On September 11th, 2001, Afghani terrorists hijacked four commercial airliners full of passengers with the intent of doing some serious damage to the United States. Two planes crashed into the adjacent Twin Towers, another struck the Pentagon. The final plane, heading for the White House, crashed in rural Pennsylvania after a revolt by passengers who appeared determined to thwart the seemingly inevitable. We know now that these terrorists had every intent of asserting their dominance over Infidels.
On that very same day, Slayer released an album entitled 'God Hates Us All', seemingly with every intention of asserting their dominance over Nu-Metal. It was a time when the airwaves were being dominated by bands such as Disturbed and Korn. That, of course, didn't matter. Slayer wouldn't have been played on the radio anyway. This seemed to present a paradox. How would a band rise from the ashes of 1998's 'Diabolus In Musica', put Nu-Metal in its' place, and bring back true metal to the forefront with minimal radio airplay? The answer, GET HEAVIER. And if that fails, it always helps to have a sadistic cult following and a nifty satanic title like 'God Hates Us All'.
From the start of this album, the listener is well aware that this album will certainly not be 'Diabolus In Musica 2', and that is certainly nothing to cry over. After the brief intro track entitled "Darkness Of Christ", in which Tom can vaguely be heard screaming about the title, "Disciple" blasts through the speakers. There are many changes evident to the budding Slayer fan within the first minute of this song. The guitars are tuned down lower, the drum sound is more ferocious, and perhaps best of all, Tom sounds like a rabid homeless man with a pint of Jim Beam. For once, I could actually take Tom one-hundred percent seriously when he threatened to rip my eyes out. It also "boasts" one of Slayers infamous "sh*t solos', though it isn't as dragged out, and thus is more enjoyable.
After the intial shock of these changes it dawned on me that I enjoyed them quite profusely. This opinion was only reinforced with the next track, called "God Send Death". This could very well have been an outtake from the 'South Of Heaven' sessions; with its' eerie, slow intro riff that builds up into a rather fast-paced piece of metal. It appeared as if Slayer had nursed its' wounds from its' previous efforts, and got its' act together again. After glossing through the bible-bashing anthem, "New Faith", I stumbled upon the first track that might signal an eventual downhill slide for the album. "Cast Down" is a boring number, redeemed slightly by its' lyrics, in which Kerry King offers his lucid opinions on America (Lovely timing), drug use, and poverty.
"Threshold" is a nice, moshy tune in which the somewhat-cliched lyrics flow abnormally well with the music, making it a very interesting song. "Exile" is without a doubt the low point of the album. Musically, its' a spiffy thrash song with odd time signatures. Lyrically, it seems as if Kerry was, well, milking a decomposing cow.
'Just tell me ***ing why everything becomes an issue- Your opinion is always senseless. *** this you make my ***ing skin crawl. I've lived with it-can't stand it anymore, my worst nightmare, you make me want to take a bullet in the ***ing head, every time I think of you.'
As if this isn't a good enough example of Mr. Kings' proverbial prowess, the chorus is a tad worse.
'You self-righteous ***- Give me a reason not to rip your ***ing face off why don't you take a good look in these eyes, 'cus I'm the one thats' gonna tear your ***ing heart out. My hate is contagious, you've got no one to run to, Exile.'
After this burst of Flower-Power comes a track called "Seven Faces".
While containing none of the charm of its' predessecor, it does stand on its' own sufficiently, and even compares with the greatness that was achieved with the first four tracks. It would be one of the last. Lately, Slayer hasn't been known for consistency with their albums, and while I had good evidence that this would not be the case with 'God Hates Us All', I was still ever vigilante, and on the lookout for the iceberg that might just take this mammoth vessel down. Frankly, I wouldn't have to look hard.
"Bloodline" is a fairly radio-friendly song, and also marks one of the first times the band employs drop-tunings. Arguably the fan favorite of the album, it boasts some suave lyrics, but unravels somewhat with a nothing-but-wah "solo" from Kerry. I
"Deviance" is a rather bland song, with nothing of much interest taking place in its' 3:08. Lyrically, it's more of the same. Tom sees people all around, they won't go away, he's crazy, etc. It's another slower-paced song, but if put on 'South of Heaven' or 'Seasons In the Abyss' would have stood out like Kate Moss in fat camp.
By contrast, "War Zone" could have been off of 'Reign In Blood', as its' pure speed-metal riffage and vintage Slayer lyrics (Which could be a good or bad thing, depending on who you ask). "Here Comes The Pain" is yet another Kerry King song in a very Kerry King album. While its' nothing worth salivating for, it certainly holds its' own against the rest of the album, while simultaneously making Disturbed look like Enrique Iglesias.
Providing an album with a monumental closer is an art onto itself. Unfortunately, its' an art seldom perfected. After the disappointing second half of the album, I wasn't counting on much. Naturally, I was wrong.
"Payback" is simply magnificent. Clocking in at 3:05, it makes up for most of the dull tracks almost effortlessly.
'God Hates Us All' proved that Slayer has plenty of fight left in them, and it is unknown if they will continue this evolution of sorts onto their next, as yet untitled album. If nothing else, it might just give the bible belt and all who wear it one more reason to bitch. Who could ask for more?
Balls out singing by Tom.
Some tasteful solos.
Some songs have seriously bad lyrics.
Second half of album tends to falter.
Lots of bad solos.