So I’ve been going over what a new Slayer record means. It’s been almost 25 years since Reign In Blood, and though there have been some since-reversed lineup changes, minor expansion of sound and themes, and great records between then and now, little has changed about Slayer. It’s almost disturbing.
I think what a new Slayer record means is I’m getting older.
But for even the most jaded owner of Slayer’s Show No Mercy-to-God Hates Us All career who bought Christ Illusion because, well, it was new Slayer, there’s a unexpectedly large amount of World Painted Blood that invigorates that ol’ Bible-in-a-pool-of-blood dog and pony show. Matter of fact, there’s some really awesome cuts on here.
“Hate Worldwide” is probably the best cut, despite the almost goofy drum pre-chorus that adds just the right hook to an already kickass riff and classic Slayer song. “Psychopathy Red” is strong but pretty standard-with just a little something extra following the punky ultra-fast bass section, it could have been great-and the title track is intriguing despite the dive bombs that sound like dying cats and a browbeating chorus. “Snuff” is mostly an efficient thrash cut but doesn’t hold much interest, and “Americon,” while a brave attempt at an anthem, plods along rather unmemorably.
However, the moments that explore other aspects of Slayer’s personality are when the record gets truly interesting. “Beauty Through Order” has a groove that echoes their “South Of Heaven”-style Black Sabbath nods. Moreover, the bridge of “Human Strain” is the definitive “That’s awesome” moment of World Painted Blood on first listen with its “Spiral Architect”-esque vocal arrangement. “Playing With Dolls” employs a clever “impending doom” approach with its relatively sparse arrangement and anxious, dramatic rhythm figure in a classic Slayer vein.
Then again, I’m not sure if anyone wants Slayer to change.