The Dutch Connection: Slayer's "God" sucks

by Alun Thomas

I've often thought Slayer wasted the best years of their career from 1991 to 93 when Dave Lombardo quit the band. They needed to prove in those three years they were still the kings of thrash. Instead they sat and watched ice hockey before finally recording the follow up to 1990's ''Seasons In The Abyss'' with 94's ''Divine Intervention.'' But in what has become a Slayer trait, it took them a further four years to record ''Diabolus In Musica'' (I'm not counting ''Undisputed Attitude'') and another three for the new ''God Hates Us All'' opus.

Once upon a time a new Slayer release was cause for cold sweat, at the anticipation of a thrash onslaught. But with each new album that anticipation has turned into open ridicule, usually reserved for Megadeth or Anthrax. ''God Hates Us All'' is the same album Slayer has been recording since they formed in 1981, only worse. When you're nearing your forties and still writing about the same things, serial killers, madness, corrupt Christians, warŠ yawnŠ you start wondering what is wrong with these men.

My brother sent me an e-mail before I had a chance to listen to ''God'' and he said the same thing. In fact I hardly need to review this, he can: ''On 'God Hates Us All' Slayer are an embarrassment to the human race. That 40-year-old men could come up with such cesspool ridden filth is beyond comprehension. [Kerry] King and his buddies have made not so much a thrash album as undisputed bullshit Pt 2. These bums sit on their fat asses for four years and then go into the studio for one month and record songs that sound like it took them half a day to come up with. Slayer are a pathetic bunch of individuals that deal in fake hate. If they are that angry at the world at their age -- in nine years Tom Araya (bass) will be 50 -- then perhaps it's time they checked into an institution for the insane. I can understand fucking around with such disgusting themes during your early 20s; it's something of a piss-take when you're that young. But to still be writing such doggerel as you enter middle age is, quite frankly, disturbing. This is the worst Slayer album I've heard and I don't think I'll be rushing out to buy another one ever again. Pure shit, shocking shit.''

Before reading this I had caught a few 30 second excerpts from ''God'' and was undecided on it. So after finding a website that was playing the whole thing for nothing, I thought I had better remain unbiased. But my brother and I nearly always have the same opinion on music so I knew deep down he was right. Thirteen songs later it was confirmedŠ after this God would hate Slayer more than anyone.

Slayer used to stand for everything that was evil about metal. They were the underbelly, the dark side. Their ''Live Intrusion'' video is the funniest in metal history. And when I first heard them eight years ago I fell for their cornball antics. When you're 17 and hear ''Divine Intervention'' for the first time it's easy to be influenced. But now at the age of 25, the same sounds fall on deaf ears.

Slayer are finally suffering from age. The kids are listening to bands like Emperor and Nile which are more extreme than Slayer. They were the hardest thrash band in the world in 1986, but after ''Reign In Blood'' had nowhere to go. And now with ''God'' they are in need of an overhaul.

Hearing songs like ''Deviance'' is painful. Not just the music, also the song title itself. It's so worn it hurts. And in sectors of the metal community many are expressing the same concerns. Most agree Slayer are out of touch with the scene, whatever that is. They hardly thrash these days. ''Exile'' and ''Payback'' are a few exceptions off ''God.'' The majority of the tracks are mid paced, with the same monotonous Hanneman-King riffs. The production is similar to the last two albums, slightly murky, with little to distinguish it from ''Divine'' or ''Diabolus.'' None of the songs stand out, all going through the motions, ''Disciple,'' ''Cast Down,'' ''Threshold'' are three such shockers.

Slayer's own shock value is dead also. I can't think where Slayer go from here. If it takes them another three or four years to record an album then they might as well give it up.

Age was always going to be a concern when you play this kind of music. Slayer playing ''Angel Of Death'' at age 50 is now a real possibility. They need to change their subject matter but it seems unlikely they will. Their hatred for God must be so intense they have devoted their lives to it. Or maybe they write such drivel is because that's what is expected of them. Even if they wanted to explore other concepts they will always be restricted to mass killings and necrophilia. They think that's what the kids want. After eight albums (in 20 years!) it's having the reverse effect. A lot of fans are tired of it. I can't endorse ''God Hates Us All''whatsoever. If you don't hear it you're not missing anything -- just like the recent Priest and Megadeth flops. Why? Like these other two bands Slayer were better onceŠ once. It's about time there was a backlash to stale farts like Slayer. One day if they take a look around they might realize interest is fading. I think the eventual sales of ''God'' might open their eyes. Or maybe close them for good.

Uploaded to The Zephyr Online October 31, 2001

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