It's a bummer that Slayer's November 13 Air Canada Centre show, and their entire tour, has been postponed due to lead singer/bassist Tom Araya's back problems, but we can console ourselves with their excellent new album, which finds the dark-minded, serial-killer-obsessed California thrashers keeping all things in balance. [rssbreak] Breakneck speeds slam against half-time pit-stompers, intricate intros lead into catchy choruses, and talking and singing occasionally offset Araya's throat-scraping yells. The production has a gritty, punky warmth, with returned-to-the-fold Dave Lombardo's pummelling double bass drums high in the mix.
Ask any metal fan what the most significant thing that happened to the genre was in the last ten years, and you’ll probably get a different response each time. While the 1980s yielded a bevy of seminal pieces of music, and the ‘90s spawned unprecedented growth in metal’s most extreme forms, one thing this past decade has proven was just how ageless metal music is. It was always a youth-oriented sound and always will be, but the more the years go by, the more those of us in our late 30s and early 40s who grew up on early to mid-‘80s metal realize that the music never, ever leaves us.
World Painted Blood is the best album to come from the Big Four of Thrash (Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax) since the 1990s. That's not saying much, as their prime was the 1980s. Since then, three of those bands flailed about: Metallica went the radio route, Megadeth tried to do the same, and Anthrax turned to hard rock. Slayer, on the other hand, remained Slayer.
There will no doubt be a lot of hoopla concerning the name Slayer have chosen for World Painted Blood. In many ways, it could have been called Reign in Blood Revisited. But the word "revisited " is the key. Some compositions on this new recording have more of the band's early-style melody in them, with lightning flare-up riffs between verses; quick, unexpected guitar pyrotechnics; and blastbeat power drumming from Dave Lombardo (the band's original drummer who returned to the lineup for 2006's Christ Illusion) pushing it all into the red.