Slayer - Haunting the Chapel
Metal Blade
Thrash Metal
4 songs (16:56)
Release year: 1984
Slayer, Metal Blade
Reviewed by Tony
Archive review

After the indubitably classic release, Show No Mercy, my favorite band in the whole wide world release this EP. Vaulting forth from the popularity they gained by wreaking metal havoc on songs like Evil Has No Boundaries, The Antichrist, and of course, Black Magic, California legends Slayer released this quick and concise EP with just four tracks. Despite the length, these four tracks are still songs that Slayer fans look back to as early staples of a consistent diet of hellish Thrash Metal. Of course, Haunting the Chapel was released before the magic of Hell Awaits, an album that would pave the way for two of the greatest Thrash albums ever.

Slayer were still a young and up and coming group on Haunting the Chapel. They had not yet reached their full potential, but what makes Haunting the Chapel outstanding is the combination of their raw talent and the gutsy songwriting and riff structure. The listener almost has to approach Haunting the Chapel as if it were a very unrefined Black Metal album. In no way do either of these sound similar at all, but the tremolo picked riffs and atonal solos often need to be listened to as they are, and not anything more or less. This is a young and energetic Slayer. You can tell very early on that there are still minor influences of Punk Rock. This notion becomes especially decipherable on the final track, an early version of Aggressive Perfector.

Slayer open up Haunting the Chapel with what is still one of their most memorable songs of all time. This of course being the heavy and blistering Chemical Warfare. Chemical Warfare starts off at a breakneck pace and never ceases to let off the gas pedal. Whether it is the speedy riffs of Hanneman and King, the violent drumming of Dave Lombardo, or the wailing of Tommy Araya, vocalizing the horrors of the song’s namesake, this track has something for every Thrash fan. The last time I went to a Slayer show, my friends and I and several others screamed Chemical Warfare between every song. Finally, Araya listened to our chants and played this hallowed track. The result was a frenzied, six minute pit that left no one un-battered.

I surprisingly found this record at a Best Buy once ( It is not the easiest Slayer cd to come buy ya know?) and I bought it immediately, much to the disappointment of my Mother, who thought that getting into Metal at such a young age would surely cause my mental degradation. Slayer have oft been the target of maniacal mothers and politicians due to their Satanic, gory, and brutal lyrics. My Mom went through that phase, until she learned that much like all of you, Metal is the choice music for the intellectual. Anyways, another track that remains a go to song when Slayer go the nostalgia route emerges from the woodwork next, that being Captor of Sin. Slayer are one of the best bands at reaching all the way back in their history to play the songs that people love. I cannot stand it when certain bands will play half an hour of just their latest album, when often their old material is what everyone wants to hear. Slayer are never guilty of this complaint. Captor of Sin is one of the few Slayer songs that start off with a shred-tastic solo leading into a powerful riff. The song continues in this manner, with many other opportunities for King and Hanneman to duel on their fretboards with their always debated soloing style. Around these leads there is a winding riff, and one of Slayer’s most memorable choruses to this date. The heaviest song on the album is next, with at least the heaviest drum patterns to solidify its fight with Chemical Warfare for the most violent on the EP. It is so evident that Slayer was at their most malicious when they wrote this song. It is one of the first Slayer songs to fully exploit Dave Lombardo’s budding double bass skills. Of course, later in their career, Lombardo would be known as one of the greatest drummers in the world. The title track utilizes Dave’s early talent and is one of the first signs (along with Chemical Warfare ) that Slayer were gravitating towards their modern style of pure Thrash Metal.

Finally, Aggressive Perfector closes this short and sweet Thrash fest with a bang. Another catchy chorus, another memorable set of solos, and of course the classic sound that made very early Slayer catch on with a big enough fan base to make subsequent records explode on the scene. This is possibly the most overlooked piece on Slayer’s discography, and it is more than worthy of our admiration.

PS – I just realized I have the re-release containing Aggressive Perfector. This is most likely the copy that you all have as well.

Killing Songs :
Tony quoted no quote
Other albums by Slayer that we have reviewed:
Slayer - Repentless reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
Slayer - World Painted Blood reviewed by Goat and quoted 76 / 100
Slayer - Divine Intervention reviewed by Goat and quoted 88 / 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
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