Seasons in the Abyss
Seasons in the Abyss cover
Studio album by Slayer
Released October 9, 1990
Recorded January -June 1990 at
Hit City West
Hollywood Sound
Record Plant
Los Angeles, California, USA
Genre Thrash metal, doom metal
Length 42:23
Label Def American Records
Producer(s) Rick Rubin, Andy Wallace, Slayer
Professional reviews
Slayer chronology
South of Heaven
Seasons in the Abyss
Decade of Aggression

Seasons in the Abyss is the fifth studio album by the thrash metal band Slayer. It was released in 1990 through Def American Records, and later through American Recordings after the company changed its name. It was Dave Lombardo's last studio album with Slayer, until his return in 2006 with the release of Christ Illusion. Seasons in the Abyss is Slayer's third major record label release. Seasons in the Abyss is one of few albums to be issued with a Parental Advisory label despite the virtual absence of profanity unlike other Slayer albums, though the lyrics depict violent acts.


"Born of Fire" was for a long time just an instrumental leftover song from South of Heaven with a working title "Stress" due to the fact that Kerry King could not write any good lyrics for it during the South of Heaven sessions. Eventually it was the last song completed for Seasons in the Abyss.

The somewhat strange vocal arrangement on the track "Temptation" was unintentionally done that way. Tom Araya sang the song twice: once the way he thought it fit and for the second time on the insistence of Kerry King the way he thought it should be sung. The haunting end result came to be because the first vocal track was not erased between the takes. When the producer played the track and heard both vocal renditions simultaneously on the instrumental background, he liked it so much that both vocals were used on the album. Nobody is sure which vocals are the original.[2] Also, for the title track, during Kerry King's guitar solo, there is a variation between the album version solo and the one on the music video for "Seasons in the Abyss", plus sound effects in the beginning of the song during which the clean guitar is playing.

Lyrical themesEdit

War, murder, blood, and human weakness are the major lyrical themes. In "Born of Fire," "Spirit in Black," and "Temptation," the album returns to the Satanic themes previously featured in Hell Awaits.

The song "Dead Skin Mask" was inspired by murderer Ed Gein. "Blood Red" deals with oppressive communist regimes. "War Ensemble" is an exploration of the horrors of war.[3]

"Skeletons of Society" and "Seasons in the Abyss" on the other hand deal with apocalyptic themes. "Expendable Youth" is about gang wars and gang violence. "Hallowed Point" is about a killing spree.

Critical receptionEdit

Seasons in the Abyss was released on October 9, 1990 and peaked at number 40 on the Billboard 200 album chart, the highest position the band attained at the time.[4] In 1992 the album was certified gold, for shipments in excess of 500,000 in the United States.[5] David Browne of Entertainment Weekly commented "Pushing the envelope of its previous album straight out the door, Slayer piles on the grim vocals, the frenetic guitar work, and the gore on Seasons in the Abyss," praising the guitar work of King and Hanneman. [3]

Steve Huey of Allmusic described the album as bringing back the "pounding aggression of Reign In Blood, while periodically kicking up the mid-tempo grooves of South of Heaven." Huey praised the music as "displaying the full range of their abilities all in one place, with sharp, clean production," stating the band is refining rather than progressing or experimenting. The album received a rating of four and a half out of five stars, while the title track and "War Ensemble" earned Slayer its heaviest airplay on MTV to date.[6] In an October 2007 interview, Evile frontman Matt Drake described Seasons in the Abyss as "the perfect mix" between the two styles ("speed" and "slow material") showcased on Reign in Blood and South of Heaven respectively.[7] Children of Bodom bassist Henkka T. Blacksmith hailed Seasons in the Abyss as "the best metal album ever".[8]

Track listingEdit

# TitleLyricsMusic Length
1. "War Ensemble"  Tom Araya, Jeff HannemanHanneman 4:54
2. "Blood Red"  ArayaHanneman 2:50
3. "Spirit in Black"  Kerry KingHanneman 4:07
4. "Expendable Youth"  ArayaKing 4:10
5. "Dead Skin Mask"  ArayaHanneman 5:20
6. "Hallowed Point"  Araya, HannemanHanneman, King 3:24
7. "Skeletons of Society"  KingKing 4:41
8. "Temptation"  KingKing 3:26
9. "Born of Fire"  KingHanneman, King 3:07
10. "Seasons in the Abyss"  ArayaHanneman 6:42


  • Tom Araya: Bass, Vocals
  • Kerry King: Guitar
  • Jeff Hanneman: Guitar
  • Dave Lombardo: Drums


  • Produced By Slayer, Rick Rubin & Andy Wallace
  • Engineered & Mixed By Andy Wallace
  • Assistant Engineers: Allen Abrahamson, Chris Rich, David Tobocman
  • Mastering: Howie Weinberg


  1. Browne, David (November 9, 1990). "Seasons in the Abyss: Music Review:Entertainment Weekly". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on August 23, 2009.
  2. 1990 issue of Metal Maniacs featuring Slayer and Megadeth talking about their then new LPs (Seasons in The Abyss and Rust In Peace)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Browne, David (1990-11-05). "Slayer - Seasons in the Abyss". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2007-12-17.
  4. "Slayer's album chart history". Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved on 2007-03-19.
  5. "Recording Industry Association of America Gold & Platinum Searchable Database". RIAA. Retrieved on 2007-03-24.
  6. Huey, Steve. "Seasons in the Abyss". Retrieved on 2007-05-13.
  7. Morgan, Anthony (2007-10). "“Armoured Assault” - Evile frontman Matt Drake hails gargantuan Thrash masterpiece Enter the Grave". Lucem Fero. Retrieved on 2008-05-03.
  8. "Children Of Bodom: Henkka Blacksmith talks Metal". Metal Hammer (2008-02-22). Retrieved on 2008-06-03.

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