Slayer
World Painted Blood

Slayer bashing. What’s up with that these days? If they’re not being hailed as the best metal band ever, it seems they’re everybody’s favorite whipping post. I myself don’t get it. Sure, their output over the past 15 years hasn’t always been of the greatest quality, but they’ve always undoubtedly been Slayer. Through cries of “sellout” and “nu metal rip offs” on Diablos In Musica (obviously the weak link in their storied back catalog, but not completely terrible) and God Hates Us All (a criminally underrated album) to “lackluster” and “phoned in” for their last, Christ Illusion (decent, but not the return to form others claimed it to be), they’ve always maintained their core sound, even if they did experiment a little. Already I’m hearing similar accusations in regards to their newest opus, World Painted Blood, and once again, I just don’t get it. After listening to it nearly 20 times, I can say without a doubt that this is easily their strongest material since 1994’s Divine Intervention.

For starters, Tom Araya sounds better and clearly more pissed than he has in years. His performances on “Snuff”, “Hate Worldwide”, “Psychopathy Red”, and “Not of This God” are downright menacing and outstanding. Some of his vocal patterns (“Snuff”, “Hate Worldwide”, “Public Display of Dismemberment”) are memorable enough to bore into your skull after just a couple spins. Musically, there is a return of ample blitzkrieg speed and intensity – “Unit 731”, “Snuff”, “Public Display of Dismemberment” (check out the absolute drum clinic Lombardo puts on here, blasts and all) and “Psychopathy Red” are stormers that might be the most brutally fast tracks they’ve penned since at least Seasons In the Abyss or maybe even before – and they’re not just fast, they’re altogether great Slayer songs that can easily stand up to the classics.

Though it’s not all raging speed – World Painted Blood is still a well balanced Slayer album. “Beauty Through Order” is a classic “haunting” Slayer track, akin to “Spill the Blood” or “Seasons In the Abyss”, with the eerie and slow buildup in the early parts, gradually working up to a blistering crescendo by tracks end. The title track and “Human Strain” are heavy handed, mid tempo stompers that are much more reminiscent of their more recent works, but work much better than here than in previous attempts.

The album is not without faults though. “Playing With Dolls” is probably the most hideous song I’ve ever heard on any Slayer album, period. The “plink plink plink plink” riff of the verses that attempts to be haunting or eerie just comes out annoying, destroying any listenability the chorus or later parts the song has to offer. “Americon” also comes up a bit short – another mid tempo type track that is short on ass kicking and long on plodding and going nowhere – ultimately, it’s just boring in comparison to the rest of the material here.

Many people will go into listening to this album with their mind made up already on whether they’re going to hate it or love it. For everyone else that may have given up on the band long ago, I’d suggest giving it a fair shot with a clear head – you might just be pleasantly surprised – I know I was.

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Written by Larry "Staylow" Owens
November 10th, 2009

Comments

  1. Commented by: Blackwater Park

    WPB sucks. Slayer was the best band in the world from 1982 to 1990… but on record they have sucked shit for nearly 20 fucking years now, and WPB doesn’t change that. I’ll stick to seeing Slayer live and screaming “play some old shit” every chance I get. :)


  2. Commented by: gabaghoul

    good review – I agree it’s their best since Divine as well. however a week has gone by and I no longer have a burning need to listen to it – these songs just don’t have any staying power.

    maybe it’s because they don’t have any riffs or groove. the speed is definitely there, Araya’s performance is great, I even like the production but man, these guys need to listen to some young guys and remember how to write cool thrash riffs again. the new Blood Tsunami, for example – that’s a riff-monster.

    oh well happy to have a decent Slayer album again.


  3. Commented by: Schuldinic

    Accurate writeup Staylow, you pretty much nailed my sentiments on the album.


  4. Commented by: Cynicgods

    It’s good to hear the amazing Dave Lombardo unleashed in the fast ones. I’m glad Araya stopped his “rapping” experiments while showing his true talent (Psychopathy Red WOW). The problem with this album seems to stem from King and Hanneman. Both are completely spent creatively.
    I agree with what Gaba said. It’s a solid, riffless/groove-less effort. Much better than anything they put out after Divine but it doesn’t compare to their classic material. Oh well…


  5. Commented by: RevelationNo9

    I think it’s great but I don’t think Americon or Playing With Dolls are really all that bad. The least of the songs, sure, but I don’t hate them.


  6. Commented by: elguerosinfe

    All the Slayer-bashing is totally merited and this album does nothing to redeem them. Like many of their peers they just totally lost the ability to write good songs.


  7. Commented by: ceno

    I only heard it twice and liked it a bit but I don’t feel un urge to say the Slayer are back again thing, not do I feel like getting back to this let’s just say simply decent album some time again soon. There are too many way better albums in the stock practically on a weekly basis to fix my attention on. Anyway, good review, Larry.


  8. Commented by: vugelnox

    I’ll agree with the majority of opinions here. This isn’t terrible but it is almost painfully unmemorable and like ceno says, there are simply too many other great bands out there today to still keep making excuses on Slayers behalf.


  9. Commented by: Reignman35

    I LOVE this album. I tried not to like it to be cool like everyone else, but these damn songs kept growing on me like a cancer. I can’t stop singing this stuff in my head and can’t pull the cd out of my player… I would take this over Converge’s new pile of shit any day.


  10. Commented by: gabaghoul

    ok Reignman you’ve now posted on enough reviews that we expect to see you in the forums :)


  11. Commented by: Reignman35

    Word… I need to check them out… Be happy to spread my vast knowledge wherever it is appreciated… :)


  12. Commented by: Blackwater Park

    WORLD PAINTED DUD!!! NO ORIGINALITY!!! WORLD PAINTED DUD!!! NOT NECESSARY!!!


  13. Commented by: appollyonx

    Its funny that the thrash bands of the 80’s are all putting out their strongest albums since the 90’s.Metallica,Megadeth and now Slayer.You got it right that this is their best material since Divine Intervention.I’ve listened to it quite a few times and while there are a few tracks(pretty much the ones you mentioned)it is still their most impressive release in years.I love the blast in Public Display…hands down their best in years.Good review.


  14. Commented by: Count Grudgeula

    A decent attempt at returning to their roots, but Slayer has been Kreator’s whipping boy for decades now, and this album doesn’t come close to changing that. Hordes Of Chaos puts World Painted Blood to shame.


  15. Commented by: Old Pick Axe

    God Hates Us ALL IS criminally underrated. Nice to finally meet someone else who thinks so! *grin*


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