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Undisputed Attitude

Undisputed Attitude

Undisputed Attitude is an album of punk covers and three original songs by thrash metal band Slayer. Although the initial idea to record heavy metal covers was shelved, guitarist Kerry King came up with the concept of paying tribute to bands that "made Slayer what it is". Guitarist Jeff Hanneman had written four punk songs in 1984–85 and used the best two, while King and vocalist Tom Araya wrote an original song titled "Gemini".

Released on May 28, 1996 through American Recordings, Undisputed Attitude peaked at number 34 on the Billboard 200. The album received generally negative reviews; Adrien Begrand of PopMatters dismissed the effort as "easily the weakest album in the Slayer catalogue", while Entertainment Weekly's Chuck Eddy commented that the songs were "generic hardcore-punk".

Recording

Undisputed Attitude was recorded at Capital Studios in Los Angeles, California with producer Dave Sardy, while Reign in Blood producer Rick Rubin helped executive production. Recorded in three to four weeks, the reason behind the album's creation was due to the interest of guitarist Kerry King, stating the songs were by bands that "made Slayer what it is", and to keep Slayer in the public eye. The album initially featured material from heavy metal artists that had influenced Slayer, including Judas Priest, UFO, and Deep Purple. However, after several rehearsals King believed "things didn't pan out" with heavy metal covers, so the band decided to cover punk songs.

Slayer considered covering 1960's psychedelic rock band The Doors as they were an influence to vocalist and bassist Tom Araya. When asked which track they considered recording, Araya responded, "Maybe 'When the Music's Over', 'Five to One', something like that." A cover of Black Flag's "Rise Above" was suggested by Rubin, although was shelved after the band was not sure how to arrange it musically.

Guitarist Jeff Hanneman had written four unreleased songs in 1984–1985, while in the side project Pap Smear with Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo and Suicidal Tendencies guitarist Rocky George. The band chose the best two, namely "Ddamm (Drunk Drivers Against Mad Mothers)" and "Can't Stand You". "Gemini" was written by King and Araya several months before entering the recording studio. King asserts it's the only "Slayer" song on the album.

Slayer's cover of Minor Threat's "Guilty of Being White" raised questions about a possible message of white supremacy. The controversy surrounding the cover involved the changing of the refrain "guilty of being white" to "guilty of being right", at the song's ending. This incensed Minor Threat frontman Ian MacKaye, who stated "that is so offensive to me". King said it was changed for "tongue-in-cheek" humor as he thought the racism at the time was "ridiculous".

Reception

Undisputed Attitude was released on May 28, 1996, and peaked at number 34 on the Billboard 200 album chart. Paul Kott of Allmusic commented that "Undisputed Attitude, while not perfect, is a fitting tribute to the bands that inspired Slayer to break from the traditional metal mold." Sandy Masuo of Rolling Stone reasoned; "some punk purists will undoubtedly cry foul, but when the dust settles it's hard to argue with Slayer's mettle." Entertainment Weekly's Chuck Eddy dubbed Slayer's cover interpretations "generic hardcore-punk", and observed that that the group "seem to think that playing as fast and rigidly as possible makes for harder rock -- but it's just lazy shtick".

Reviewing 2003 Slayer box set Soundtrack to the Apocalypse, Adrien Begrand of PopMatters dismissed the effort as "easily the weakest album in the Slayer catalogue", whereas Westword Online's Michael Roberts dubbed the record their "biggest mistake. Araya has since stated that he "knew it wouldn't do very well, people want to hear Slayer! The real die-hards picked up on it and that was expected."

Track listing

European edition

Japanese edition

Personnel

  • Bryan Davis – assistant engineer
  • Jim Giddenes – assistant engineer
  • Greg Gordon – engineer
  • Dennis Keeley – photography, inlay photography
  • Michael Lavine – photography, cover photo
  • Stephen Marcussen – mastering
  • Bill Smith – assistant engineer
  • Dirk Walter – art direction, design

References

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