GOD HATES US ALL
With their eighth album, Slayer jettisoned any nagging impulse to innovate their sound. I appreciate that. Slayer at peak efficiency provide the soundtrack for our bloodiest retaliation fantasies. This album: everybody dies!
God Hates Us All is Slayer's angriest album to date, due to Kerry King's dominant presence (credited on eleven songs). His songs have almost always been pissier than Jeff Hanneman's, more liable to talk about why he wants to bludgeon you than just describe the moment when it finally happens, and that blunt, brute power is practically another member of the band here.
That's why I always find this quote from King funny, when asked why Rick Rubin wasn't involved with GHUA (virtually meaningless "executive producer" credit aside): "I wanted somebody who knows what's hot, who knows what's selling, knows the new techniques, and will keep me on my toes." I doubt Slayer needed an outside party to tell them that claiming the alleged creator of all things despises his creations would garner some extra attention, or to recommend desecrating a Bible for the album's cover and booklet. And even then, how many more units did they foresee shifting with these tactics? They're still fucking Slayer.
"Darkness of Christ"--What is this weirdness? Intro pieces do not get more inauspicious! (Unless also featuring farts.) Speak up, woman! Speak up, Tom!
"Discipline"--Now this is how you start the day: quicker than a hiccup. I need this like sixteen ounces of cremated beans in the AM, or sixty-four ounces of the common man's nectar.
The world would be a pretty cool place, if not for all those pesky people. Perhaps someone has a fix-it?
The soldiers hit the ground, cat-style, but they move forth and attack like rabid pits. All wearing the same green fatigues and buttons that read FUCK YOU, I'M NIHILIST. Some of 'em are even wearing gun belts despite the fact that they aren't even firing weapons that are belt-fed to begin with. Doesn't matter. EVERYBODY DIES.
"God Send Death"--Band send breather. My heart has not stopped so suddenly from fright since watching Frankie Avalon's performance as a flute-tooting slasher in Blood Song.
"New Faith"--Oh, cursed chaos! How I yearn to dissolve and regenerate inside of a mob scene, over and over. I desire for my shaking hands to clutch sharp objects and for my body to convulse in a homicidal delirium.
There is some inflammatory language in this summabitch. Just remember that it's an avowed Catholic singing lyrics written by an avowed atheist, so it's almost impossible not to enjoy.
"Cast Down"--More hardcore-sounding than thrash-sounding, but Kool Moe Dee would definitely give the guys an A+ for "sticking to themes." If you can bear to vacuum away the cobwebs, you are more than welcome to have the time of your life with the drug-addicted angel and her cocaine halo.
"Threshold"--Probably an even more obvious nod to the sonic world around them then "Stain of Mind," but Slayer can get away with that. Tom tells me how he loves violence, and brooks no pussies, and I can believe that shit. That twat-biscuit from Disturbed, whatever his name is, I wouldn't let him shovel my snow.
"Exile"--"I need to vent/Let me tell you why." And so he does. "Exile" probably contain more utterances of the word "fuck" than every other song in Slayer's catalogue combined. Ripping off faces, pulverizing hearts, all because the Chinese delivery guy was ten minutes late?! So fucking metal.
"Seven Faces"--All wearing masks depicting unique grotesqueries. Scars shining pink, bite marks, violent patches of red, unsightly growths (some coming out of other, larger growths), it's a freak show.
"I live for the things that make me hollow." Dude, me too! I have not related so profoundly to a song since "Pac Man Fever."
"Bloodline"--The lyrics are Hangover levels of dumb-shit.
Forever rape mortality
I smell of death
I reek of hate
I will live forever
Lost child pay the dead
Bleeding screams of silence
In my veins your eternity
Labored licentiousness and odious tedium weigh "Bloodline" down, but thankfully, the solos remain untainted.
(Kerry actually thought this would be the "radio hit" from the album. Yeah, bro. And purge fluid is totally marketable as a soda.)
"Deviance"--When shooting and stabbing and smashing and bashing and burning get old-hat, nothing shakes things up like drowning your victim. Just grasp the back of their head and plunge it into the nearest body of water! They'll struggle for breath, you'll giggle till you pee, everyone has a good time. It's good to hear Slayer switch thangs up a li'l bit.
"War Zone"--My river deep/mountain high expectations for songs whose titles contain the word "war" come largely from Slayer. I anticipate smirking defiance. I expect thoughtless evisceration. "War Zone" brings it all. The Slaytanic Army is leader-free, let's be honest. Satan's just a figurehead, a killer icon, a brand name you can mistrust.
"Here Comes the Pain"--Perfect to blast as some overpaid, overhyped, overly-drugged meat marionette makes his way to the squared circle.
The best revenge is a life well-lived. Knocking your nemesis unconscious with the nearest, heaviest whatever is pretty quality, as well.
"Payback"--Go out great, guys, my brain begged. The guys did.
It is useless to resist the pull. You'll hurt yourself. Then what? Pride won't handle those hospital bills. So go ahead and go crazy.
Life is a bitch
Payback is a bitch
Life is payback
"Payback" urges me to chuck a bowling ball through the window of a Bob's Big Boy. Just so that when I tell the story later on, people might could deny the veracity of every single detail, but no way can they deny the alliteration.
God Hates Us All is the Slayer album that has changed the most in my evaluation from the time of its initial release to now. In 2001 I was mildly irritated by what I gleaned to be a stubborn single-mindedness that resulted in music that, while very loud and fast, didn't present me with much new to grip onto and hold. Ho-hum goes the drum.
In the past couple years, however, I've come to rank God Hates Us All pretty highly. Slayer weren't being the crotchety old men of metal--they were cementing their status as the genre's most imperial stalwarts. Whatever low points can be found here generally commit no greater sin than just being boilerplate thrash. The high points beat Christian grandmothers with spiked bats. Even if the topics aren't fresh, or the lyrics especially thoughtful, the anger is the savior. Which is always a weird word to use in a Slayer review unless preceded by "murder of the."