Thursday, March 02, 2006

A Slayer a Day - Haunting the Chapel

Slayer - Haunting the ChapelThe year after Show No Mercy stampeded on the scene, Slayer released a tighter offering via their EP Haunting the Chapel. Although the "playing in a deep hole" production style is still here, Slayer somehow manages to do a better job at making this music sound like the sort of thing that's a favorite for Satan to play on his personal stereo. There's evil in their guitar tone, and drummer Dave Lombardo begins to shine as he literally pounds his instrument into submission.

"Chemical Warfare" begins with what would become a classic staple for the band - a muted guitar riff beginning in one speaker, then the other. Next, bass and drums follow, and all instruments build towards a peak. Without warning the song pauses for a second, then crashes back in at breakneck speed.

Some lead guitar similarities with Metallica are still present, most noticibly the beginnings of "Captor of Sin" (which reminds one of "Phantom Lord") and "Aggressive Perfector" ("Hit the Lights"). But the solos themselves tend to be more frenetic than on their last release, with a lot of tremelo yanking added to the mix. And most notable are the dueling solos in "Aggressive Perfector", as King and Hanneman "fight" each other for axe-work superiority. The listener wins!

Haunting the Chapel's significance cannot be understated. It is the true beginning of the dark, thrashy sound that would be at the core of every Slayer record to come.


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