Slayer – World Painted Blood (2009) Review
This is pretty much exactly what you think. 10 or so songs clocking in around 40 minutes (11 tracks, 39 minutes and change this go around), some slower paced tracks, one or two creepy psychotic murderer tracks and a couple short but sweet barn burners played at 900 miles an hour (that’s 1,448 kph to our metric friends) and lots of, uh, spirited and chaotic solos that make GIT grads cringe.
Slayer is back with balls of steel.
Sure, Tom’s voice sounds a little more time-ravaged on occasion, his bass is only slightly more audible than Jason Newsted’s on …And Justice For All after Lars raped it, and Kerry still writes the occasionally self-indulgent lyrics (“my scars – insane/my life – profane”), but the truth is they have been around the block many, many times – hell, they’re older than most of your parents are – and they still thrash. Hard.
World Painted Blood is the best they’ve done, top to bottom, since, and perhaps including, Divine Intervention.
“Beauty Through Order” and “Playing With Dolls” are both the slower, longer, mid-paced tracks that build up over time, similar to older tracks like “Mandatory Suicide.”
“Unit 731”, “Psychopathy Red”, “Hate Worldwide” and the wonderfully named “Public Display of Dismemberment” blaze along rapidly like “Sex. Murder. Art.”, “Silent Scream”, “Hallowed Point”, or pretty much any of tracks 2-8 off Reign In Blood… and are Slayer at close to their ripping best.
And Dave Lombardo is still a beast. A fucking unstoppable beast.
Truthfully, this album, at least to me, is stronger top to bottom than 2006’s Christ Illusion – only “Americon” seems like filler, and even classic Slayer albums have had their share of filler tracks, most notably Season In The Abyss … to borrow from Mugatu in Derek Zoolander, “Blood Red? Expendable Youth? They’re the same song! Doesn’t anybody notice this? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!”
The single biggest issue I have with it is the production. The same bearded guy who was involved with Metallica‘s Death Magnetic was involved with this one… and as with the most recent effort of their fellow Big Four compatriots, it is probably the most glaring flaw here as well. It’s not as bad as the “turn everything up to 11, if it sounds like shit no one will notice because they’ll be deaf” job done to DM, but WPB still is really thin sounding, particularly on low-E chugging riffs and Dave Lombardo’s drumwork. As much as I dig what’s going on behind the kit, the impact is just not there like it was in, say, “War Ensemble.” Dear next thrash band to have he who shall remain nameless involved in the process… if he pokes his head in your studio during the recording process, please tazer his ass, wrap him in duct tape, deposit him in a storage locker with some crazed fan to baby sit him until the album is recorded, printed, shipped, and in stores. I don’t even know if he really had a direct impact in either recording, but it is tough to believe it’s more than coincidence and he makes a decent scapegoat.