Haunting the Chapel
EP by Slayer
Released August 1984
Recorded 1984
Genre Thrash metal
Length 14:36
17:05 (Re-issue)
Label Metal Blade Records </br>Enigma Records
Producer(s) Brian Slagel
Professional reviews
Slayer chronology
Show No Mercy
Haunting the Chapel
Live Undead

Haunting the Chapel is an EP released by the thrash metal band Slayer in 1984 through Metal Blade and Enigma Records. Slayer's debut album Show No Mercy became Metal Blade's highest selling, leading to producer Brian Slagel wanting to release an EP. Recorded in Hollywood the recording process proved difficult when recording drums in a studio without carpet, although it resulted in drummer Dave Lombardo meeting Gene Hoglan who was to become an influence in his drumming style and speed.[1]

Although originally featuring three songs, the record evidences a marked evolution from the style of their previous album, Show No Mercy, and is considered the first demonstration of the band's "classic" style displayed on later albums and a "stepping stone."[2] The songs "Captor of Sin" and "Chemical Warfare" are regularly featured on the band's live set list.


Slayer's previous album Show No Mercy had sold over 40,000 copies worldwide and the band were performing the songs "Chemical Warfare" and "Captor of Sin" live, which made producer Brian Slagel want to release an EP.[3] The album was recorded in Hollywood with sound engineer Bill Metoyer, in a studio with no carpet which was a problem while recording the drums. Slagel was acting as executive producer.[1] Metoyer is Christian and the lyrics from Show No Mercy did not bother him.[1] However, the first words Araya sang when recording Haunting the Chapel were "The holy cross, symbol of lies, intimidates the lives of Christian born", and other anti-religious lyrics -[4] Metoyer thought he would go to Hell for his part in recording the lyrics.[1] These lyrical themes were inspired by the band Venom, who influenced King and was also into the Satanic image.[5]

Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo set his drum kit on the concrete and the kit went "all over the place" while playing. Lombardo asked Gene Hoglan to hold his kit together, while recording "Chemical Warfare", with Hoglan thinking "I hope he does this in one or two takes, because this is rough."[1] Hoglan was coaching Lombardo how to use double-bass drums to improve his drumming ability and speed, Lombardo asserts Hoglan was "an amazing double-bass player even back then."[1] Eddy Schreyer provided audio mastering and digital remastering, with the cover art design created by Vince Gutierrez.[6] Haunting the Chapel was darker and more thrash oriented than Show No Mercy, and laid the groundwork for the future direction in the band's sound.[7]


Hoglan worked as a roadie for the band after their lighting guy did not show up one night, and performed Lombardo's soundchecks.[1] Slayer and Hoglan would play Dark Angel songs during soundchecks, which is how Hoglan eventually joined Dark Angel. Hoglan approached Dark Angel guitarist Jim Durkin: "He came up to me one day and started giving me his criticisms of the band. He said we needed to be more evil. And then he goes, 'By the way, I’m a better drummer than the guy you have in Dark Angel right now.'"[1]

Hoglan was fired as he thought a roadie only did lighting, while vocalist Tom Araya's brother Johnny Araya would do all roadie duties, such as moving equipment, working with sound and lights, and setting up the stage.[1] The band performed a show in Seattle in front of a crowd of 1500, the largest show they performed at the time, supporting Metal Church, and in Texas played with a band also called Slayer in San Antonio.[1] However it was the San Antonio Slayer's goodbye show.[1]


Although the EP did not enter any charts, Eduardo Rivadavia of Allmusic awarded the EP three out of five stars. Rivadavia said Haunting the Chapel was a "stepping stone" that "offers important clues about this transition period, which saw Slayer's rock-based song structures give way to the non-linear, genre-defining style thereafter regarded as thrash metal's signature sound."[2] The tracks "Chemical Warfare" and "Captor of Sin" are played at Slayer's live shows regularly.[2]

Vocalist Karl Willetts of the death metal band Bolt Thrower asserts the record was an inspiration for the band: "When Slayer's Haunting the Chapel came out I had never heard anything like that before with that style of guitar playing. We were punks and heavy metal was alien to our upbringing. And other bands we heard like Venom, Slaughter and Metallica. So we took the elements of musicianship from metal and the aggression of punk and poured it all together."[8] Chuck Schuldiner of the band Death said the record was "life changing at the time" asserting "That was some of the early stuff that gave me that push."[9]

The black metal band Perverseraph covered "Chemical Warfare" on a tribute CD to Slayer titled Gateway to Hell, Vol. 2: A Tribute to Slayer.[10] Thrash metal band Equinox also made an appearance on the album covering "Haunting the Chapel".[10] Melodic death metal band At the Gates released "Captor of Sin" on a 2002 re-issue of their 1995 album Slaughter of the Soul.[11]


"Haunting the Chapel" is about Satan's raid on Heaven. "Captor of Sin" is basically about Satan mobilizing his subjects. The least Satanic song on the record is "Chemical Warfare", which is about an apocolypse brought on by chemical weapons.

Track listingEdit

# TitleWriter(s) Length
1. "Chemical Warfare"  Jeff Hanneman, Kerry King 6:04
2. "Captor of Sin"  Hanneman, King 3:29
3. "Haunting the Chapel"  Hanneman, King 3:56

Bonus track (re-issue)Edit

The re-issue features a bonus track previously found on the Metal Massacre Vol. 3 compilation

# TitleLyricsMusic Length
4. "Aggressive Perfector"  Hanneman, KingHanneman, King 3:31



  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 "An exclusive oral history of Slayer". Decibel Magazine. Retrieved on 2007-04-01.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Haunting the Chapel". Allmusic. Retrieved on 2007-04-02.
  3. German, Eric. "INTERVIEW WITH BRIAN SLAGEL". Retrieved on 2007-04-01.
  4. Patrizio, Andy (2006-08-14). "Slayer - Christ Illusion". Retrieved on 2007-04-12.
  5. Gargano, Paul (2007-01-25). "LiveDaily Interview: Tom Araya of Slayer". Retrieved on 2007-01-28.
  6. "Haunting the Chapel credits". Allmusic. Retrieved on 2007-04-03.
  7. "About Slayer". Retrieved on 2007-04-04.
  8. Page, Kevin (2007-02-11). "Karl Willetts of Bolt Thrower". Retrieved on 2007-04-03.
  9. Gulbey, Dennis. "An exclusive interview with Chuck Schuldiner". Retrieved on 2007-04-03.
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Gateway to Hell, Vol. 2: A Tribute to Slayer". Allmusic. Retrieved on 2007-04-07.
  11. "Slaughter of the Soul [2002 Expanded]". Allmusic. Retrieved on 2007-04-07.

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