Slayer

Christ Illusion

Written by: PP on 08/09/2006 12:31:27

Ever come across a review describing a band's guitars as 'slaying' (later versions rip, shred etc)? How exactly would you 'slay' a guitar? Does not compute. The answer lies in the best, most legendary thrash metal band of all time, namely Slayer. Behind Slayer's name are seminal masterpieces like "Reign In Blood", which have influenced every single genre involving guitars more or less. Kerry King, Tom Araya and Jeff Hanneman have together written ten seminal albums, which together have summoned a new meaning to the term 'slay' a guitar, given their phenomenally fast, technical and assaulting guitar work. "Christ Illusion" is the band's first new album since 2001's "God Hates Us All", and their first original lineup reunion with Dave Lombardo returning behind the kit for the first time in 16 years.

Many die-hard Slayer fans consider their 1990 album "Seasons In The Abyss" the last great Slayer album, coinciding with the departure of their drummer Dave Lombardo, while others enjoyed the 2001 album "God Hates Us All" equally well. After all, it still represented the absolute upper end of thrash metal. So does "Christ Illusion" live up to the expectations laid upon it with the return of Lombardo? Yes and no. On one hand it will be impossible to recreate the late 80s masterpieces. All of their current and future work will always be shadowed with the classics that helped shape the metal world into what it is today. But on one hand, with the return of Lombardo's commanding pounding, "Christ Illusion" is the best album the band has released since 1990.

So the guitars are quintessential Slayer. The pace is so fast it's hard to follow and the solos are blazing and technical due to their speed. The only criticism of the swirling greatness of the solos and intense riffs traded between Hanneman and King is their similarity. But then again, Slayer albums have never offered five different points of view, they've always shouted out angrily, also evident in their lyrical department, which has notoriously been considered their weakest side. The themes range from "Hate-Jesus Christ" through "Hate-religion" to "Hate-Jesus Christ" to "Hate-God", and the outrageous lyrics of "Cult" are bound to cause controversy wherever the band turns up to play. Christian groups and the Vatican are likely to try to prevent Slayer from ever playing another show again, but this is what Slayer feeds on. The lyrics of "Skeleton Christ" and "Flesh Storm" drip of evil - a mood you can sense straight from the down-tuned guitars and the assaulting structure of the songs, and shouts of "Hail Satan" are found everywhere in Araya's forceful yelling. It may not be the best Slayer album or anywhere near it, but it's definitely the best thrash album to be released this year.

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For the fans of: Sepultura, Anthrax, Deicide, Pantera
Listen: Myspace

Release date 08.08.2006
Warner Bros / Wea

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