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God Hates Us All

American Recordings (2001)
Rating: 4.5/10

Slayer moved into the new millennium equipped with too many nu-metal notions, armed to the teeth with child-like obscenity, and unknowingly provided a soundtrack to the terrible Manhattan terrorist attacks.

God Hates Us All is a rampant 13-track opus that was originally going to be called Soundtrack To The Apocalypse, which, like many of guitarist Kerry King’s song titles, sounds like something you’d associate with an American wrestling extravaganza.

Musically, it’s a record that attempts to be pissed off and violent yet without effect. Sure, the guitars hurtle at a rattling pace, Tom Araya screams like a banshee, and Paul Bostaph (who left Slayer after the release of the album) batters the crap out of his skins. However, since the atrocious Diabolus In Musica (1998) Slayer were struggling to find themselves after the sickly nu-metal invasion, their only reaction to go hell for leather on this one, in turn producing a record that isn’t fit to be on the bottom of Reign In Blood’s (1986) shoes, let alone lace them.

Slayer may have recorded a brutal album in God Hates Us All, but as proven with the follow-up, Christ Illusion in 2006, they could probably churn this sort of tripe out all year, and I’m pretty sure that a number of metal fans would lap this sort of extremity up – but again, we must hearken back to those glorious days of Reign In Blood, South Of Heaven (1988) and Seasons In The Abyss (1990) to truly judge how poor this record is.

The fact is, there is nothing here that stands out. It’s Slayer pissed off and yet lacking ideas, with the expected topics of murder, religion, revenge and anti-Christian themes running throughout, but these type of subjects and the over-the-top riffs does not always amount to extremity. For instance, Kerry King’s guitar crunch is so un-Slayer like, but then again we got used to this on Diabolus In Musica.

Lyrically, the record reeks of naivety rather than insanity, and although Bostaph does a fantastic job at bolstering tracks such as ‘God Send Death’ and ‘Deviance’ this album is clearly King’s baby, and with titles short and sweet (‘Disciple’, ‘Exile’ and ‘Warzone’) each of these angry subjects merely flash by at an almost laughable pace, all the while spitting harmless venom.

I’m guessing King had spent too much time listening to Slipknot, because those choppy riffs and blunt Araya statements are some of Slayer’s least potent ingredients. The hilariously titled ‘Payback’ and ‘Here Comes The Pain’ are prime examples of attempts at “in-your-face” metal, the band refusing to let up with their bloodshed, but not once does the blade embed itself into the flesh.

Although different in sound to Diabolus In Musica, God Hates Us All, for me anyway, is another dead-end Slayer record which signified a real low period for the band. Some of the Slipknot (who Slayer rather bizarrely toured with) fans may well have welcomed this, but I still hope and pray that those of higher intellect and with a true heart for Slayer would have seen this record for exactly what it is; a pile of noisy trash with Kerry King’s bald-headed aggression running right through it.

Neil Arnold

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