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3.83 | 36 ratings | 3 reviews
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EP · 1984

Filed under Thrash Metal


1. Chemical Warfare (6:01)
2. Captor of Sin (3:29)
3. Haunting the Chapel (3:56)

Total Time: 13:26

Reissue bonus track:
4. Aggressive Perfector (3:28)

Total Time: 16:54


- Tom Araya / Vocals, Bass
- Kerry King / Guitar
- Jeff Hanneman / Guitar
- Dave Lombardo / Drums

About this release

Type: EP
Release date: August 4, 1984
Record label: Metal Blade Records
Producer: Brian Slagel

First CD pressing by Roadrunner in 1989. Reissued on CD in 1993 by Metal Blade, including a bonus track previously released on the Metal Massacre 3 compilation.

The 1993 version also available as bonus tracks on the remastered Live Undead.

Thanks to The Angry Scotsman, Pekka for the updates


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Slayer are considered one of the Big Four thrash metal bands that helped establish the sub-genre, with bands like Exodus (possibly the oldest) and Testament also following close behind. But of the Big Four, two were typical Bay Area thrashers and one was a rare East Coast-bred thrash pack. Only Slayer sang about Satan and Hell, and no one seemed to have Tom Araya’s quake-inducing, biker barks. Though known for giving off the occasional tympanic membrane puncturing scream, Araya was less about shouting into the mic as he was about trying to make you fear the demon hordes as they charged at you from the furious sounds of Slayer’s explosive music. Listening to “Haunting the Chapel” now, I feel Slayer has less in common with Metallica, Anthrax, and Megadeth and fit in more at a dinner party for Kreator, Venom, Bathory, and Possessed.

This was my introduction to Slayer back in 1984 and thanks to my enjoyment of this album I was quick to pick up “Hell Awaits” (though strangely I never got “Show No Mercy”). The three songs on this EP have an intensity and fury to shake down pillars and stone walls. The band know that they want to be fast but still deliver a structured approach betraying their NWoBHM influences. On the re-issue, the additional track “Aggressive Perfector” sounds more like a band trying to outpace a late-seventies Judas Priest speed-burner with guitar solos loosely based on classic JP and Araya wailing a high Halford-ish note at the end.

This is quite an excellent little package of songs. Though the production quality lags behind the intensity of the music, the ambition to blow open the Gates of Hell is very clear as Hades.
Slayer - Haunting the Chapel

'Haunting the Chapel' is the first EP and overall second release by thrash metal legends, Slayer. There are a lot of good EP's around, but it's rare that an EP is perfect and stands on its own the same way an album does. It gives you an adrenaline boost with three (four on the reissue that I have) high energy thrashers that are among the best in Slayer's catalog in my book.

It begins with the classic 'Chemical Warfare', with fast yet menacing riffing and Tom Araya's signature aggressive vocals with the occasional maniacal laugh. Of course, you also have blistering solos that Slayer wouldn't be Slayer without. It's six minutes long, which is actually pretty long for a Slayer song, but it certainly doesn't feel that long. 'Captor of Sin' has some killer riffs that show signs of things to come in later albums. This is a little thing, but hearing the vocals under the end of the solo sounds pretty awesome. My favorite has to be the title track though, with Araya's vocals complimenting the relentless riffs. Listening to it, it sounds made for a mosh-pit, just as much as mosh-anthems like Anthrax's 'Caught in a Mosh' and Nervosa's 'Into Moshpit'. If you get the reissue, you get the song 'Aggressive Perfector', which sounds more in line with Slayer's debut then the rest of the album as it's a bit more of a speed metal-based thrash. However, it definitely isn't lacking in fantastic guitar and soloing.

The production for this EP couldn't be better. It's raw, gritty, and powerful, which is perfect for an aggressive thrash EP.

Overall, 'Haunting the Chapel' is a perfect transition between the debut and 'Hell Awaits' which would get them closer to their signature sound. It's not often when I'd call an EP essential, but I never tire of this short twenty-minutes of thrashing mastery. I'd go so far to say it's a desert island album for me. Yeah, it's that good. Hope you found this review helpful.

Feel free to comment!
"Haunting the Chapel" is an EP release by US thrash metal act Slayer that bridges the gap between their debut full-length studio album "Show No Mercy (1983)" and their second full-length studio album "Hell Awaits (1985" along with "Live Undead (1984)" which was released in November 1984. "Haunting the Chapel" was released through Metal Blade Records in August 1984.

Musically the 3 tracks on the 13:26 minutes long EP are closer in style to the NWoBHM influenced "Show No Mercy (1983)" than they are to the darker and more aggressive style on "Hell Awaits (1985)". That´s especially true for "Captor of Sin", while both "Chemical Warfare" and "Haunting the Chapel" are transitional in nature and feature a darker sound than the debut album. Later CD reissues includes the bonus track "Aggressive Perfector", which had been previously released on the "Metal Massacre 3" compilation. It therefore features a different sound production than the original tracks on the EP. Speaking of sound production, "Haunting the Chapel" features a raw, organic, detailed and powerful sound production. Considering that we´re talking 1984, this is a quality production.

"Haunting the Chapel" is a strong EP release by Slayer. Great musicianship, strong compositions ("Chemical Warfare" can rightfully be called a Slayer "classic") and a powerful sound production. This is early Slayer when they are best and a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

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