Review Summary: Ten studio albums in and still producing material capable of reviving eighties metal reminiscence in not only your fans but also your detractors.
For the Slayer
atheist, you have a lot here to further fuel the fire. This is undeniably another
album heaving political profanity and musical bedlam alongside 2006’s Christ Illusion (and just about every other release) just instead with (relatively) family friendly artwork. Indeed, on the one hand it’s arguably all been done before, either during the 80s, or more recently via some rebuilt frontage of screeching solos and an anti-religious sentiment. On the other, adding yet another materialisation of the old school revisited ripens past fruits, reinforcing their back catalogue and further demonstrating that Slayer never took themselves seriously enough to generate that apprehensive ‘sell-out’ stage that Metallica
(for example) felt over twenty years back. “Here you go Rick; another eleven songs. Can you press them out for us, thanks ‘ppreciate it”, and away they go again. A mechanical release routine, honouring their indelible contract has made Slayer one of the few remaining thrash contemporaries to still turn heads, whether it’s for good or worse; 'any publicity is good publicity' would appear to have the upper hand in this instance.
And so World Painted Blood
similarly is not so much about Slayer trying to prove their towering relevance over [insert current applicable metal act here], it’s more about adding icing atop Reign in Blood
’s cake, despite it’s probably now staling and crumbled. Whether or not they are achieving it successfully is ultimately up to you. The climatic introduction of “World Painted Blood”
and the more thought provoking “Unit 731”
aren’t the strongest ways to begin with previous albums already having anesthetised the listener’s shock sensitivity. But it’s the shortest jabs are without doubt the most reachable. “Psychopathy Red”
, “Public Display of Dismemberment”
and “Hate Worldwide”
effortlessly thrash their way through the durations with the quintessential fierce shrieking chromaticism conjoining the choruses to the verses and Tom Araya still fitting plenty of words in a single cry. “Americon”
is quite possibly one of their most horrible creations ever, with “Human Strain”
a close second; blame not only the tempo but also the featureless song writing in these cases. Don’t be fooled into thinking you’ll be experiencing a far-reaching incarnation of Christ Illusion v2.0, no, instead expect a concreted, yet partially dumbed down embodiment of what Slayer have and most likely will always be remembered for; piercing energy and swift rhythm.
Whatever they’ve presented before it’s certainly going to be somewhere amongst the assortment of (fast and slower) thrash presented between eleven short and mostly sweet imagery of current political deeds, cruel wartime narrative, and of course balls-out murder and violence. However, finding what’s crucially required during the first listen may not be as easy as it needs to be for such a stock album. Searching the cracks for trademarks akin to whaling chaos, haunting mordent duals between Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman, or even furious percussion from Dave Lombardo can turn out to be more of an expedition as opposed to an enjoyable sonic battering. It’s relatively easy to turn to the raw production aesthetic for the answers, but it’s really just another feeble reasoning for the incredulous to convince you not listening to this is simply the better option when in reality this beats whatever they did during the 90s and combines the traits of South, Seasons and Reign with amiable efficiency. It begs the question of who honestly runs to Slayer for a pretty sound [quality]? The expectation level for this by now should have been somewhat surrogated by 2006’s precedent should it not? What more in hindsight do they need to prove?