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Review of the Album "Divine Intervention" by American Thrash Metal Band Slayer

Updated on August 12, 2023
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Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

Why is the Album Divine Intervention Memorable?

Divine Intervention is the 1994 studio album by American thrash metal band Slayer. But why is it so memorable for some fans even in 2017? Imagine sitting in your high school word processing classroom to be told about the album by two of your classmates and then you decide to listen to the album to find out how good or how bad it is. That’s the experience I had with the album listening to it at a time when there were still cassette tapes in existence.

The Album Cover for "Divine Intervention"

"Divine Intervention" the Album Starts off Very Strong

Divine Intervention is a weaker album by this Southern California thrash metal band but it does not mean that it is their worst effort. That is far from the truth as the first song called "Killing Fields" starts with a drum part by then new drummer Paul Bostaph. He follows in the beginning with some good fills and then there is some mid-paced riffing as the song takes shape. The song is basically about the attitude and mentality of a serial killer. When the free will of a man or woman is used for destructive purposes, the result will be destructive as well. The song Divine Intervention slows down considerably as there is a twin rhythmic sound to the guitars in the beginning and then the guitars become exotic before Tom Araya’s voice shows that it is overly aggressive and sort of muffled. The second song on this album is about a person that is fascinated by sex as well as a need to overpower others no matter what the cost may be. It is the shortest song on the album. However, the song that is most memorable to me after all these years is the super-fast punk style song Dittohead. The song’s message is that the United States has lost its grip as the legal system is heavily criticized. Anyone in the American justice system can be set free on a technicality as the song says. These kinds of policies make no sense but when you have a government in place that is incompetent, the people are not afraid of punishment. There is a so-called administrative anarchy as the song suggests. The United States has been in decline for many years and these guys noticed the decline back in 1994 and are trying to bring attention to it.

"Killing Fields"

How Is the Title Track "Divine Intervention?"

The song "Divine Intervention" is about a person that has reached a place that feels like hell. He is trying to escape from this painful memory but he cannot break free from it because he is paralyzed.

About the Other Songs In This 1994 Album

"Circle of Beliefs" is a song about someone not understanding another person’s point of view as their life seems to be pushed into a hole as all this person does is pray and their life seems to have no meaning. The song called "SS-3" makes references to World War 2 and at least that’s what I notice as I analyze the lyrics and I had not noticed that all these years. The second half of Divine Intervention has the weaker songs in the album as there is once again this emphasis to use fast riffing which to the avid music fan may seem to be overdone. The weaker songs include Circle of Beliefs, SS-3, and Serenity in Murder. On the opposite side of the scale, the best songs in the album are Killing Fields, Dittohead, Divine Intervention, and to a lesser degree Mind Control. Another weakness about this longtime American band is that their lyrics focus a bit too much on the darker subjects of life. However, that is what Tom Araya, Kerry King, and the late Jeff Hanneman have done all these years.

How Does This Album Sound More Than 25 Years Later?

As we revisit this album in 2020, how does it sound more than 25 years later? Stylistically, it is not as heavy as Reign in Blood for instance. There is a tendency to fluctuate between fast and mid-tempo in this album but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. "Fictional Reality" is an example of a song that mid-tempo for Slayer’s standards. The album brings to light the social issues that were going on at the time. Divine Intervention is not the best album in the history of Slayer but it is good one released after a few of their best ones including Seasons in the Abyss. There are good ideas in the album in terms of the riffing and this is especially true of the song "Dittohead." As of 2020, Divine Intervention gets a 78 out of 100 points for a respectable score still.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2017 Ara Vahanian


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