Slatanic Slaughter I(Black Sun Records - 1995)
Dissection - The Antichrist
Slightly sped up with more reverberation or echo in the production, giving it more atmosphere. Also, the vocals are raspy/growling yells that surprisingly didn't change much, and otherwise, it's very faithful and doesn't add to the original. Good, but it needs more personal touches.
Hypocrisy - Black Magic
Very thick and low-tuned guitars with superb death growls, slowed down a tad and shortened for a romping and heavy effect. Also aided by a thick audible bass. Pretty good.
Merciless - Crionics
Thicker guitars and a vocal that is somewhere between a yell and a death growl. But other than this and a sped up mid-section that sounds more deathish, nothing else is done with this Maidenesque track to make it interesting and it doesn't quite sound right done this way.
At The Gates - Captor Of Sin
Plenty of enhancements added here, and all backed by the frenzied chugging energy of At The Gates guitars and vocals. Better than the original.
Invocator - Altar of Sacrifice
Totally faithful with the same style of vocals. Surprisingly more low end oomph is added thanks to the audible bass and there is a well done guitar solo but why basically make another copy of a song?
Enslaved - Jesus Saves
Weaker guitars and sound and the raspy black vocals change the effect of the song this time. Sounds like a black retro thrash song. Nothing special.
Edge of Sanity - Criminally Insane
The same changes as with Hypocrisy, namely much thicker and lower guitars, great death growls and a heavier approach. The result is fantastic albeit somewhat primitive for such a great band.
Seance - Postmortem
Another song from Reign in Blood that changes very easily into a modern death metal song by just changing the vocals (gargling low death growls in this case). The guitars and tempo are 100% faithful though and only a 45 second extension was added to the end.
Cemetary - South Of Heaven
Ah this one is more interesting and the way I like tributes to be done even though it is less safe. The song is the same but they completely changed the approach and delivery to a slower doom style. The vocals usually stay around a low, clean and usually layered or distorted timbre. Well done.
Crown of Thorns - Mandatory Suicide
Thicker guitars but not necessarily heavier, loud bass, a drummer that hits the hi-hat too much and in the wrong places, a few variations and brutalizing enhancements especially in the drums and guitar solos, harsh growls as vocals. The result: not bad but nothing really new and exciting either.
Grope - Spill the Blood
Another proper tribute with a very different approach and big change, but this one is slightly less successful. Using sounds from the Evil Dead movie and many strange distortions and effects in the song, the result is very dark and heavy. More elements that add to this moody effect are the crunchy bass, the slower tempo, and the thick growls, screams and guitars. Kudos for creativity and the dark transformation, but the warps are slightly overdone.
Summary: There is nothing really bad about this release and there are a few tracks that can make it very worthwhile. But with the number of uninteresting covers, the decision whether the album is worthwhile or not will be ultimately subjective. I'd recommend to pick it up if it sounds interesting to you.
Slatanic Slaughter II(Black Sun Records - 1996)
Necrophobic - Die by the Sword
Gritty, roaring death guitars and good growls convert this thrash track into a seriously beefed up, slow-paced death number. Nothing really new was added but it is superb nevertheless. Great solo.
Luciferion - Chemical Warfare
Almost unrecognizable at first but I prefer tributes this way. It's sped up to a frantic death blast a la earlier Deicide, with a wailing chaotic guitar lead throughout half the song and brutal growls. The drummer seems technically gifted at times and a tad too mechanical at others. The result is a pretty good brutal barrage that would have gained a lot from more dynamics.
Cradle of Filth - Hell Awaits
CoF add their cobwebbed spiral staircase keyboards, frantic screeches and guitars, and vocal variations to make this track totally their own. The only aspect still connecting it to Slayer is the recognizable guitar riffing driving the music. A killer combination of CoF with the anti-romanticisim of Slayer. Extreme, dark and full.
Sinister - Praise of Death
It's back to the 'lets add death guitars and vocals and increase tempo and chaos to make Slayer into modern death metal' formula. In this case they seemed to have used the formula but lost Slayer somewhere along the line. So not only is it an uninteresting tribute, its also a dull death metal song.
Benediction - Necrophiliac
Really low and full sounding guitars matched by the vocals. Another example of a death metal conversion tribute but one of the best ones (and based on a great original). The song chugs forward like a freight train mainly thanks to the guitars, and it does it very well.
Liers in Wait - Angel of Death
Well what can you do to a full blown death metal song to increase its extremity? Make it primitive deathgrind of course. Extremely low tuned and distorted guitars backed by a bass that sounds like steel plates being banged together, and distorted, gargling brutal death growls. A sonic abuse that turned out mostly monotonous, but I enjoyed this one a little despite myself.
Coffin Man - Epidemic
Faithful tribute with roaring guitars and death growls again. It works because it's a Slayer song but c'mon guys, do something special!
Malevolent Creation - Raining Blood
You can't go wrong with this song with its classic opening riff and downpour of brutal riffs, and MC cover it faithfully and strongly. They also have a drummer that can actually compete with Lombardo and add his own great interpertation. Great death metal.
Vader - Silent Scream
Ahh great choice by Vader. They use a similar half clean vocal as in the original but convert the song into an uncompromising, blasting sonic attack. Nothing really new but it works very well and I can't say no to Silent Scream.
Anathema - Read Between the Lies
Very slightly slowed down and added crunchy doom guitars but otherwise a copy. Even the vocals are remarkably the same and the result is heavy and dull. I expected much more interesting things from this cover.
Unanimated - Dead Skin Mask
A haunting, dark song but somewhat flawed in its original form. Unanimated add their own Swedish black metal touches and harsh vocals to change the effect of the song. The result is roar and vitriolic and quite interesting, but falls a little short of the mark.
Disaffected - Seasons in the Abyss
Another slow and dark song, but a classic and very epic in style. Disaffected change and interpret this extremely well into heavy doomdeath with some Black Sabbath riffing at the beginning, death growls, and superb atmospheric keyboards. Plenty of extra embellishments were added. Possibly the best track on the album.
Summary: This one is much more interesting and well done than the previous tribute. Recommended.
Gateway to Hell - A Tribute to Slayer(Dwell - 1999)
Dark Funeral - Dead Skin Mask
Predictably redone with harsh guitars and raspy vocals but the result is horribly dull. The delivery is somnolent and detached, there are no personal additions, and the drumming is boring.
Monstrosity - Angel of Death
Modern death metal guitars and growling vocals. Played well but nothing new or exciting. I even think the original is more brutal (lower and faster does not equal brutal).
Aurora Borealis - Altar of Sacrifice
Interesting thanks to the technical, speedy and energetic drumming but otherwise nothing that special. A lot of the beat was sped up to a blast, and the vocals are raspy with a touch of growl that are a bit on the weak side. The intro to Jesus Saves was added to the end of the track.
Sadistic Intent - Necrophiliac
Brandishing a malicious, grinning sound a la Carcass, this track romps its way through the riffs with a delicious low sound. Rumbling bass, guitars and distorted vocals are to blame. A faithful cover, but fun and delivered well.
From the Depths - Epidemic
Ridiculously low tuned bass and guitars that thud and thump in your speakers and are too low for this song - it gets monotonous after a while. The vocals are a gargling rasp. Another faithful cover (if you disregard the different sound of course) that lacks in energy and interest.
Infamy - Read Between the Lies
A few small personal touches, noisy guitars, a sick, deep death growl and competent drumming. Not bad.
Diabolic - Killing Fields
The only cover from post-Seasons Slayer. Diabolic cover this track with their foot on the gas and their drummer on coke. The drums have a strange sound to them and are hit so precisely and quickly that I suspect a drum machine. In any case they are technically interesting but the song itself is too faithful and never excited me much even in its original form. Vocals are Schuldiner-esque growls.
Coffin Texts - Crypts of Eternity
Coffin Texts grabbed a Slayer song that actually needed beefing up and layed on the beef and muscle very well. Not much new was added but with a good brutal sound and great instrument handling, this cover actually came out much better than the original. Growling vocals and superb drumming.
Draconis - The Final Command
The only thing new is the In Flames vocal but otherwise, this Maiden-esque track is just another copy. Oh well.
Evil Incarnate - Die by the Sword
A majorly souped up version of this older thrash song. Low roaring Swedish guitars a la Hypocrisy and brutal death growls to match. Yet again there is nothing really new but the sound, but it is very enjoyable nevertheless.
Thy Darkest Empire - At Dawn They Sleep
A good conversion to holocaust black metal a la Immortal, but they kept the thrash guitar solos (which seem out of place at first impression). A raw sound featuring blast beats, buzzing guitars, raspy vocals, unprecise playing at times and a drummer that can't possibly compete with Lombardo, but the song comes out very well. One of the most interesting covers on the album because of its personal touches.
Imprecation - Show No Mercy
Starting with a cheesy bells+keyboard intro a la Cradle of Filth, Imprecation erupt into a frenzied interpretation of this song with pounding drums, grinding roaring guitars, keyboards and a dual rasp/guttural growl vocal attack. Their CoF influences are obvious but the vocals lack in strength and their frenzied energy wears off in effect after a while due to the unimaginative composition.
Somnus - Seasons in the Abyss
I was anxious to see how Somnus would tackle this epic of a song and I was very pleasantly surprised. Mixing goth and black metal together with a judicious use of enhancing keyboards, this cover comes out pitch-dark and doom-heavy. Vocals are great rasps backed by subtle female vocals. This track alone raises the rating for this album by a few points and saves it from being a waste of time.
Summary: Not recommended due to the majority of bad tracks and the existence of the other tribute albums, but I can't help but wish that they'd include the great Somnus track on a different compilation. If you don't mind so many dull tracks though, this isn't a waste of time.
Straight to Hell - A Tribute to Slayer(Dead Line Music - 1999)
Brutal Truth - Necrophobic
100% blasting boring grindcore but with muffled clean vocals during most of the track! Not my cup of tea but executed very well.
Abbadon of Venom - South of Heaven
Originally a great track but ruined here by very strange drumming that seems to be all over the place, beating in the wrong places and way too often. The distorted industrial vocals and heavy, plodding sound only hammered a few more nails into its coffin.
The Electric Hellfire Club - South of Heaven
Modernized with ambient screams and sounds, and other various personal touches. Not bad but marred somewhat by a monotone keyboard sound throughout the whole song. Nothing exciting.
Hypocrisy - Black Magic
(Same track as in Slatanic Slaughter I). Very thick and low-tuned guitars with superb death growls, slowed down a tad and shortened for a romping and heavy effect. Also aided by a thick audible bass. Pretty good.
Hecate Enthroned - Altar of Sacrifice
Muddy production. Faithful cover except for the harsh CoF style varied vocals and slightly lower guitars. Next please.
Mortician - Piece by Piece
Well what do you expect Mortician to do to this song? That's right: guitars that sound like the microphone was placed on a bulldozer's motor and covered with a blanket, vocals that sound like a monotonous newscaster slowed down to 2% of the original speed...and don't forget the blast beats. Boring.
Chapter 7 - Mandatory Suicide
Another basic copy of the original but with growling vocals. Done adequately but I have no reason to listen to this if I have the original.
Jungle Rot - Fight Till Death
Another faithful cover with lower Swedish style death guitars and growling vocals (see Hypocrisy). Nice guitar solo. Good.
Gigantor - Behind the Crooked Cross
This one surprised me by going in the other direction and interpreting Slayer to a lighter heavy metal sound (relatively). It straddles the border between catchiness and thrashiness. This may throw some people off but I think it came out rather well. Interesting.
Naked Lunch - Blood Red
Nothing like some techno in a Slayer album to wake you the hell up. With my finger poised on the next button, I perservered while the song thankfully switched to a techno/industrial/metal hybrid a la Zombie that wasn't too bad. It definitely should not have been included here though as it sticks out like a sore thumb.
Brood - Angel of Death
A thumping drum machine and clean vocals drowned in lame echo effects. Also, lots of electronic touches and other games with the original riffs that do nothing for me. The song is still metal but a failure. Lay off the toys and start writing some music, boys.
Dissection - The Antichrist
(Same track as in Slatanic Slaughter I). Slightly sped up with more reverberation or echo in the production, giving it more atmosphere. Also, the vocals are raspy/growling yells that surprisingly didn't change much, and otherwise, it's very faithful and doesn't add to the original. Good, but it needs more personal touches.
Embraze - Chemical Warfare
Roaring low guitars and growls again with good lead guitar work. The vocals this time are both gargling and rabid and enjoyably expressive (whats wrong with me?). Good stuff.
Summary: Not recommended of course, unless you're a Slayer fanatic that needs to have every single good track related to Slayer.
Gateway to Hell 2(Dwell - 2000)
Perverseraph - Chemical Warfare
Blizzard-like but very muddy guitars, a drummer that seems to be trying to hit as many drums as possible in the space of 5 minutes and a snarling death vocalist leading this mess of sound. The result is somewhat effective and primitively brutal but largely uninteresting due to the lack of sharpness in sound and delivery.
Angel Corpse - Kill Again
Now this is more like it. Although mostly faithful and therefore uncreative, this cover beefs up the speed and sound with great grinding guitars, bass and gargling death growls, all wrapped up in a precise and energetic delivery.
Sanctorum - Evil Has No Boundaries
Mostly faithful instrumentally only with better sounding guitars and raspy growls as vocals. Nicely delivered but I expect more from a tribute.
Hate - Post Mortem
A copy of the original only with superb deep and gargling growls and some blast beats. Enjoyable and done well but lacking in creativity yet again.
Nocturne - Hardening of the Arteries
This one sounds like an 80s death metal rendition for some reason what with the thrashy but brutal riffs, a touch of blast beat and the throaty growls/screams as vocals. Nothing amazing but nostalgically good and they did change the sound of the song somewhat.
Incantation - Hell Awaits
Low and dense guitars and good phlegm-gargling grunts as vocals make another enjoyable, brutal, well-executed but essentially faithful cover.
Black Witchery - Fight Till Death
Black-thrash. Raspy vocals. Mediocre delivery. Nothing new or exciting.
Abigor - Crionics
A strange melodic NWOBHM-sounding choice by Abigor and the delivery is strangely sloppy from a band I expect much more of. The screaming clean vocals and out of place atmospherics at the end of the song didn't help much either.
Equinox - Haunting the Chapel
An inferior copy this time with less energy than the original and commonplace snarling growls from the vocalist. This one's OK but forgotten as soon as it's over.
The Chasm - Metalstorm-Face the Slayer
Marred by a muddy production which doesn't help the down-tuned guitars and drums but raised again by the vocalist who spits and rasps the lyrics with energy. Acceptable.
Thy Infernal - Black Magic
Even more mud, drowning the speed and energy of this classic in muck. The blood-spitting rasps would probably be a lot more impressive with better sound as well.
Mystifier - Tormentor
Mystifier bring a change of pace and actually change the sound of the song by slowing things down slightly, using a down-tuned stoned guitar sound and mixing both good gnarly growls and jarring clean vocals. Interesting at times but mostly mediocre.
Cephalic Carnage - Jesus Saves
A grinding, brutal, sharp and invigorating rendition of course, what else did you expect?
Enter Self - Mandatory Suicide
Slow and classic Slayer done brutal death style without speeding anything up. In other words it's faithful, only with heavier guitars and sick death growls. Enjoyable but uninteresting.
Messe Noir - Piece By Piece
Demo quality grindcore only with black metal rasps. Brutal, furious mud. Wear your boots.
Summary: A mediocre, somewhat acceptable tribute that may excite and lure people wanting to hear death metallized Slayer. Those who expect creative covers though should stay away. One interesting point is that this tribute focuses a lot on early Slayer (Show no Mercy) but this being the fifth Slayer tribute, perhaps it's time to give it a rest?