Slower – S/T (Heavy Psych Sounds Records)

This is a bit of a Doom head’s wet dream. Classic Slayer tracks given a Doom/Psych overhaul by some of the genre’s most celebrated players under the clever guise of Slower. As a fan you’d be excited by the prospect of this band anyway with the likes of Bob Balch (Fu Manchu) Laura Pleasants of the now sadly defunct Kylesa on vocals along with Year of the Cobra’s Amy Barrysmith and Kyuss legend Scott Reeder and Lowrider‘s Peder Bergstrandon sharing bass duties, but the fact that they are covering songs by the ultimate metal legends Slayer. I’m pumped up, so let’s jump in.

First out of the blocks is War Ensemble the opener to 1990’s Seasons In The Abyss and whilst Slower have taken the bite out of it, they have created a wonderfully fuzzed-out Electric Wizard-style mid-tempo stomper. They often say that Black Sabbath invented Heavy Metal and when these usually lightening fast riffs are slowed down, as is the case here with The Antichrist, it’s easy to see how Sabbath are given the credit as The Antichrist, sounds like it could have come straight off of any of Sabbaths first four albums. As one of Slayer’s slower outputs Blood Red is quite an easy conversion and comes off heavier once given the Slower treatment and the already terrifying Dead Skin Mask goes up several notches on the old scare-o-meter, when slowed down and sung in a ritualistic style, that wouldn’t be out of place on a Cathedral album. Bringing the album to a crushing end, they take on a stonewall Slayer classic and give South Of Heaven a hauntingly witchy makeover.

It’s an interesting selection of songs and I’m glad they chose a couple of deeper cuts, but Reign In Blood has been criminally ignored, and I’m hoping that’s because another album is in the works as this was an absolute delight to listen to. Slayer covers are a dime a dozen, but giving them a complete Doom overhaul is an interesting concept that has plenty of legs and the space to run for a long time to come. More please Slower… Chris Andrews

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