Released: 2001, American Recording
Slayer….a band that I have for a long time called my favorite band. For the past few albums Slayer have been a somewhat different band and they continue down the road begun in the early 90’s with their new album GOD HATES US ALL. Older Slayer still represents some of the best mix of thrash and speed metal ever written. Newer Slayer is still good, but I would not call it godly.
The biggest change with Slayer in recent albums is in the vocal department. Tom used to be able to sing, now we mostly have semi-distorted yelling. What happened to vocals without the effects on them??!? This is my BIGGEST gripe with Slayer’s recent albums. I really have a hard time getting into the “trash can” vocal style. Give me REIGN IN BLOOD or SOUTH OF HEAVEN vocals any day damn it!!! For me, the last truly GODLY Slayer album was 1990’s SEASONS IN THE ABYSS. Perhaps I may seem to be overly picky to some recent Slayer fans that were not listening to Slayer before 1990. But that’s the way I am when it’s a band that has meant as much to me as Slayer has for so many years. On the flip side, Slayer are not one of those bands who have watered down their aggression or “sold out”. They still sound like Slayer, the feared mallcore influences on the new album are virtually non-existent and they still play ripping solos (for example the solos in “God Send Death” are total traditional Slayer shredding). The song “God Send Death” is perhaps the best on the album even though it doesn’t live up to past glories. “New Faith” is one of the most annoying songs on here despite having some well-crafted lyrics. The vocals are simply nerve grating. Mindless distorted yelling, same tone, same note, over and over….Jesus, you can do so much better then this Tom!!! What happened to the rhythmic lashings of songs like “Piece By Piece”, “Jesus Saves” or “Ghosts of War”??? That’s what I’m missing. “Threshold” is the closest we get to the dreaded mallcore with the repetitive ultra-simple riff. Slayer still do it better then any of the others but the point is why in the hell would Slayer accept ANY influence from no talent un-metal bands like Shitsnot when they COULD look to REAL newer thrash bands like The Haunted and The Crown…or even to their peers, Kreator who know what it means to return to roots and play thrash metal!!! “Exile” or the yelling piece of noise where Tom tries to say the word “fuck” more times in the song then he has said in his entire career….utterly pointless. The best part of the song is the solo…at least they haven’t lost that touch! “Bloodline” is vocally one of the better tracks on here. The “trash can” style of vocals are absent and there is a small bit of melody and coherent structure to the vocals. Paul Bostaph’s playing continues to improve and provide a highlight in Slayer in terms of musicianship. I love his drumming on “War Zone” – cool fills and beats that even Dave Lombardo would have trouble to match. The drumming on this song is what actually makes “War Zone” a good song because the vocals are again substandard for Slayer. “Here Comes The Pain” is another of the album’s strong points with cool riffs and vocals that sound more like what Tom is, and should still be, all about. The GODLY song “Payback” begins with a faster thrashing riff and tempo that there is not enough of on the album! It’s on these faster tracks that the vocals become more rhythmic and fit to the song much better. “Payback” is a killer closing song for the album and has more then a few memorable lines that will stick in your head. Lyrically Slayer can be as biting as ever.
GOD HATES US ALL is a slight improvement from 1998’s DIABOLUS IN MUSICA. Having to wait THREE YEARS between albums for this though is inexcusable. Slayer has always been a self-admittedly “lazy” band when it comes to writing and recording. It seems as if this laziness has continued to creep into their song writing ability and in their understanding of what long time fans are looking for. Even though it seems that “God Hates Us All”, Satan is absent from the album…or his presence is veiled. :-)
Kick ass Fan site: http://www.slayerized.com