DAVE LOMBARDO Explains Why 'Ghosts Of War' Is One Of SLAYER's Greatest Thrash Metal Songs

October 3, 2023

In a new interview with Banger TV's Sam Dunn, original SLAYER drummer Dave Lombardo was asked why he previously named "Ghosts Of War", off the band's 1988 album "South Of Heaven", as one of his three favorite SLAYER tracks of all time. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Probably several reasons. The song structure, of course. It has a great pulse, great lyrics, the melody, just the way the song was put together. The drum break — it's just so heavy when it breaks down into that section. The guitars are so chunky. And the groove — it 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. And there's some songs that do and some that don't. And that, I believe, has all the makings or the quality of, for me, a pure, great metal track, thrash metal track."

When he originally named "Ghosts Of War" as one of his favorite SLAYER songs in a 2022 interview with Metal Hammer magazine, he stated about his choice: "'Ghosts Of War' has a breakdown in the middle of the song, where I play these particular drum rolls over Kerry [King] and Jeff's [Hanneman] riffing — it's a certain break, and every time I played that section and that song, it would give me the goosebumps. It would just make me feel good. Whatever it is that music does to humans, stimulate your endorphins or whatever, that song uplifted me and gave me the chills when I was playing it."

Dave also chose "Captor Of Sin" from 1984's "Haunting The Chapel" EP, saying about his selection: "The reason why is that is the first time I started to use double bass."

As for his final choice, it was "Beauty Through Order", saying: "I have to go with something from 'World Painted Blood', as that was Hanneman's last album. 'Beauty Through Order', I remember recording that 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," he added. "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."

Lombardo, who has spent most of the recent years between crossover pioneers SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, horror-punk icons MISFITS, hardcore supergroup DEAD CROSS and MR. BUNGLE, was effectively fired from SLAYER after sitting out the group's Australian tour in February/March 2013 due to a contract dispute with the other bandmembers. He was later replaced by Paul Bostaph, who was previously SLAYER's drummer from 1992 until 2001.

Shortly after his dismissal, Lombardo said that he discovered that 90 percent of SLAYER's tour income was being deducted as expenses, including fees to management, costing the band millions and leaving them with about 10 percent to split four ways. While he and Tom Araya hired auditors to figure out what had happened, Lombardo said he was never allowed to see any of the information obtained.

Lombardo released a statement in February 2013 saying he "was denied access to detailed information and the necessary backup documents." He added: "I was told that I would not be paid until I signed a longform contract which gave me no written assurance of how much or on what basis management would deduct commissions, nor did it provide me access to the financial budgets or records for review. It also forbade me to do interviews or make statements having to do with the band, in effect a gagging order."

A few years ago, King said that "when Dave was in [SLAYER] this last time, I figured I'd be on the stage with him until one of us fell off the stage, dead. Things change. He got some bad advice and listened to some bad advice, gave us an ultimatum ten days before we went to Australia [to do the Soundwave festival tour]. And I said, 'I can't have this over my head.' And I feel bad for Dave to this day; I really feel bad for him because he shot himself in the foot. Maybe he thought he had the upper hand, but you ain't gonna get me."

SLAYER played its last-ever show in November 2019 at The Forum in Los Angeles.

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