Despite being around for over 30 years this is only Slayer's second and (to date) their latest released live album, not counting their early 2000's 'War at the Warfield' DVD. The track listing is basically a 'Best Of' Slayer from their first albums through to 'Seasons In The Abyss' which features very prominently (8 of that album's 10 tracks) but curiously, only 2 tracks from the also excellent yet under-rated 'South Heaven' (the title track and 'Mandatory Suicide'). Disc 1 is basically the 'classics' disc and features their best known songs, whilst Disc 2 is predominantly their 'other' great songs which haven't really survived their set list to this day (barring 'Chemical Warfare' and 'Post Mortem.') 'Hell Awaits' sounds better than the recorded version and is probably my favourite track, the old guard of 'Angel of Death,' 'South of Heaven' and 'Raining Blood' are also fantastic, but the show stealers are the 'Seasons' track. The title Track, 'Dead Skin Mask' and 'War Ensemble' are delivered with such ferocity its hard to look past them. The constant criticism of this album is of Tom Araya's vocal performance. Yes he mixes up a few verses (e.g. 'War Ensemble') but that in no way affects the song or the performance. If anything, it makes it feel even more raw! Anyway, you trying playing and singing Slayer's riffs at their bpm and not make a mistake...exactly! What really gives this album a proper live 'feel/vibe' is the fact that there are NO overdubs at all. Many bands release a 'live' album that has more overdubbed layers than studio albums, and, as a result, sound too much like the original recording, defeating the whole point of a 'live' album. Slayer do not. A fantastic live album, and up there with the best of metal albums.
With this live album you get a chance to hear a good selection of Slayer's best old music.Between the two discs there is enough material to make it twice the value of buying a normal album. Obviously it is a live album and some of the sound quality is lost due to this.The one thing that has to be said though is that, as stated in the booklet, this is slayer totally live.While playing Blood Red on disc 2, Tom Araya forgets to sing the beginning of the verse following the guitars.Some people might find this annoying but i thought it was great.It shows the listeners that Slayer are real people and not just rehearsed and dull perfectionists.The music encompasses their work up to Seasons in the Abyss.Just about all of the classics are in there:Antichrist,Raining Blood,South of Heaven,Angel of Death and several others.Hannemann and King wield their guitars with furious intent and great skill as does Dave Lombardo with his drum sticks.Overall the sound is good and the album is very good, BUY IT.
From the haunting (the chapel) sounds of the intro to the final screeching harmonics, this is a live album second to none. It captures the frenzied energy which rightfully makes slayer the kings of thrash today. Many of the songs are taken from their previously just released 'seasons in the abyss' album as well as a selection from 'reign in blood' amongst others. By the time Tom Araya is yelling "war ensemble" on the third track, you are psyched enough to obliterate any moshpit single-handedly!! Monarch to the kingdom of the dead - no messing about.
This live album marked the end of Slayer's era of greatness, which is probably why it is looked upon with such nostalgic affection. Divine Intervention was a very good although flawed effort, save for its title track and Dittohead, but the two subsequent albums were dire. CD1 was recorded in Florida in July 1991, towards the end of the world tour supporting the band's most consistent (and some say better, including me, than Reign In Blood) album, Seasons In The Abyss. The setlist contains all the Slayer classics. Opening with a lengthy tape intro preceded by the crowd chanting the band's name, Slayer launch into Hell Awaits with venom. The Anti-Christ, the best track from Slayer's 1983 debut, No Mercy, stands toe to toe with the band's later 1980s material. War Ensemble, Dead Skin Mask, Seasons In The Abyss, Hallowed Point, and everything bar two tracks from Seasons... album is represented over the two discs, reflecting the quality of that album. South of Heaven material is criminally under-represented, but that is because its slower nature does not fit in with the rest of the sets. Reign In Blood, of course, gets a very strong representation, with Altar..., Jesus Saves, Postmortem, and of course Angel of Death. For those unfamiliar with Slayer's lesser known songs, which appear on CD2, they are superb, but you are probably better off getting the first six albums, as they lack the catchiness of songs like South of Heaven to whet the new listener's appetite. After that CD2 can be really appreciated. This CD is probably the greatest metal live album ever recorded. The only live album that comes close is Iron Maiden's 1985 masterpiece, Live After Death. Coincidentally, Live After Death also marked the end of Maiden's best era. Whilst Tom Araya doesn't speak very much between songs, his screams of "WAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRR ENSEMBLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLE!" and particularly "ANGEL OF DEEEEEEAAAAAAAATTTTTTHHHHHHH!!!!!!" will bring a shiver to your spine every time you hear them. Buy this, but save up some money so you can buy this alongside Hell Awaits, Reign In Blood, South of Heaven and Seasons In The Abyss!
Yes... if i had to pick my favourite albulm of all time this would be it. DOAL captures the pure brilliance of Slayer in a way that their early studio performances did not quite manage. Technically, both in an instrumental/vocal and reproduction sense, this album is flawless. If you are a Slayer fan this will be in your collection. If you are just getting into Slayer this is the first album you should buy. PS i saw Slayer just last week and they still awesome - 13 years on!!!!