The Record Lounge: Preview – Slayer – “Christ Illusion”

Originally posted on MySpace 7/23/2006

The opening strains of “South of Heaven” are ringing through Nokia Live, and I’m about to witness my favorite thing about my birthday: Ryan Ash is kinda grooving to it. Now it could be that she’s now heard the song a few times and has succumbed to familiarity, maybe its the fact that she can have fun anywhere, anytime, or maybe she has finally come to the realization that they’re not just another loud heavy metal band and they’re not too bad. I like to think its the latter reason.

I don’t think anyone here has any doubt that I love the band Slayer. They’ve easily been my favorite heavy metal band since 1990, and there’s only one band I love more than them, which is the opposite end of the spectrum, U2. No band will ever topple that one. No band.

This band is more than speed and aggression. Sure on the surface, that’s what you get. But to dig deeper you’d find well-crafted music. Fully realized songs. This is where I think they’re one of the more misunderstood bands around. Since they are an “extreme” metal band, people look at them as mindless noise, another meat-head band making nonsense garbage. They write music. They lay down a ridiculous groove. Plus, no matter how fast the lyrics are, they are usually intelligible, separating them from other bands in their genre. Fortunately, their subject matter has broadened since the 1986 masterpiece, 29 minutes of pure metal glory known a Reign In Blood , giving them even more depth and recognition. Their longevity would have suffered without a little change.

But that’s all that has changed. Sure, they’ve mastered the mid tempo plodding of songs like “South of Heaven”, “Spill the Blood”, and “Seasons In The Abyss”, but haven’t lost any intensity or compromised whatsoever over their career. They have learned from their misses. For instance, 1996s poorly received Undisputed Attitude, an album of old-school punk covers from the likes of Minor Threat, T.S.O.L. and Verbal Assault. This also resulted in the only time I’ve seen them that was lackluster. I almost never saw them again.

I’ve now seen Slayer 13 times. The best thing about these shows is you can be an absolute idiot, and it doesn’t matter. You’ll probably never see (or want to see) any of these people ever again. The release this band allows me definitely puts me in the idiot category. Their show for my birthday party at Nokia was no exception. Not to mention, the best I’ve ever seen them. After 23 years they are at the top of their game, with a seemingly renewed vigor and excitement. I’ve been on a Slayer high since that show ended.

If the latest song, “Cult” is any indication of the new album, the first with original drummer Dave Lombardo since 1990’s Seasons In The Abyss it’s going to be ridiculous. I haven’t been this excited about a new Slayer record since that album.

August 8th and Christ Illusion, you cant get here quick enough.

~ by thesynaptic on August 8, 2010.

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