Review: Slayer, "World Painted Blood"
“World Painted Blood”
Released November 3rd, 2009
Love or hate them for it, Slayer has always been a band to write music within their “comfort zone”; rarely has the Los Angeles foursome crafted a record strikingly different from, well, their previous one. Unlike other thrash bands to venture into unexplored musical territory (see Metallica’sLoad or Megadeth’s Risk), Slayer has consistently done what fans have always praised them for – write fast, aggressive, fist-pumping thrash metal. While their 20 plus years of studio releases have had varying degrees of bad-assery, never have we heard a Slayer ballad, an acoustic Slayer song or a Slayer/Public Enemy collaboration. And I think that’s something the metal community can be thankful for.
That being said, it should come as no surprise that Slayer’s new, World Painted Blood is comparable to their earlier releases. What stands out about the record is how seamlessly it has incorporated some of the best aspects of their song writing; think of it as Reign In Blood, Seasons In The Abyss and God Hates Us All wrapped into a single album. For those who are less fond of the “new” post- Seasons Slayer sound, this might be the record to change your mind, having more of an old school sound than bothChrist Illusion and GHUA. Tom Araya said of the album, “…you’re going to get ‘Slayer’…a lot of heaviness…a lot of fast riffs…you won’t be disappointed.” If this description strikes anyone as vague and redundant, well, it is – but Tom was spot on. WPB is 100 percent, pure Slayer. With a lot of heaviness and a lot of fast riffs, doubtfully will any Slayer fan be disappointed.
The first thing that will stick out to listeners about this record is the title track. “World Painted Blood” kicks the album off at a furious pace, with merciless riffing and grooves overtly reminiscent of “Angel of Death”. “Unit 731″ is a fast, straightforward jam written in classic Slayer fashion. “Hate Worldwide” is another song certain to catch fans’ attention. Lyrically, WPB is by Araya’s admission, more apocalyptic than usual. The title track is written about the end of the world, specifically, and King’s “Public Display of Dismemberment” deals with implementing martial law in response to a worldwide emergency. But aside from that, Araya notes, “…it’s the usual topics of death, murder and serial killers.”
Like most records, of course, WPB is not without its less-than-amazing tracks. “Americon”, the band’s attempted diatribe at the American government, leaves you wishing they would just keep writing about Satan and leave the pseudo-political ramblings to Dave Mustaine. “Playing With Dolls” is a song as lame as its title would have you believe, sounding much like GHUA’s equally underwhelming “Seven Faces”. Still, these minor flaws do little to detract from the overall quality of the album, being far overshadowed by the rest of the material.
Overall, World Painted Blood is a solid record that Slayer fans will dig, even if it isn’t particularly groundbreaking material. Those who have never been into the band should probably just pass on this one, however, as there is doubtfully anything here that will impress the uninitiated. While Slayer has stated that there may be one or two albums left in their career, some might wonder how long they can keep rehashing the sound they originated over 20 years ago. World Painted Blood should, for the time being, remove doubt from most people’s minds.