Slayer - Divine Intervention
American Recordings
Thrash Metal
10 songs (36:42)
Release year: 1994
Slayer, American Recordings
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

Wedged firmly between Slayer’s classic late 80s/early 90s and the wayward wanderings of the Thrash legends’ late 90/early 00s, Divine Intervention is a controversial album. Is it the last gasp of the band’s best period, or the beginning of the end? As with most similar questions that assume two opposite absolutes, the truth lies somewhere between – Divine Intervention is not a classic equal to Reign In Blood, South Of Heaven or Seasons In The Abyss, but neither does it deserve to be lumped in at the bottom of the Slayer career with Undisputed Attitude or Diabolus In Musica. In fact, it’s best when compared to the post-God Hates Us All comeback that Christ Illusion was – all in all Divine Intervention is better in my books, but equally fits in that ‘very good but not classic’ bracket.

Without a doubt, it’s Bostaph’s best outing with the band – hard to believe that the technical display here isn’t from Lombardo’s limber limbs, but there you go, the hatred that some fans showed the Testament/Exodus sticksman was clearly misplaced – and there are plenty of killer riffs from Hanneman and King. Araya’s voice is beginning to show its strains, but he sounds genuinely pissed-off and is impossible to mistake for anyone else, as ever (plus, audible bass alert!). It’s the killer riffs that we must come back to, however, Divine Intervention packed full of excellent work from everyone’s favourite duo. If you don’t rock the fuck out to opening blast Killing Fields then you’re not my friend, it’s as simple as that – from the percussive build up, blasting drums setting an ominous pace that is soon enhanced by the hard-riffing guitars, this is Slayer at their best, and when it kicks off from the already awesome mid-paced blast and gets faster and faster until that amazing solo from King kicks the doors in and forces all to bow as the band head for warp speed... a classic, classic song. It cuts off far too soon, but the just-under-two minutes killer Thrash of Sex. Murder. Art transcends its stupid name and heads for the throat, and from then on the album is hard to criticise, the riffs headed for your throat like Reign In Blood all over again.

Really, this is an underrated piece of the Slayer puzzle. Blimey, is that a progressive influence in the instrumental section of Fictional Reality? Wow, was Dittohead the fastest Slayer song since Necrophobic? Why, why isn’t Circle Of Beliefs better remembered as one of the best Slayer tracks ever? Even the mid-paced likes of the title track are chock full of riffs, recalling the 80s when slow Slayer songs weren’t necessarily a cause for vomiting rather than celebration. The great songs just keep coming at you, SS-3 and Serenity In Murder bringing the noise most satisfactorily (Araya’s droning vocals on the latter enjoyably creepy) and the album finishes wonderfully with Mind Control. Alright, admittedly 213 is quite a step-down from the high quality of the rest of the album, the acoustic intro alone marking it out as strange amidst the general high-riffing landscape and the attempt at Dead Skin Mask-esque epicness failing badly as soon as Araya starts whining about how he needs a friend – serial killers are such bitches, aren’t they? Thankfully, even though it’s the worst song here, it’s nowhere near the depths that Diabolus In Musica would hit, and as such is tolerable.

The worst thing I can say about this album overall is that the songs are over too quickly – the whole thing’s only just over thirty-five minutes long, after all, yet there’s so much quality here that repeated listens are mandatory. No, it’s not up to the classic Slayer pantheon, but for a Thrash album released as late as 1994 Divine Intervention rips, and all Slayer fans should own it. Altogether now:

"A CHOICE IS MADE IN FREE WILL – JUST LIKE THE CHOICE TO KILL
IN THE SPEED OF A MOMENT LIFE STANDS STILL – NOW YOU’RE STANDING IN MY KILLING FIELDS!"

Killing Songs :
Killing Fields, Sex. Murder. Art, Fictional Reality, Dittohead, Circle Of Beliefs, Serenity In Murder, Mind Control
Goat quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by Slayer that we have reviewed:
Slayer - Repentless reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
Slayer - Haunting the Chapel reviewed by Tony and quoted no quote
Slayer - World Painted Blood reviewed by Goat and quoted 76 / 100
Slayer - Undisputed Attitude reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Slayer - Diabolus In Musica reviewed by Goat and quoted 64 / 100
To see all 14 reviews click here
2 readers voted
Average:
 85
Your quote was: 85.
Change your vote

There are 11 replies to this review. Last one on Wed Oct 07, 2009 1:13 pm
View and Post comments