Slower is the brand new, all-Slayer cover band that takes thrash classics and slows 'em way the fuck down. The end result is an aural beating of a whole different kind, as you'll find out thanks to their nearly-11-minute rendition of "War Ensemble" streaming below. The full lineup behind the glacial glory of Slower is:
- Drummer Esben Willems of Monolord
- Bassist Peder Bergstrand of Lowrider
- Bassist Scott Reeder of Kyuss
- Vocalist Amy Barrysmith of Year Of The Cobra
- Vocalist Laura Pleasants of Kylesa
- Guitarist Bob Balch of Fu Manchu
"'War Ensemble' was the first song I was approached with for this project," said Barrysmith. "The only direction I got was to 'have fun and be creative', so I decided to look at it as if it were an original piece, not a cover, and not Slayer. Pretty easy to do, honestly. The riffs slowed down really created a life of their own. It's genius in so many ways! From there, creating the melody and harmony lines and fitting in the lyrics came quickly and easily. I'm excited to finally share this with everyone and grateful to have had the opportunity to collaborate with such inspiring and talented musicians."
"I was 13 when Seasons In The Abyss came out," added Balch. "I had been playing guitar non-stop for a little over a year by then. I desperately wanted to play 'War Ensemble' but it was way too fast for me at the time. I had no idea how they jumped from string to string during that verse riff. Therefore, I really enjoyed digging into this tune and finally locking in that verse riff! I also think this song is a great representation of how we approached the rest of the record. Enjoy!"
Slower will release their devastating debut record on January 24. Pre-orders are available here.
So how the hell did Slower come to be, anyway? Balch explained that it all started when he was teaching a beginning guitar student how to play "South Of Heaven". Balch taught the student at a much slower tempo so she could get the hang of the riff, and the concept for Slower was born.
"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 to 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!"