Saturday, May 4, 2013

Slayer - "Haunting The Chapel" (LP Review)

I had been meaning to review this one for a while, but once again a recent death has influenced the order of reviews:  Jeff Hanneman, a founding member of the seminal thrash metal band Slayer, died on May 2.   While their contemporaries Metallica achieved more commercial success, Slayer arguably has the stronger, more consistent discography

While Slayer's 1983 debut LP "Show No Mercy" was a strong, heavy LP, it was their 1984 three song EP "Haunting the Chapel" that really defined the genre.  Especially influential was the double bass work of drummer Dave Lombardo, after this EP came out if you didn't have that double bass sound, you weren't a serious thrash band.  Of the three songs, the one you really must listen to is "Chemical Warfare".  Nearly 30 years after it was released this is still one of the heaviest songs I've ever heard.

Jeff Hanneman shared lead guitar duties with Kerry King as well as writing or co-writing most of their songs.  Although he had been sidelined for a few years due to a spider bite, everyone believed the worst was behind him and he was writing new material for their next LP.  Slayer had always been one of the more stable bands (with only Dave Lombardo leaving and rejoining a few times), so it will be interesting to see if they carry on without Jeff.

Standout songs: "Chemical Warfare", "Haunting The Chapel", "Captor of Sin"

Skip'em songs: none

Final Score: 10/10.  This EP points the way to "Hell Awaits" and "Reign in Blood", as well as reminding me of my tape trading days w/ Scott Kinkade et al.  Honorable mention to the late Bob Muldowney, publisher of Kick*Ass Monthly, for describing the importance of this EP back in the day.

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