Divine Intervention (album)
|Studio album by Slayer|
|Released||September 27, 1994|
|Recorded||During 1994 at Oceanway, in Los Angeles, California, and Sound City in Van Nuys, California|
|Producer||Rick Rubin (exec.)
Divine Intervention is the sixth studio album by American thrash metal band Slayer. Released on September 27, 1994 through American Recordings, it was their first album featuring Paul Bostaph, replacing the band's original drummer Dave Lombardo. Several of the songs on the album were inspired by television shows. The production posed as a challenge to the record company, as its marketing situation drew arguments over the album's explicitness. The band used the Decade of Aggression live album to give them time to decide the album's style. Since it was released nearly four years after Seasons in the Abyss, vocalist Tom Araya said that there was more time spent on production compared to the band's previous albums. The cover was painted and designed by Wes Benscoter as a re-imaging of the group's early "Slayergram" graphic.
Even though so much time was spent on production, Kerry King said that the mixing and mastering should have had more attention. The song's origins not only come from television, but were also inspired by various other things, including Rush Limbaugh, serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, and Araya's wife. Araya concluded that the album "came out of the past four years of hating life." In 1998 the album was banned in Germany due to the lyrics of "SS-3", "Circle of Beliefs", "Serenity in Murder", "213" and "Mind Control".
Divine Intervention received mixed reviews by critics, with AllMusic giving it three out of five stars, and The Deseret News giving it a positive review. The album sold 93,000 copies in its first week. It peaked number eight on the Billboard 200 and charted at number 15 on UK Albums Chart. It was rewarded a Gold in the United States and in Canada. An extended play entitled Serenity in Murder was released shortly after the album.
Writing and production
Tom Araya said that "when we did Divine Intervention, this was the last conference we ever had with a record label where they sat us down and sold us the idea of how they wanted to do "Divine", and how they were going to do this with the cover... and all these different ideas for the album. Then one guy looked at us and said, 'But we need a hit song.' And we said, 'But you've got eleven songs, and if you can't find a hit in one of them then you're shit out of luck because that's what we're giving you.' So we're like saying to them, 'Right, you write the fucking hit song and we'll record it.' That shut the guy up and that was the last time we had any kind of meetings like that!"
Araya described "For this one, I just kind of got inspired by watching TV. That gave me a whole lot of ideas. The whole idea about the dude with Slayer in his arms was brought about because reality is scarier than anything you can make up. The production of the album posed as a challenge to the record company, "how to market a group whose gore-soaked, extreme music in anathema to radio programmers." It is the company's first attempt to "hit the thrash band's core-audience of rabid enthusiasts with a fan-orientated marketing assault." Araya related: "We decided to take more time to bring this one together. We actually went into the studio with more written material than the past. We completed three out of seven songs outside the studio. We all sort of felt it was important to do it slowly. After the last tour, we had the intention to take the break."
The College Music Journal said that "the band deals almost exclusively with realism" in the album, and noted that it "shocks and splatters like a severed artery, painting crimson pictures of murders, necrophiliacs, and the ravaged, chaotic world they inhabit". Both the mixing and mastering were criticized, with guitarist Kerry King saying that the band should have "paid more attention to the mix", and Araya saying that it "is the one (if any) that he would not mind re-mastering". Tom Araya said the "album came out of the past four years of hating life".
Neil Strauss from The New York Times explained many of the album's origins. "213" was described as a "love song" by Araya, which was something they had never done before. The song was named after serial killer and sex offender Jeffrey Dahmer's old apartment number. "Dittohead", a partial tribute to Rush Limbaugh, begins by criticizing the legal system for "being too lenient on killers". The song "ended up not denouncing the system but advocating its permissiveness". "Sex, Murder, Art" was said by TheState.com to feature "roars about a maddening relationship and his 'pleasure in inflicting pain.'"
King said that the album contained origins relating to "war stories" and "explorations of madness". It is Paul Bostaph's first studio album with Slayer, resulting in Alex Henderson of Allmusic saying that it is a "positive, energizing influence on Slayer, which sounds better than ever on such dark triumphs as 'Killing Fields,' 'Serenity in Murder,' and 'Circle of Beliefs.'" Henderson also said that they "focus[ed] on the violently repressive nature of governments and the lengths to which they will go to wield power".
Artwork and packaging
The album was issued in a clear jewel box with a die-cut cardboard O-card. It included sixteen pages, which fold out to be a poster, which displays the cover art. Both the disc and the disc tray feature — as described by Chris Morris — an "image reflective of the mania displayed by the group's fans, and exemplary of American frequently deployed shock tactics: a kid carving the band's name into his arms with a scalpel." Mike Bone from American Recordings said that "we captured this not only by photography, but with video — him actually doing it." The front cover was painted and designed by Wes Benscoter, an American artist who would later paint the covers for the other Slayer releases Undisputed Attitude and Live Intrusion. The album sleeve features for the second time the backronym Satan Laughs As You Eternally Rot. This phrase was first used on the vinyl edition of the album Show No Mercy where it was carved into the runout groove of the record.
|The Deseret News||favorable|
AllMusic said that "instead of doing something calculated like emulating Nirvana or Pearl Jam—or for that matter, Nine Inch Nails or Ministry—Slayer wisely refused to sound like anyone but Slayer. Tom Araya and co. responded to the new environment simply by striving to be the heaviest metal band they possibly could." By the album's release date, vocalist Tom Araya considered it to be their best album.
Divine Intervention sold 93,000 copies in its first week, and by 2002, it sold over 400,000 copies in the US . It was reported that in the same year of its released, Kevin Kirk from the Heavy Metal Shop "ordered 1,000 copies of Slayer's Divine Intervention and sold every last album in a matter of weeks". Although it is less accessible than its predecessor Seasons in the Abyss, Rolling Stone considered it to be their most successful album as of 2001.
|1.||"Killing Fields"||Tom Araya||Kerry King||3:57|
|2.||"Sex. Murder. Art."||Araya||King||1:50|
|5.||"Divine Intervention"||Araya, Hanneman, King, Paul Bostaph||Jeff Hanneman, King||5:33|
|6.||"Circle of Beliefs"||King||King||4:30|
|8.||"Serenity in Murder"||Araya||Hanneman, King||2:36|
|10.||"Mind Control"||Araya, King||Hanneman, King||3:04|
|Serenity in Murder EP|
|1.||"Serenity in Murder"||2:37|
|2.||"Angel of Death"||4:52|
Chart positions and certifications
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