CD Review of Christ Illusion Re-issue by Slayer

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Christ Illusion Re-issue
starstarstarno starno star Label: American
Released: 2007
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Christ Illusion is a four-star record on its original merits. This review focuses on the reissue of the album, released a year ago. If you are going to pluck down an additional 18.98 for a record you already own, you have to analyze the extras you’re getting, which include: a mesmerizing hologram cover of a hand with stigmata, opening and closing; an alternate version of the eighth song, “Black Serenade”; a previously unreleased track called “Final Six”; and a bonus DVD with under fifteen minutes of material.

The alternate version of “Black Serenade” has a different ending, but any other real changes are difficult to discern. “Final Six” fits in well with the rest of the material and offers another opportunity to listen to Dave Lombardo attack his drum kit with angry precision. Slayer is an unrelenting, unapologetic punch in the groin, a speeding steamroller flattening everything in its path. Christ Illusion contains plenty of the anti-religion bile that Kerry King has been authoring for years, and includes commentary on the war. The perspective of the enemy provides the lyrical center for “Jihad.”

The DVD contains three chapters of material. Tour footage is set to the “Jihad” track for the first chapter. Plenty of stage video, audience shots and a peek backstage make up the five-minutes-plus episode. “The Eyes of the Insane” video, which takes place entirely in the iris and pupil of a soldier who is experiencing what you see, is chapter two, and “South of Heaven,” a live track from the upcoming Unholy Alliance DVD, is also included. The inclusion of this portion certainly made me want to either buy the entire DVD when it comes out or bathe myself in holy water and check them out live. This is one finely tuned monstrous band and that sound is absolutely pulverizing. From a marketing perspective, the inclusion of the live cut as a taste of what is to come is effective.

The hologram is eye-popping. There have been several covers for this record, including the Christ with amputated limbs standing in bloody water with severed heads floating by; that artwork is included in the liner notes, which also list the lyrics for each song.  

The bonus material does not make this an essential purchase, but if you are a huge fan of the band or you have a taste for this bloody cup of meat (and missed it the first time around), then you should grab it.

~R. David Smola