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It’s Not Slayer, it’s SLOWER: Hear this Crushing Doom Cover of “South of Heaven”

Imagine Slayer appreciated through the lens of some of your favorite Doom musicians. Guess what, you don’t have to imagine it, because SLOWER exists! They’re the all-Slayer cover doom metal supergroup featuring members of Fu Manchu, Kylesa, Kyuss, Monolord, Lowrider, and Year Of The Cobra. There may be some purists out there that think it’s blasphemy to reimagine the music of these thrash legends, but I disagree. SLOWER is devastatingly slow, relentlessly heavy, and is here to steamroll our skulls with their seductively doomy take on Slayer. If you don’t believe me, hit play on their single “South of Heaven” below, and then make sure you pick up their self-titled debut record that’s coming out January 26th via Heavy Psych Sounds — pre-order it here.

Slower lineup:

Bob Balch (guitars) Fu Manchu
Amy Barrysmith (vocals) Year of the Cobra
Laura Pleasants (vocals) Kylesa
Peder Bergstrand (bass) Lowrider
Scott Reeder (bass) Kyuss
Esben Willems (drums) Monolord

Bob Balch from FU MANCHU here. The idea for the SLOWER project started around four years ago. I was teaching a student how to play “South Of Heaven” by SLAYER but she was a beginner so we slowed it down. I thought that sounded cool so I tuned down to B standard and tried it. I added some drums and thought “someone in the doom community should do this and name it SLOWER.”

A few years later I befriended Steven “Thee Slayer Hippy” Hanford, best known for his work as the drummer in the influential Oregon punk band Poison Idea. He was backstage at a FU MANCHU show. Oddly enough I was wearing a POISON IDEA shirt and he told me that my shirt sucks. I asked who he was and why he was in our backstage. He told me and I felt stupid. We started drinking whiskey and talking about music. We stayed in touch over the next year or so and during Covid I told him about my SLOWER idea. He asked me to send him tracks. I waited too long because the day I sent the tracks he passed away. Totally tragic. I’m glad I got to know him even for a few years. He was a monster musician with a giant heart.

He will be greatly missed.

I shelved the project for a while after that. One day Esben from MONOLORD posted about musical collaborations. I love MONOLORD so I thought what the hell. I sent him some tracks and he killed it on drums. So I sent more. Then more. Shortly after that we started reaching out other musicians to get them involved. That’s how we ended up with this lineup. Everyone that contributed completely knocked it out of the park and I can’t thank them enough.

This project has been a long time coming and I’m beyond stoked on how it turned out. Without all of the players involved, Steven Hanford and my baritone Reverend guitar it wouldn’t have happened. Thanks to everyone involved and I hope you dig it! I’m a giant SLAYER fan so it’s been a treat to dig into these classic songs. Hopefully we can do another record in the near future. Look out for shows because they will happen!

Esben Willems – When Bob first approached me with the idea and I heard his scratch guitars, my first thought was “This is genius”. Those iconic tracks we all know by heart suddenly unveiled an unexpected dimension. I’m really proud of how this turned out.

Peder Bergstrand – This might be blasphemous considering the circumstances, but when Bob reached out and asked if I’d want to play bass on sludged-out Slayer covers, I had to admit some of these tracks were brand new to me. That made the experience even more special though, hearing and playing on the Slower version first, and then comparing to the original. Bob has really transformed these songs into something totally their own, and on a personal level I feel the rest of the band’s insane performances pushed me to my most inspired playing to date. So incredibly stoked for people to hear this album.

Written By

Meghan MacRae grew up in Vancouver, Canada, but spent many years living in the remote woods. Living in the shadow of grizzly bears, cougars and the other predators of the wilderness taught her about the dark side of nature, and taught her to accept her place in nature's order as their prey. She is co-founder of CVLT Nation.

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