, hate filled lyrics to fast thrashy riffs and furious punk style drumming making this an all out punk massacre!!
Most of the song is all made up from the essential elements of riff, chorus, abusive shouts and fast paced drums, with a few solos.
Every song is special in its own way. From songs like "abolish government" and "Disintegration" which are blistering fast to songs like "Mr Freeze" and "DDAMM" that are more mid tempo to songs like "Spiritual law" and "Violent pacification" ,slayers style flows through evenly adding the element of heaviness and speed into punk, making it enjoyable for a wider audience-both metalheads and punks.
For all you old school slayer fans, there is one track one this cd called "Gemini",It's a slayer original, and I gotta say that is one of their best songs. Its very atmospheric with slow singing, throbbing bass and sluggish riffs. This is the slayer we all know and it's a
Nice way to end the punk part of the album.
This album is not a showcase of slayers technical style or how "evil" they can sound. People hardly quote this one, slayers only cover album. But then again, this is more of a fun album, that's a light hearted attempt at crossing genres to come out with something that can still bring across the heaviness of slayer and the intensity that Punk has the potential to offer.
And if you don't like punk, you'll think this is pure shit. But these are fun little songs; about a minute and a half each, all of them a blast of aggression and energy. Nothing too overtly epic and serious - don't expect the crusher break of Raining Blood here. Try just simple stuff like "I hate you!!!", but done with passion and conviction; something that Slayer couldn't be accused of on the actual studio albums that came after this.
This is fun driving music... it's not something you'd want to pay too close attention to, because on close listening, it kinda falls apart as being simplistic punk rock. But hey, that's what it is... simplistic punk rock. Highlights... probably the DRI song Violent Pacification, or maybe the old Hannemann project DDAMM... or maybe Can't Stand You. Hell, none of them are particularly bad.
Production is pretty decent. Araya's vocals are just a bit overdistorted, but the guitars come in loud and clear, and provide the extra spark that the original punk bands sometimes had, and sometimes did not.
Oh yeah, but what the fuck is up with that original? Man, that song suuuuucks hard. Where's there any aggression in that? It sounds like Slayer taking lounge singing courses; even Dead Skin Mask is more fun than that song, and that's saying a lot.
Instead of going the conventional route of obvious covers and butchered classics, Slayer tap their punk influence for Undisputed Attitude.... you can really hear how much the raw intensity of bands like Minor Threat and TSOL affected their sound, particularly that of Reign in Blood. The covers here are 100% Slayer without sacrificing tradition so to speak... in lieu of sloppy strummed power chords are fast tremelo picking and the occasional solo. Undisputed Attitude may stand as Tom Araya's last admirable vocal performance, and that alone makes it a must for fans.
The originals I have heard: Verbal Abuse (Verbal Abuse), Superficial Love (TSOL), Filler/I Don't Wanna Hear It + Guilty of Being White (Minor Threat), Violent Pacification (DRI), I'm Gonna Be Your God (Stooges), and I Hate You (Dictators?) are done justice by Slayer's covers and then some. In some cases, they add another dimension of speed that could easily appeal to metal purists without leaving punks behind. Highlights include: Richard Hung Himself, Verbal Abuse/Leeches, and Filler.
Ddamm and Can't Stand You are culled from Jeff's days in a sloppy hardcore bad.. pretty amateur, but also entertaining. Closing track Gemini sticks out like a sore thumb... a brooding, ominous, and fucking HEAVY track about San Francisco's Zodiac killer. A great Slayer song, no doubt, and one that should of jumped to Diabolus in Musica, cos that album is in dire need of good material.
So, Slayer went punk. Well...almost punk, as I think that this one is what we should call a thrash/punk fusion. These punk covers were the material that clearly influenced Slayer in their beginnings and over the years that came. Hearing something from them like "Show no Mercy" clearly tells us that Slayer sound was a mixture between the NWOBHM technical riffage and the punk rock speed and attitude.
Cash grabber?? Well, I don't think so...why would then Slayer put out an album with some punk covers (not very similar to their style) instead of another "Divine Intervention" or a compilation that would make them and their money hungry filthy managers and record companies gain some more $$$$? But, although this not being a cash grabber, it's definitively not an album for all Slayer fans...This one can be dangerous to hear by some of them, still, is a very energetic album and it's capable of making you spend a pretty enjoyable hour by listening to it.
We cant call this a perfectly produced album...by the sound, and although not being totally produced by Rick Rubin, you immediately notice that this is Slayer...It's not a bad mixture or sound, I just think those guitars weren't sharped enough at that time and that drum sound should've been a little different in the end, but...if you like the though, raw and rough Slayer, then this is perfect album for you.
It's really an interesting effort, and I would say that the highlights of this one are "Disintegration/Free Money", "Guilty of Being White", "Filler/I don't want to hear it", "Mr. Freeze" and "Violent Pacification"...
This album also has some interesting details that every hardcore Slayer fan should know...there are two songs here that Jeff Hanneman composed himself in 1985 for a "never came to be born" speed/punk project apart from Slayer...Those songs are, the incredibly fast and hyperactive, almost mind blowing "Can't Stand You" (fuck...I cannot understand how Tom Araya could be screaming that way...MAD!!!) and "Ddamn", really a punk rock attitude song mixing some metal riffs in 1 min (!!!).
The other detail is the fact that this record has extras and some really good ones..."Gemini" is an original song written by Kerry King and with some cool lyrics by Tom Araya. The only total metal number on this record and some of the most sinister Slayer stuff they've ever made.
Well, let’s put this in some more accessible terms. "Diabolus in Musica" fans, get this because although being a almost, kind of 80% punk record still has some similar sound to Slayer's 1998 record and I think you'll like it..."Diabolus" haters...if you are interested in this one, get it...if you are not interested, forget about it...
As I said, not a Slayer album for all Slayer fans but in the end, it still manages to sound good.