Transmission 1.25.2010 – SLAYER – World Painted Blood Album Review
Slayer is, without a doubt, one of the most important metal bands in the history of music. For me, it breaks down to three bands: Slayer, Black Sabbath and Black Flag. They are the “Holy Trinity” of heavy bands. Bands like Melvins, Neurosis, High on Fire etc couldn’t exist without the influence of these bands. Even within the context of the “Big Four” (Slayer, Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth), Slayer edged out as being a little more extreme, a little scarier than the others. Slayer were the band that you weren’t sure about; you didn’t know where they were coming from. Were they really into Satan or was it all just for the sake of “art”? Metallica, Anthrax and Megadeth always seemed like reasonable dudes but Slayer were channeling something else it seemed.
Despite a career that is closing in on 30 years, Slayer has somehow managed to remain relevant. I’ve had many late-night discussions about Slayer and Metallica and how, back in the day, I thought that Metallica would be the band that people would remember, however, in 2010, the number of bad Metallica records far outweighs the number of good Metallica records. In my opinion, Slayer has only made one disappointing record, 1998’s Diabolus in Musica, though that record isn’t really THAT bad. I saw them on that tour and they still ripped it apart, though, if I remember correctly, everyone was waiting for the moment when they played Raining Blood and South of Heaven.
That brings us up to their latest offering, 2009’s World Painted Blood; 11 well-constructed exercises in expert slayer-isms. The only weak link on the album is Playing With dolls, the possible attempt at some sort of commercial cross-over though, at this point in their career, does Slayer really need to cross-over to anyone? I just don’t buy it; I’d rather hear Hanneman and King rip brutal thrash riffs, which is exactly what they do on the rest of the record. Aside from the one minor disappointment, the record destroys.
All of the classic Slayer standards are in place: fast tremolo picking, double bass, guitar solos that barely make sense, Araya’s lacerating vocal delivery and dry, in-your-face production that harkens back to Reign in Blood, and yes, the bass is for all intents and purposes, completely absent from the mix. The high points of the record are Unit 731, Snuff, Hate World Wide and Psychopathy Red. All songs are catchy, well-written and make you want to destroy everything in the room. Listen to this on 11 and I guarantee you nothing will be left intact when the record is over.
I purchased the deluxe version that comes with a DVD. I was expecting some kind of cool behind-the-scenes footage of the band working in the record, but instead, I got a forgettable short film based on the World Painted Blood lyrics. It wasn’t my cup of tea so be advised, if you’re faced with the choice of the standard version or the deluxe version, go with the standard version and save some of your hard earned money.