I’m sure if you have been following the path of Heavy Metal for any length of time you understand that SLAYER is a love them or hate them band. Hell, even their catalog tends to breed a conjunction of controversy of whether or not SLAYER’s music remains on the legitimate scale. Being a fan of SLAYER for quite some time now, I understand the gripes many fans have about the ‘modern’ SLAYER. “Diabolus In Musica” is rather too modern and Groove inspired for most fans and the band had been on a downhill slope during the 90s after the monumental “Seasons In The Abyss”.
All of this leads to my misunderstanding of why everyone tends to hate on “God Hates Us All”. Yes, it does continue on the Groovy more modern sound of their album prior but many claimed it to be ‘too Nu-Metal’, which I will say right now is a load of shit. Modern yes but those comparisons are borderline paranoid against a disliked movement and I assure you out there that although “God Hates Us All” is not your 1986 SLAYER, it is still far from Nu-Metal.
Now that I have stated my position concerning that, let’s get down to the actual analysis itself, which will be both a pleasant and painful experience. There are great things about this album and there are very sad things about it too. After the disappointing release of “Diabolus In Musica”, SLAYER needed to release something to blow them back into the position as one of the greatest Thrash acts in history. “God Hates Us All” has its moments; it is far from blowing them back to the top.
Some are going to appreciate that SLAYER is once again adding those Thrashier songs into the mix. The opener “Disciple” is about as angry and Thrashy as modern SLAYER gets, and it is a wonderful way to open the album. After that though, there tends to be far too many filler songs in-between the stand out tracks. Songs like “Seven Faces” and “Here Comes The Pain” are far too much like the material on “Diabolus In Musica” for my tastes, but they are counterbalanced with some of the best material SLAYER has written in years (like the closer “Payback” that feels damn old school to me). “God Hates Us All” is a mixed bag of material that is going to have you wanting to listen to the album more but hating you have to skip so many tracks.
Performance wise, SLAYER will always be SLAYER. Tom Araya does his thing with vocals and bass, with some odd moments coming from synthesized vocal work that may not suite the band as well as they hoped. Again King and Hanneman rule the field with their great chemistry of riffing and their patented soloing techniques while Paul Bostaph gives a solid yet somewhat uninspired performance behind the kit. Nothing we haven’t heard before at this point in their career, as the band keeps a decent amount of Groove in the mix but this time decides to balance it out with some Thrashier moments that work nicely.
As a fan, I could easily have cut 4 or 5 songs from this album to streamline the filler out of the mix to make this a better and more potent album. “God Hates Us All” is far from being SLAYER’s worst (or bad for that matter) but songs like “Disciple” and the controversial “Bloodline” keep it from drowning in mediocrity. There is definitely good in this album but it takes an open mind and a little faith in the mighty SLAYER to get it.
Songs to check out: “Disciple”, “Bloodline”, “Payback”.
(Online May 19, 2009)