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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Slayer

Christ Illusion

Review by Travis Jensen

There are many musical groups out there where you need to listen to a few tracks before you decide to spend your hard-earned cash on a new CD. Slayer is not one of those bands. As soon as a new album hits the shelf of your local music store, you do whatever you can to make sure that you have the money to cover it. Pantera was also one of those bands for me although I thought Reinventing the Steel was a little too commercial and watered down. It’s nice to see that there are still some bands out there that never forget where they came from. Slayer has remained true to what they believe in and haven’t forgotten the fan base which has inspired them from the very beginning.

Christ Illusion is yet another masterpiece from these guys which some are regarding the best since Seasons In The Abyss. Personally, I don’t like to compare or measure a group by what they have done in the past. I believe that a group like Slayer that has kicked ass for as many years as they have, doesn’t need to prove themselves by trying to outdo themselves from what they have done previously. Every true Slayer fan knows that each new album is going to be opening yet another door in the house of horror of Slayer.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Flesh Storm

This is the one where you definitely know that Dave Lombardo is back in the line-up beating the skins harder than ever. The guitars are faster than ever, which is exactly what I want to hear and would expect no less. The vocals are as evil as they’ve ever been, expressing the inner soul of what makes these guys the kings of what true speed metal is about.
Catalyst

Do you like the F-word? So do I, as it’s one of my favorite words and a big part of my everyday vocabulary…except when I’m writing, of course. I think back to the days when cursing wasn’t allowed or widely used as it is now. The first few Slayer albums didn’t contain any vulgarity. Aside from the four-letter words, the vocals are very tight. There is also a very rhythmic beat to this one. This is the one I would love to thrash to - definitely one to watch for in the mosh-pits.
Eyes of the Insane

This is one for all of us out there who explore the psychotic tendencies that race through our heads from time to time. In reading the lyrics, I see post-dramatic stress disorder from the results of war as the basis for inspiration. The guitar leads also reinforce this, with somewhat of a “surrealistic” sound. The drums are the backbone for this one with a mystical beat that sounds almost primitive.
Jihad

I know that there was some controversy over this one, as it is a story told through the eyes of the enemy of a U.S. soldier. However, I think that this is totally appropriate for a Slayer record, as a middle-eastern soldier is the most brutal killer in the free world since those of the Roman Empire. The dissonant guitar intro gives this track a demented feel to the mood they are trying to create. The last part of the song is done in an eerie spoken word, which is sometimes a Slayer trademark.
Skeleton Christ

This one is not only the true epitome of Slayer, it is also my favorite song on the disc. Not that I’m a Satanist, but it is the same thing that drew me to these guys twenty years ago when I first heard Piece by Piece. The repetitive, “choppy” combination of vocals and guitars make this one something to pound your fist to. The chorus kicks into high gear, which is a neck-breaker when you really get into the song.
Consfearacy

This one kicks ass right from the very beginning just like a shotgun blast. I guess that a song about politics should rightfully contain a boatload of anger and thus need to reflect that in the music and lyrics. Kerry King’s views on political issues is something that we can all relate to, and who better to belt out these views that Tom Araya. King’s guitar riffs are the perfect compliment to the idea and evident aggression of the song.
Black Serenade

I can definitely tell that Tom Araya took part in writing the lyrics to this one, as you can certainly perceive from the subject matter that it comes from a twisted mind. However, we wouldn’t want him any other way, as most of us can relate in one way or another. What stands out most with this one is the style of the lyrics that pound repetitively with the drums. It’s kind of like a Native American chant, before going into battle.
Catatonic

This one reminds me of the earlier days of the group. King and Hanneman’s slithery, evil guitar riffs along with Dave’s double-bass really bring me back to the style of the first three albums. I particularly like the chorus of the song in which Araya puts his vocal abilities to the test.
Cult

This one is very cool because it is what Slayer has been about all of these years. Not that you need to be a Satanist in order to enjoy or relate to the song, it’s just something to bang your head to. In fact, the chorus is the ringer tone on my cell phone.
Supremist

The intro to this is a neck-breaker. This song epitomizes why it is a complete waste of time to feel sorry for weak people. Whether or not you believe in genocide as the solution to the problems regarding the people in this world, this song will make you think twice about the message that is being sent. I can’t help to think that when Satan invented speed-metal this is what he had in mind.
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