6 May 2013

Slayer - God Hates Us All

It seems weird writing this with one of the members just passing.  Slayer is a trash metal band who originally hails from Huntington Park, California, USA.  One of the 'Big Four' in trash metal, they are credited with creating the genre defining albums 'South Of Heaven' "Reign In Blood" & "Seasons In The Abyss". Last week at the time of writing, Jeff Hanneman (one of the band's guitarist) passed away at the age of 49.  Whilst the first review of a Slayer album on here was not exactly a positive one, I didn't want this to be dominated by Jeff's passing.  Whilst I want to pay tribute, I also wanted to pick an album that is not one of the big releases - I wanted to discuss this album as it was actually the first Slayer album I purchased. Not as I had not owned or heard the other albums, it was just the first I went out of my way to get on original. It was in 2001 and when it was released it was hailed as a return to form (as every album is until someone decides it is not).  So was it the return to the alleged form of their earlier work or was it another case of the emperor’s new clothes.

First things first, this album has to be viewed in the light that it was not written by the same kids that wrote their earlier work.  It is the same men, but with more experience and different goals, so expecting them to give that same sort of crazy insane performance of 'Reign In Blood' is just silly and it is one of the things that makes me annoyed at most Slayer fans when they say "It is not as good as Reign In Blood" to any of the later releases.  What this album is to their earlier works is a different piece of work.  It is what the band wanted to do at that point. Only once have I been disappointed with a Slayer release and it was not on this record.  Is it better than 'Reign Of Blood'. Personally for me it is on the same level, it is a brilliant piece of modern trash metal from original guys.  With this album being the last one to feature the drum work of Paul Bostaph, it was almost an end of an era for them too.  I personally feel this was Bostaph's best performance with the band and it was a brilliant album for him to leave on (the reason he left was due to a chronic elbow injury which hindered his ability to drum the way Slayer need them played - i.e. at insane speed of fast).

As with most of Slayer's albums the majority of the lyrics are written by Kerry King, with Jeff Hanneman and bass player/vocalist Tom Araya contributing mostly with the music.  Stand out tracks for me are "Bloodlines" (which was also used on the soundtrack to the film Dracula 2000), "Discipline" "Exile" & "New Faith".  The overall composition of this album is the most solid Slayer album after their initial period and even betters’ some of their earlier work.  Well it does for me at least, the band sounds like it is more composed, more vicious, more ready for the fight and not just trying to be the fastest band ever.  They already have that record and did not need to make it again, they needed to make something that could easily sit beside what they had done before hand; which it did with flying colours (mostly red) and it is for this reason that it is my favourite Slayer release.  You can keep your early works, I liked this record and have played it loud in tribute to one of the best guitarist I had the pleasure to see live at a show.  Rest in peace Jeff, may you reside in the hall of your fathers. 

8.5 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart

You can purchase from here

You can visit the band's website here

You can listen to the album on Spotify here

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