CD Review of Christ Illusion by Slayer

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Christ Illusion
starstarstarstarno star Label: American
Released: 2006
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Slayer is cool in a `They play a bad-ass brand of metal, but I hope they never move in next door to me and want to babysit my kids, since they will surely be sacrificed to Lucifer and made into soap’ kind of way. As the God Satanfathers of (American) death metal, they set the standard for all others in the genre to be measured against. And unlike the many poseurs and annoying soundalike bands that pollute MTV2’s Headbanger’s Ball (I have bitched about that over and over), their sound is consistently heavy and angry but always evolving within the genre. The Slayer catalogue doesn’t all blend together and turn into one giant indistinguishable song. They make distinctive, explosive and frightening music. Look, you’re never going to get an “Unforgiven” out of them, but they have tinkered with their sound from time to time. In 1998, they recorded a mostly-covers disc of punk and hardcore called Undisputed Attitude. Every album they put out isn’t going to be Reign in Blood, but Kerry King and the boys are going to grab you by the throat and pummel you into submission.

Tom Araya can scream with the best of them, but his vocal delivery is decipherable and not disguised through effects. You can occasionally hear what he is saying. Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman make a viciously heavy guitar duo, pounding death chords into you with speed, ferocity and great joy. Back for the first time since 1991’s live record Decade of Aggression is (awesome) original drummer Dave Lombardo.

Christ Illusion has plenty of blasphemous moments, like all Slayer records, in that Christianity and organized religion is Kerry King’s favorite target. This record also has several tracks examining the war. King vents his bile at the conflict in “Flesh Storm,” while Araya wrote “Eyes of the Insane” and “Jihad,” a song that presents the viewpoint of the terrorist. “Consfearacy” also spreads some rays of sunshine at the president and King’s perceived state of the country.

Christ Illusion is an intense experience. So, if you are ready for the challenge, Slayer offers it to you. Just hope they don’t move in next door. They aren’t the happiest of lads.

~R. David Smola