World Painted Bland?
People often say that Slayer have never made a bad album, which might well be true, but they have certainly made a few mediocre ones. The nu-metal influenced God Hates Us All and Diabolus in Musica (see ‘Love to Hate’) were hit and miss at best, and it would be fair to say that Slayer haven’t made a really great album since Seasons in the Abyss nearly 20 years ago. So, regardless of what meat-headed Slayer fanboys will tell you, and there are plenty around to do it, they have almost as much to prove on this album as Megadeth did on Endgame, even if they didn’t fall far enough to release an album quite as smelly as Risk.
World Painted Blood begins strongly with the title track, featuring some nice Mandatory Suicide spoken vocals from Tom which is followed by Unit 731, though Slayer, while playing very fast, fail to make a song about a WW2 Japanese unit that carried out experiments that would have Josef ‘Angel Of Death’ Mengele saying “hold on a sec there lads, that’s a wee bit needless” sound quite as fucking evil as it should.
Hate Worldwide, with its fairly generic riffing and facepalm inducing lyric of ‘I deny, I defy, and spread a little hate worldwide’ (no prizes for guessing it was Kerry ‘I steal my lyrics from angry 14 year old boys diaries’ King that wrote this gem) isn’t a particularly great song, but he redeems himself with the following track, the thrashtacular Public Display Of Dismemberment, and so the album continues on in this fairly inconsistent manner, threatening to gel into a big, solid thrash face fucking but with little inconsistencies and here and there that derail the momentum and we’re left with another mixed bag. Like Christ Illusion before it there just isn’t enough here to keep me coming back for more, yes it’s fast and yes it’s aggressive, but it lacks the sprinkle of class that sets an album like Seasons in the Abyss apart from what they have presented here.
It seems to me Slayer are caught in a conundrum, not doing anything wrong (no singing choruses – check, no br00tal breakdowns – check) and with a rabid fanbase that will lap this up, they are comfortably stagnating. It’s no coincidence that the best songs on the last couple of Slayer albums have come when they’ve pushed themselves or added some experimental touches, some texture and light and shade to their work, but they far too often fall back into Slayer-by-numbers, or even worse, sound like a Diabolus… b-side, and frankly it’s just fucking boring now unless you’ve only just discovered them.
In all, World Painted Blood is a solid but unspectacular album, with some moments on it that will make you medically NEED to headbang, but with others that just leave you feeling a bit ‘meh’. World Painted Blood is not a bad album, I mean come on, everyone knows Slayer have never released a bad album, but I’m still waiting on their next truly great one.