Review Summary: Haven't we heard this all before?12 of 12 thought this review was well written
Slayer, a more than respected act in the world of thrash and metal in general. In the 80's, Slayer were one of the most consistent acts in their genre; releasing classics such as 'Seasons in the Abyss', 'Reign In Blood' and 'Hell Awaits'. While two of those aforementioned albums showcased Slayer's balls to the wall approach, 'Seasons' was different. The band started experimenting with tempo changes and began to move towards a more accessible form of thrash metal. Fast-forward 20 years to Slayer's most recent record: 'World Painted Blood'. Does the album incorporate anything new into the bands fold and manage to be as memorable in the process? The answer is a firm no. While there are a handful of above-average tracks on this LP, I (and many others, surely) can't shake off the idea that Slayer were just going through the motions here.
The album opens with the blistering title track 'World Painted Blood'. While the main riff displayed on this track is something Slayer have done countless times in the past, the memorable chorus chant of "World Painted Blood!" and Lombardo's solid drum performance make this one of the more enjoyable tracks on the LP. The next track 'Unit 731' sets the tone (mostly) for the rest of the album: a bland riff repeated over and over again which begs the listener to skip. I know full and well that Slayer have never been known to experiment all that much from LP to LP, but they have always been able to maintain a certain level of interest in most of their work. On this LP, however, the writing just feels lifeless and throws away all of the fun aspects found in Slayer's release prior to this, 'Christ Illusion'.
Having said all of this, the album is not all doom and gloom. Tracks such as: 'Hate Worldwide', 'Psychopathy Red' and 'Playing With Dolls' all have that classic 'Slayer' feel to them. The tempo maintained throughout the tracks is furious and the riffs demand some form of attention. Slayer even try to incorporate something new into their arsenal through the track 'Americon'. Even though I can credit the band for trying something different, the track as a whole just doesn't work. The track feels like an awkward attempt at accessibility and just ends up being a laughable experimentation; which is unfortunate.
When listened to as a whole, Slayer's most recent effort puts forth a handful of decent tracks when compared to their releases in the mid-to-late 90's. However, when compared to their classics none of the tracks found on this LP can hold a candle to any of those works. What Slayer have released here is an album that, overall, feels rushed and lazy; which is something their last album 'Christ Illusion' didn't fall victim to. It is certainly going to be interesting to see where Slayer go from here...or potentially uninteresting.