This coming Friday, I’ll be publishing the first of my two part “Top Ten Metal Albums of All Time” list.
Somewhere among the Metallicas and the Panteras that are bound to make it, I can absolutely guarantee you that you will find the album that gave us today’s song.
Seasons in the Abyss was released on October 9, 1990, but it didn’t come into my life until at least eight years later, via the forgotten art of the mix tape.
Close Your Eyes, Look Deep In Your Soul
I’ve mentioned the two mixtapes that changed my life a whole bunch on this blog.
They also introduced me to a little song called War Ensemble.
I make no exaggeration when I say that this was about the loudest, most brutal thing I’d ever heard. I mean, it was crushing, it was punishing, it was like Almighty Hell had broken lose on Earth, raining sulphur and tearing up everything in its path.
It was violent, it was venomous, it was…meh.
As unique as War Ensemble sounded, it simply got lost among a great bunch of tracks like Pantera’s Cowboys From Hell, System of a Down’s Sugar and the like.
I was simply more obsessed with these bands and didn’t really give Slayer a second thought.
Fast forward a few years later, however…
Step Outside Yourself and Let Your Mind Go
A little music channel came on my radar called MTV2. Over here in the UK, they mostly played the kind of watered-down indie stuff that was popular at the time, but every now and again, a proper gem of a metal track would pop up.
Seasons in the Abyss was one such track.
I admit that, at first, it was the striking video that really got my attention. Four burly, angry looking blokes kicking up s**t in the middle of the desert whilst all kinds of gnarly stuff happened.
It was, quite frankly, awesome.
The more I watched, the more I realised that it wasn’t just the video that was awesome; the song itself was completely bad ass.
Was this really the same Slayer that I’d once dismissed in favour of Pantera?
Was this really the same Slayer whose debut album, Show No Mercy, I’d picked up for a few pounds, listened to once, and then forgotten all about?
Not long after, Seasons in the Abyss, the album, made its way into my record collection and has remained a firm favourite ever since.
Frozen Eyes Stare Deep In Your Mind as You Die
In today’s digitally-driven age of MP3s and streaming music, I’ve been slowly getting rid of what was once a huge CD collection; opting to save only my absolute favourite bands.
Metallica’s CDs remain, so do Counting Crows‘, and so too do Slayer’s albums, not only Seasons’ and ‘Mercy but a handful of others that I’ve bought since then.
I saw the band live at Leeds Festival in 2006, and it was one of those gigs that I’ll just never forget.
But the real reason that Slayer’s Seasons in the Abyss changed my life was the influence it has had on my creative work.
I won’t lie, a lot of my poetry, creative writing, and recently, even my art, has quite a dark feel to it, and that’s thanks, in part at least, to Slayer.
I realised a long time ago that listening to Slayer albums allows me to get rid of pent up aggression safely, and to bring hidden, ugly feelings to the surface so that I could banish them for good.
I also realised that I could achieve exactly the same results by creating my own, Slayer-inspired stuff, and have done so ever since to help me banish personal demons and keep my peace of mind.
Which, let’s face it, when you consider how brutal and aggressive Slayer’s music can be, is saying something.
Seasons in the Abyss by Slayer is the 28th song on my list of 52 songs that changed my life. Other entries in this list are below:
- Michael Jackson – Bad
- Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
- Queen – The Hitman
- R.E.M – Drive
- Pink Floyd – The Wall
- The Eagles – Take it Easy
- Beautiful South – Old Red Eyes is Back
- Coal Chamber – Loco
- Type O Negative – Everything Dies
- Monster Magnet – Space Lord
- Live – The Dolphin’s Cry
- Metallica – The Memory Remains
- The Prodigy – Poison
- Nirvana – Territorial Pissings
- Iron Maiden – The Angel & The Gambler
- Metallica – Creeping Death
- Pantera – Cowboys From Hell
- System of a Down – Sugar
- Guns ‘n’ Roses – Garden of Eden
- Guns ‘n’ Roses – Mr. Brownstone
- Metallica – King Nothing
- The Cranberries – Zombie
- The Offspring – The Meaning of Life
- Muse – New Born
- Biohazard – Resist
- Rage Against The Machine – Testify
- Soil – Halo