By Ben Apatoff
Why bother reviewing a new album by SLAYER? You'll enjoy it if you liked the last few, and you'll steer clear if you're not a fan already, thereby voiding any effect a number rating could give it. But for those of us who hold Slayer in the highest of high standards–the band that set the benchmark for heavy music, the most dangerous, controversial and consistent band in thrash history, a band that should be able to come up with a better album title than World Painted Blood–it's time to see how this one stacks up against the rest.
If their set lists are any indication, Slayer know their strengths. Thus, the first songs from World Painted Blood released to the public are three of the best. "Psychopathy Red" is an all-out war that could've fit on Reign in Blood and "Hate Worldwide" sounds like it's punching out your speakers individually. The title track and "Beauty Through Order" prove that Slayer sound deadly even outside of their usual jackhammer pace, and every song still carries theat intangible power of Slayer–that force that makes them somehow more intense than every band that's been playing catch-up to "Angel of Death" since the '80s. TOM ARAYA is still a formidable spokesman, making lyrics like "It's all about the motherfucking oil" sound like war cries. The solos are still shrieked out in ideal Slayer fashion, and DAVE LOMBARDO turns in some of his most mayhemic drummer ever. He's so compatible with JEFF HANNEMAN and KERRY KING that it's easy to forget how many mortal bands he'd overwhelm.
World Painted Blood is not, as is being proclaimed by everyone who's forgotten God Hates Us All, Slayer's best album since Seasons in the Abyss. Songs like "Public Display of Dismemberment" and "Snuff" sound like Kerry King ranting for the sake of being Slayer, and mixers/producers Greg Fidelman and Rick Rubin do the same careless job they did on Death Magnetic. But World Painted Blood confirms that Slayer is a once-in-a-lifetime band, and that the prospect of hearing "Psychopathy Red" and "Unit 731" live is going to be too great to miss out on.
Rating: 3.5 Seasons out of 5 Abysses