Despite the fact Dave Lombardo has been playing with crossover pioneers Suicidal Tendencies, horror-punk icons Misfits, hardcore supergroup Dead Cross, and experimental thrashers Mr. Bungle, his name will forever be associated with Slayer. So it's not uncommon for him to be asked questions related to his former band.
Lombardo explained that he loves the song for its "great pulse, great lyrics, the melody, just the way the song was put together." He also praised the song's "drum break," which he described as "just so heavy."
"The guitars are so chunky," Lombardo said. "And the groove feels good. That's the bottom line. It's gotta have feeling. It's gotta breathe. Otherwise, it's just sterile, it's just a straight line, no emotion. And that song, I think, captures a feeling."
Lombardo's love of "Ghosts of War" is particularly interesting because it's not one of Slayer's most popular songs. It's a slower, more melodic track than many of the band's other classics. But his comments suggest that he appreciates the song's more subtle qualities.
"That song, I believe, has all the makings or the quality of, for me, a pure, great metal track, thrash metal track," he concluded.
According to Setlist.fm, Slayer played "Ghost Of War" a total of 206 times throughout their career. The song got a lot of play between 1988 and 1989, and then on and off between 2007 and 2015.
In an interview with Metal Hammer magazine last year, he chose two other Slayer songs as his favorites: "Captor of Sin" from 1984's Haunting the Chapel EP and "Beauty Through Order" from 2009's World Painted Blood.
"Captor of Sin" was the first song that Lombardo recorded with Slayer, and he chose it because it was the first time he used double bass."
Explaining his choice of "Beauty Through Order", Lombardo said: "I have to go with something from World Painted Blood, as that was Hanneman's last album. “Beauty Through Order’”, I remember recording the song, as the music had a natural crescendo, a natural de-crescendo too. We didn't follow the grid and just stay metronomically correct, we went with the emotion of the song.”
"The song started off, for example, 150bpm, but at the end of the song it was 175/180bpm, because it grew with intensity. I remember sitting with Hanneman on the World Painted Blood tour, before he got sick, and listening to that song. We would laugh at some of the whammy bar parts that were overdubbed, it sounded like some kind of bird or something flying through the air."