As far as we’re aware, March 10 (that’s the day we’re publishing this, for anyone who’s late to this particular party) isn’t a particularly important date in the calendar for any of the four members of Slayer. It isn’t any of their birthdays. It isn’t the anniversary of the release of any of their records. As far as we’re aware, it isn’t the date of their wedding anniversaries, or their children’s birthdays, or the anniversary of the first time Kerry King realised that it’s better to shave your head entirely once you start going bald, rather than suffer through the ignominy of trying to maintain the long-hair look once male pattern baldness takes hold.
It is, however, the birthday of producer Rick Rubin, arguably Slayer’s most influential (and in their early days, most frequent) studio collaborator. Which from our perspective makes it the perfect opportunity* to look back at the video to one of Slayer’s more overlooked numbers.
Okay, yeah, ‘War Ensemble’ is hardly what you could “overlooked” generally, but when people usually talk about Slayer and Rubin’s collaborations, they focus on the big guns – ‘Raining Blood’, ‘Angel of Death’, ‘South of Heaven’ and so on. And as awesome as such songs are, when it comes to Slayer’s almighty discography, they tend to cast an unfairly large shadow over some of the other great material Slayer recorded while Rubin was behind the producer’s desk. And while Rubin might not have quite the reputation among metal circles as he might once have had (just as Slipknot’s Corey Taylor…), we think the occasion of the big bearded one’s birthday is as good an occasion as any to crank up a classic from Seasons In The Abyss.
Slayer are currently on the verge of going in to the studio to record their twelfth studio album, the as-yet-untitled follow up to 2009’s admittedly not-that-impressive World Painted Blood. They’re also set to tour the USA this summer as co-headliners of this year’s Rockstar Mayhem Fest alongside Slipknot.
Rick Rubin is currently on board as the producer for Black Sabbath’s also-as-yet-untitled forthcoming new album – the band’s first new studio effort since 1995, and their first with Ozzy Osbourne on vocals since 1978’s Never Say Die!. At the time of writing, we still kinda hope by the time the new Sabbath album is done we’ll also be able to say it’s the first with all four original members of Black Sabbath, but we guess that all depends on how the Bill Ward situation eventually plays out…
*(Yeah, we’re just looking for an excuse to listen to Slayer a bit louder than usual. So what?)