Monday, 9 February 2015

Slayer "God Hates Us All" (2001)


The beast that is Slayer has been blowing us away since the 80s with their devilish aggression and pummeling brutality, an undeniable force of sound that has shaped the generations of metal to come. Slayer are gods, their legacy is pioneering and there character, the soul of their music is pure enthralling chaos. Songs like "Angel Of Death" and "South Of Heaven" never fail to get the goosebumps and adrenaline flowing. They are anthems of darkness, the celebration of the evil in ourselves. Slayer paint the ugly truth in our reflection for all to see and question. To listen to Slayer is to clench your jaw and fists, bang your head until your neck hurts as the music bleeds out all your hate and aggression. In the 80s the group released a string of iconic records that stood aside from anything else at the time, and even now no one has been able to step up their sound. "God Hates Us All" was the Slayer record of my generation and one that received a mixed reception. The record got a lot of hate for incorporating ideas from the Nu Metal scene and stirred huge controversy when it was released on September 11th 2001, 10 year after the controversy with "Seasons In Abyss" being filmed in Egypt before the Gulf War.

 "God Hates Us All" is a record that deserves more credit than it gets, after the general disappointment of "Diabolus in Musica" Slayer come back with a record so violent, angry and spiteful its a dose of everything a fan could want. Departing from there traditional songwriting style Slayer reinvent them-selfs with a deafening guitar tone that bludgeons and pummels the listener with tight grooving palm mutes, slamming dropped guitar riffs and throttling thrashing riffs entwined with those haunting melodies and demonic, chaotic solos the band definitively call their own. Somehow holding the relentless pace together is Paul Bostaph's sticks and kicks crashing through the fold with booming bass kicks, a sharp, clinical snare and thunderous tom rolls. Araya's vocals are as on point as ever, possibly the greatest Metal vocalist ever, his forceful shouts are decipherable in a rage of anger and hate. They capture all the scream has to offer, but somehow he finds a stunning balance to get the words across to those less a custom with shouts and screams.

The title alone sets a vivid tone for this record. If you were to take the old testament God literally, it would be a fitting statement. Slayer see religion as a problem, and make God their enemy in a record that asks many questions of hypocritical practices in society carried out by church and government. It address those who are alienated by biblical beliefs and mocks religion and money for its apparent incompetence to solve the worlds problems. At times its clever, but mostly its not here to change your opinion, this is release of frustration and hatred best displayed on "Exile", a song that rips through curses and intense violent imagery aimed at anyone in Araya's way. His audible delivery makes for an engaging listen that will have you screaming along in anger.

Slayer do a lot right on this record. Musically they nail the influences from the trending Nu Metal scene, the guitar tone is massive, the bombastic chord riffs are executed to perfection, and at no point do they compromise their identifiable sound. From start to end "God Hates Us All" rips through track after track of aggressive hate fueled fire that burns bright. My only quarrel with this record is a lack of stand out melodic leads and unique riffs, almost everything here is working around chord driven ideas and thats fine, but Slayers best moments come from the songs that extend their theme through unforgeable leads and crazy unpredictable riffs, ie "Raining Blood". As the record draws on its hard to remember which moments stood out the most, the constant whirlwind aggression pummels on without break for a anthemic lead or riff it so dearly needed. Bloodline comes close with its breakout sing along chorus, but it doesn't come close to the classics.

Favorite Songs: Disciple, New Faith, Cast Down, Exile, Bloodline, Deviance, Here Comes The Pain, 
Rating: 8/10

1 comment:

  1. I've always found this album to be one of Slayer's greatest works. The past albums are great and all, but they don't seem to get me as angry as this one. King wrote a majority of the lyrics, which he based on "street" subjects which everyone could relate to, rather than "Satan this," "Satan that," and "the usual Dungeons & Dragons shit" from the band's previous records. Threshold is about reaching the breaking point of anger towards some nonspecific person. Cast Down is about falling into the hell of drugs. God Send Death and Deviance are about killing people for pleasure. King stated, "I definitely wanted to put more realism in it, more depth. God Hates Us All isn't an anti-Christian line as much as it's an idea I think a lot of people can relate to on a daily basis. One day you're living your life, and then you're hit by a car or your dog dies, so you feel like, "God really hates me today."

    The lack of melodic riffs is more then rightly justified by the ever present more intense riffs that get your blood pumping. Don't get me wrong, I love the style of Slayer in Angel of Death, but this album was a refreshing change.

    I absolutely love this album and is my favorite one by Slayer to date. A ten out of ten from me.

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