Ok, Ignore the negative reviews. This is Slayer's best album in years, I realise that's a cliche but they have really made the effort this time.
Their recent output hasn't been the best, God Hates us all had a few moments, Christ Illusion was pure dirt and it's fair to say my expectations for this were quite low. So it was a pleasant surprise to find myself being blown away by the album; and it hasn't left the CD player since.
The album opens with the title track; very atmospheric introduction complete with military style snare drumming (Lombardos performance throughout the album is phenomenal)before heading into more familiar thrash metal territory, however the difference here is there are a couple of quite effective groove sections before heading into a spoken word mid section, the track then picks up for the finale by revisiting the verses only this time 10 times as intense. A truely epic track at almost 6 minutes.
Unit 731 - Incredibaly fast + agressive track dealing with some scary subject matter. Musically this reminds me of some of the more punkish elements of the Reign in Blood album, the track is short and relentless.
Snuff - Another fast numbner, opening with a string of solos recalling Captor Of Sin, Verse is mid paced, along the lines of Epidemic, before the song opens up with some fantastic riffing for the chorus.
Beauty through order - this is Slayer at their most atmospheric, think Divine Intervention, Dead Skin Mask, Spill the Blood. Great clean singing from Araya and there are numerous shifts in mood and tempo in this one. I hope they make a video for this.
Hate Worldwide - Another Kerry King effort, this one recalls Black Magic and deals with familiar satanic themes. King has come in for criticism over his songwriting abilities over the years but this must rate as one of his best, the lyrics are a little silly but there is no denying the savagry of the track and the vocal delivery!
Public Display of Dismemberment - Another fast one, awesome breakdown at the 1.
50 mark! Enough said.
Human Strain - Mines territory similar to Beauty Through Order, great crunchy chorus and a very eerie mid sectionconsidering the subject matter.
Americon - One of the weakest tracks on the album, it's in similar vein to Cast Down from "God Hates Us All" musically, however it's nowhere near as bad and at less than three minutes it doesn't outstay its welcome.
Psycopathy Red - Everyones's heard this one by now, absolutely ferocious track, strongly recalling Spirit In Black and the Reign In Blood era but without sounding like a rehash.
Playing with Dolls - Another very atmospheric/eerie track, Araya again adopting clean sung vocals, very memorable chourus and deeply distrubing lyrics.
Not Of This God - The albums other filler, they could have finished out the album with Playing With Dolls, there is nothing wrong with this track per say, but it would probably be more at home on Christ Illusion.
Overall a welcome return to form, the production is awesome too. Very natural sounding. If you like Slayer this will blow you away, if not I doubt it's going to change your opinion.