Obviously this is quite different from Reign in Blood. It has been a long time for our thrashers. More “mature” lyric writing (“Americon”?), cleaner production, tighter playing, fast and precise solos, which are not all over the place is what struck me the first time I heard this.
I am sorry but, no. I do not like Slayer all that much in this avtar. I did not listen to Christ Illusion and God Hates Us All, and I have hardly listened to anything they did after Seasons in the Abyss not being much of a Slayer fan. I think it would be accurate to say that I am more of a Reign in Blood fan than a Slayer fan. Even more precisely I am a fan of “solos all over the place screeching their guts out without any conventional sense of scale or melody, heavily distorted almost beyond recognition” which is what was going on in Reign in Blood. Here they sound normal. The production is not muffled and does not add to the music (in a dirty black metallish sense) beyond being clean. The dirtiness is all gone. You can hear every note the guitar plays and each drum beat is thumped out in your face. Also, they have gone mid-tempo in some of the songs some of the time and on the whole are a lot slower now (which is not a bad thing per se).
The whole point being, I do not like Slayer being normal. The chord progressions are expected and do not jump out unexpectedly. Obviously I cannot expect them to be doing Reign in Blood all the time, the band does have to progress (why not?..er Motorhead?) but still. It all comes down to a question of choice; if you want thrash metal well done, here is one new album you can listen to. But if you want something new, look somewhere else. It is 2009 and this kind of music has been done to the death. But still in the end it is Slayer and they kick ass!!! There are some very good thrash riff headbangers on here, complete with “mature” themes to back them up, no more Satan!! Extremely well-executed (I would expect nor accept anything less from such wily veterans like King, Hanneman and Lombardo anyways), this is your destination for quality metal well done. Also when they go all slow, those parts are extremely well done, and those parts were actually the best part of the album. Tracks specially recommended are “Human Strain”, “Playing with Dolls”, and “Snuff” (which has my favourite all over the place guitar!!)
There you are. Not something I shall listen to much after some days, but well done for the regular fan and metal head. A nice package. Nothing new, but then what is?
Reign in Blood and yet more murderous SLAYER music reviews HERE
Headbanging METAL reviews HERE.