If "Reign In Blood" is to be considered SLAYER's fastest and heaviest album and "South Of Heaven" to be their most melodic, then "Seasons In The Abyss" is simply, their most mature and their best album to date.
The reason why it's the best one SLAYER have released is the mixture of both of the previous two albums' best elements, without the worst (best being "Reign In Blood's" heaviness with "South Of Heaven's" maturity and melody). Everything has improved, from lyrics to riffs to the amount of diversity to the solos (Kerry King took guitar lessons before recording this albums, so that could explain why the solos here sound more like 'regular' solos instead of the off-key shredding that's so typical of SLAYER). Also remaking an appearance is the band's old Punk influence (on "Spirit In Black").
The best part of all is that the songs on this album are simply the best SLAYER has ever written, and the track sequence is perfectly done. Starting off with the high speed "War Ensemble", the whole record shows a great deal of variance and melody. Although a couple of more tracks are at the same speed and intensity of the opener ("Hallowed Point", "Born Of Fire" and "Spirit In Black"), the other songs, although slower, deserve merit as well, as they not only do they give dimension to the album, they are catchy and downright eerie. The slower songs are probably the better ones, the title track and "Dead Skin Mask" being one of the staple songs in SLAYER's live set.
This should prove to the sceptics that SLAYER can write diverse and interesting albums, and they are a multi-dimensional band that should not be pegged down in the "only-speed" category of Metal.
P.S. Does anyone else agree with me that "Hallowed Point" should be one of those songs that SLAYER should always play live from now on? I mean, the version on "Decade Of Aggression" is just sick, and I'd kill to see that song performed live. (Online November 9, 2003)