O.K., so maybe Slayer aren’t as good as they once were (purely because they’re not as fast as they once were), but come on people. This C.D. is not bad. “God Hates Us All” is more brutal than their past few releases (probably Slayer’s most brutal album since “Reign in Blood”), and the songs are longer, too.
Now, there is no denying the songs are slower than the Slayer that we knew in the ’80’s; but times change. Slayer can’t keep making the same record again and again, or else they’d be criticized for doing that (just like some fans were dissapointed with “Divine Intervention,” because they thought it was a “Reign in Blood” rehash.) Slayer needed to evolve and tweak their sound a little bit. But this is still Slayer: most of the songs here are still blindingly fast. The riffs just fly by, still as fast, if not faster than any other band, and ten times faster than any nu-metal band. Plus (if you think this album was influenced by nu-metal bands or other music that was popular at the time), I don’t know any Korn or Linkin Park album that has guitar solos!
There’s no denying the vocals have changed, too. Tom Araya’s voice almost never changes throughout this album, and it can be, at times, a bit grating. But what else is he supposed to do? With music this loud, he can’t switch to calm singing or metal crooning. Also, his voice is slower, but is that a bad thing? On this album (opposed to some of Slayer’s previous albums) you can actually tell what he’s saying most of the time. And even if Tom’s voice does get irritating, there’s enough ceiling shaking guitar work to make up for it.
Finally, can a band be fast and loud but not inspired? Yes, “God Hates Us All” is very loud. While playing this C.D., I couldn’t hear anything else in the room until the last song ended; and then I could have sworn there was almost a ringing in my ears. But these songs are also very intense. To anyone who thinks this album is uninspired, I say listen to such tracks as “Disciple” and “Exile.”
“Disciple” has a driving bassline and, at it’s pinnacle, is almost deafening. It’s so fast, the twin guitar assault sometimes sounds like a cacophonous blur.
“New Faith”, “Cast Down” and “Threshold” all start out with one guitarist playing a “chug-chug” riff, which is only audible in one headphone at first. Then, the second guitarist comes on and plays the same riff in the other headphone. “Cast Down” has a a section which has a bobbing beat and staccato vocals and I enjoy how “Threshold” chugs fast, pauses briefly, then chugs some more.
“Exile” begins with two lumbering riffs (one from each guitarist), in the middle has a guitar solo that goes up and down, and ends with crashing “boom-boom” sound. But this song is a personal favorite mostly because of the viscious lyrics. Tom, who is insanely and genuinely mad, yells phrases like: “Take a good look in these eyes, know that I’m the one that’s gonna tear your f*ckin’ heart out!”
“Seven Faces” and “Bloodline” are the only two really slow songs, but even they are faster than most songs in music today.
“War Zone” begins with machine gun/jackhammer riffs and drums.
“Payback” is one of the fastest songs on the record, but it’s quite short.
Even though I like this album a lot, I can understand why old school Slayer fans would hate it (as it is not a good representation of the band). So if you’re new to the band, check out this album first (AND LISTEN WITH AN OPEN MIND), then explore their earlier works. Try to enjoy the Slayer albums seperately, don’t compare them. Also, love this album or hate it, you need to own it if you’re a Slayer completist.