Wednesday 1 November 2023

Heavy supergroup SLOWER (w/ members of Fu Manchu, Kylesa, Monolord, Lowrider, Kyuss, Year of the Cobra) share first track off upcoming all-Slayer cover album, out January 26th on Heavy Psych Sounds Records.


Doom metal supergroup SLOWER — the brand new all-Slayer cover project formed by members of Kyuss, Fu Manchu, Kylesa, Monolord, Lowrider and Year Of The Cobra — unleash the crushing first single taken from their upcoming self-titled album, due out January 26th on Heavy Psych Sounds.

The full lineup behind the glacial glory of SLOWER features six major players from the international stoner and doom metal scene: 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 and guitarist Bob Balch of Fu Manchu. This unique recording will catch all heavy and doom metal fans off guard, delivering five fully reinvented Slayer classics with a gloomier and heavier-than-thou atmosphere and compelling ethereal vocals from Kylesa and Year of the Cobra frontwomen. Or as Metal Injection editors would say: "an aural beating of a whole different kind."

Hear Slower's doomy-as-hell cover of Slayer's War Ensemble below

"War Ensemble was the first song I was approached with for this project," says Year of the Cobra vocalist 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," adds Fu Manchu guitarist and project initiator Bob 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!"

About taking part in the project, Monolord drummer Esben Willems says: "When Bob first approached me with the idea and I heard his scratch guitars, my first thought was “This is genius”. Those iconic tracks we all know by heart suddenly unveiled an unexpected dimension. I’m really proud of how this turned out."

Lowrider bassist Peder Bergstrand adds: “This might be blasphemous considering the circumstances, but when Bob reached out and asked if I’d want to play bass on sludged-out Slayer covers, I had to admit some of these tracks were brand new to me. That made the experience even more special though, hearing and playing on the Slower version first, and then comparing to the original. Bob has really transformed these songs into something totally their own, and on a personal level I feel the rest of the band’s insane performances pushed me to my most inspired playing to date. So incredibly stoked for people to hear this album.”

SLOWER "Slower" - Out January 26th on Heavy Psych Sounds - International preorder - US preorder


1. War Ensemble (E. Willems, P. Bergstrand, A. Barrysmith, B. Balch)
2. The Antichrist (E. Willems, P. Bergstrand, A. Barrysmith, B. Balch)
3. Blood Red (E. Willems, P. Bergstrand, A. Barrysmith, B. Balch)
4. Dead Skin Mask (E. Willems, P. Bergstrand, A. Barrysmith, B. Balch)
5. South of Heaven (E. Willems, S. Reeder, L. Pleasants, B. Balch)

Cover artwork by Peder Bergstrand

About this collaborative project, Fu Manchu guitarist Bob Balch says: “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!”


Esben Willems (drums) Monolord
Peder Bergstrand (bass) Lowrider
Amy Barrysmith (vocals) Year of the Cobra
Laura Pleasants (vocals) Kylesa
Bob Balch (guitars) Fu Manchu
Scott Reeder (bass) Kyuss

SLOWER on Instagram


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