In some ways, it's the same old Slayer. The subject matter certainly will sound familiar. Damnation of organized religion – check ("Hate Worldwide").
Depictions of torture – check ("Snuff"). Political rants - check ("Americon"). But what a band. On its recent releases,
Slayer has been stepping on the gas pedal and not letting up. "World Painted Blood" (Columbia), its 10th studio album since 1983,
emphasizes dynamics as much as speed, the guitars taking textured bends that provide a little breathing room while
Dave Lombardo's drum fills inject bursts of color. That sense of space is crucial to allowing a few melodies to poke through the surface,
and bassist Tom Araya even tries to sing instead of just barking along with the relentless tempos.
Since it emerged in the '80s as thrash-metal progenitors alongside Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax, Slayer has remained unrelentingly true to its origins.
The innovations no longer arrive with each album, but the quartet is playing at a high level, and Greg Fidelman’s production captures that sound with thrilling, their-fist-your-face immediacy.