Fucking = dozens
Putrid = 2
Hails for Satan = 4
Controversial lyrics = 10 tracks out of 10
Controversial artwork = 1
References to false religion = 42
Slayer's new album = priceless!
Yep - Slayer are back in their usual bombastic style. Christ Illusion hit the shops on 21st August, after being available for download for 2 weeks and on their myspace site for the same length of time. And after living with it pushing out of tinny PC speakers, finally it hit the doom decks for full on aural assault.
Slayer are, of course, the thrash band that have never evolved, never compromised and never been afraid to dis everyone else - or at least Mr King has been doing that in recent interviews. But like Sadolin, Slayer do what it says on the tin, uncompromising music, technically superlative solos and and lyrics to scare all God's children.
For Chist Illusion Slayer had a lot to live up to. God Hates Them All set a benchmark for the band - with an invective that had been lacking for some time. The hype over Christ Illusion was that the CD would land on decks with the same impact of Seasons of the Abyss, or dare it be said, Reign in Blood. Alas that is not to be. But, Christ Illusion stands on it's own merits.
Sure, there are always those that look back on classic albums (Master of Puppets, Peace Sells, Among the Living, Reign in Blood) and wish their band hadn't grown up, but bands do. Christ Illusion, for all it's infantile lyrics, shows a band comfortable in their controversy, sure of their style and hammering out vibes that are a definitive collection of extreme heavy metal.
CD opener Flesh Storm is Slayer by numbers - the band easing fans into the CD on familiar territory, only spoiled by Araya having to force his invective over polysllabic words ill-suited to the velocity and riffing.
But by the time Catalyst kicks off, it is clear that Christ Illusion's real bonus is Lombardo's drumming. He is technically the best in the business, but has a looseness of style that hints Slayer's music may be on the verge of tipping into chaotic parody; while laying down blast beats and fills that serve to punctuate the vehemence of the tunes like angry bastard children of the apocolypse.
None more so than on Black Serenade and Cult.
And, unlike some previous Slayer outings, the solos from King and Hanneman do not seem divorced from the songs. Technically Kerry and Jeff have always been a cut above the average shredder, but tended to go for widdly bits that were about showing off rather than being integral to the tunes. On Christ Illusion the axe duo of doom have managed to construct intricate patterns of guitar hate that matches the intensity of the songs.
But where the dynamic duo really score is on the riffing. Jihad's time signatures, Catalyst's grinding and Supremist straight forward assualt all show the pairing laying down riffs heavy enough to make 1,000 Scandanavian Death and Black Metal bands weep that they are no match for the masters.
The return of Lombardo, the anger of King - these are matched with an Araya and a Hanneman that seem to once more be eager to rip new arseholes for a new breed of the Slaytonic Whermacht while making us older fans smile, toss the zimmer away and get ready to mosh like a bastard.
At times it almost tips over into an anarchic tribute to the feedbacked whail of Jesus and the Mary Chain, or avant garde noise nonsense; but Christ Illusion manages to stay focussed, stay evil and stay Slayer. It's not the best CD of 2006, but it's damn close.