Two bands that have nothing to do with one another I’ve been revisiting musically are Slayer and ABC.
Slayer is a band I’ve always had deep respect for due to their instrumental chops-the speed at which they play plus their lack of sloppiness and awe inspiring virtuosity….Their tweaking of religious sensibilities only makes me like them more….Whatever hellish process they go through to make their music it’s worth it.
SOUTH OF HEAVEN is my personal favorite of their releases but REIGN IN BLOOD is the important one….Here is where the burgeoning thrash metal meant punk head on….I think Slayer forged something completely new here- Metal power riffing with punk tempos and lyrics halfway between sensationalism and protest….Their 90’s albums found them caught in a bit of a rut but their work in the last decade find them once again operating at 120 mile an hour velocity….The 2000’s albums GOD HATES US ALL, CHRIST ILLUSION, WORLD TURNED BLOOD are all excellent.
ABC’s first album THE LEXICON OF LOVE was different from others of the New Romantics New Wave sub genre in that it relied less on synths and more on strings and big arrangements….They mated the lush sounds of Scott Walker’s 70’s stuff with Roxy Music’s evolution from glam prog hybrid to AVALON jazziness….The end result was a masterpiece – a record full of clever songs each one as catchy as humanly possible.
BEAUTY STAB the follow-up added loud guitars to the mix and the end result was a very good record not on the level of LEXICON but still featuring some great songwriting….After that, they turned into a synth pop band and became more inconsistent with the occasional brilliant tune to remind you of what went before.
TRAFFIC, the first new ABC album in more than decade, came out in 2008 but I have only just heard it….Now basically down to singer Martin Fry and anonymous sidemen, this ABC had the good sense to work with Gary Langan again whom they had not worked with since STAB….The end result is a fun record not completely synthetic full of catchy tunes and Fry’s crooning….A pleasant surprise.