Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Slayer - God Hates us All

Slayer doesn’t need an intro. Even people that HATE metal know who Slayer is. If you don’t know who Slayer is, they’re the second biggest thrash metal band and one of the single most famous metal bands of all-time. Now that I’ve educated those that have lived out the majority of their pathetic lives underneath the dirt, I can now commence with reviewing one of the best Slayer albums ever released. It’s pretty obvious that Slayer’s lyrics tend to be up-front anti-Christian, but none have been so upfront as to having the album title be as blunt and just brutally simple as God Hates us All. I mean, it’s pretty hard to top that without going over to Satanism, which isn’t really an area that Slayer tends to go very often.

I consider Slayer to be similar to Motorhead. Not musically, but because both bands, throughout their careers, have played the exact same sounding music without making any major alterations to their sound AT ALL. But because that sound is so fucking AWESOME and since it was crafted to make room for a lot of creativity, it’s never gotten old and neither of them have worn out their welcome. You almost never hear people talk about Slayer or Motorhead and say “They’ve been playing the same goddamn stuff for the past 30+ years, they need to progress! They need to experiment a little!” You NEVER hear people saying that because World Painted Blood doesn’t sound any different than Seasons in the Abyss, which sounds a hell of a lot like South of Heaven which sounds very similar to Reign in Blood which is almost a fucking duplicate of Show no Mercy; and so on and so forth. Yes, I know that Slayer started putting less focus on speed starting with the release of South of Heaven, but I think it was a genius idea because it gave them enough elbow room to keep releasing thrashterpiece after thrashterpiece for the next two decades (with the exception of Diabolus in Musica).

When it comes to sound production, everything on this album checks out except for one thing: bass. Those of you that have read my reviews know that I’m a major bass junkie. I’m more understanding with the older albums because good equipment wasn’t as easily accessible as it has been for the past 10-12 years. The reason why I’m cracking down on THIS album is because..well…it’s Slayer! They have the fucking money to make sure that they have the BEST sound possible. Although I’ve come to realize that it’s normal for Slayer to turn up the treble a bit and turn the bass down a bit. It gives their music a lot more attack and gives the guitars much more of an edge. But that doesn’t make it any easier on the ears, man! I’m fine with turning up the treble on the guitars, but I want more bass on both the kick drums and on Tom Araya’s guitar! But obviously, this never acted as an obstruction for the world’s enjoyment on the album (since sound quality isn’t everybody’s #1 concern like it was in the 60s and 70s). All I have to do is turn up the bass on my computer speakers, and then the problem goes away in a fucking flash.

The only thing that I have to say about Tom Araya is that his bass skills continue to get better with each release while his yells, after 30+ years of Slayer, still sound the same. I’m serious, his yells haven’t changed AT ALL since the release of Show no Mercy. The master guitarist Kerry King does nothing but play beautiful brutality with his talent and quickly-acquired skill, as does Jeff Hanneman. Speaking of the guitarists, the guitar work in each of the songs vary JUST enough to eliminate any possible accusations of “repetitiveness” and “monotony” on the record. But honestly, there isn’t any TRUE variations in the guitar work (if you don’t count the godly solos). But remember! Although all of the songs ALMOST all sound the same, the sound that they portray never gets old. Now whenever Slayer is a topic of discussion, 94.2384% of the time it always funnels down to one name: Lombardo.

Dave Lombardo is always the most celebrated member of Slayer as well as one of the single greatest musicians in the entire thrash metal genres. Not only has he been in more than one legendary thrash band, he’s also made it a goal to play as many types of music that he possibly can. What other legendary thrash metal band, you ask? Well, while Slayer wrote and released Divine Intervention, Undisputed Attitude, and Diabolus in Musica, Dave Lombardo was busy with Testament while they were at the absolute TOP of their game, which includes their classic, The Gathering. Aside from that, he’s acquired extensive experience in rock, jazz, reggae, and numerous guest appearances for Apocalyptica, John Zorn, and Voodoocult. But then again, in God Hates us All, Lombardo sounds like a purebred thrash metal drummer that has been doing nothing but thrash metal.

There are no individual songs that I would recommend. Listening to only a few songs off this album is like enjoying the image on a jigsaw puzzle that’s only been partially done. The only option with this (and every other) Slayer record is to have the whole entire thing. It’s absolutely impossible to know the true power of ANY Slayer record without listening to the whole thing. I would give this album a rating of 18/20 and would recommend it to all thrash metal fans. For those of you that haven’t heard Slayer’s music, listen to Reign in Blood first like everyone else.