These are always fun times. Speaking of course about when a band as big and mostly revered by all metalheads across different generations like Slayer releases a new album. But while it can be exciting to hear the old guard continue their craft, let’s make one thing clear, that should be already blatantly crystal clear. Slayer do what Slayer do. Unlike their big four counterparts there won’t be any St. Anger-like fucking about. There won’t be a horrendous attempt at taking some “Risks”. When or if, you pick up World Painted Blood you know what you’re getting. Speed, heaviness, fuck loads of riffs, Kerry King reaching for the whammy bar and Tom Araya’s patented yell. It’s not like you’re going to hear acoustic hip hop, you’re getting the tried and tested modus operandi.
Several comparisons have been drawn to 1990’s Seasons In The Abyss, Slayer’s most varied (as far as Slayer are concerned) period in terms of song writing. On first listen WPB doesn’t attain that evaluation, but after a few more jaunts through the thought becomes audible, hazily mind you.
“What I write sounds thrashy but with a hint of punk, and when Jeff (Hanneman) writes the stuff is more punk with a hint of thrash. It works together well” commented Kerry King on this record. King further extolled World as having much more punky aspects to it overall. Similar to the Seasons remarks, it’s present but still vague.
Essentially World Painted Blood stays vigilantly on the old beaten path. It’s a thrash metal record, simple as. This is heard lucidly on the opening title track as some of the finest riffs of the record are churned out from the get-go. The two tracks previously released “Hate Worldwide” and “Psychopathy Red” slot in easily with the rest of the material. Thankfully, giving the former a slightly fresher vigour, especially when that “punky” aspect is heard there the most.
Unfortunately WPB plods along dispassionately in many parts like that of “Unit 731” with its recycled subject matter (akin to “Angel Of Death”) and the generic widdly soloing of “Snuff”.
But luckily on other parts the momentum can shift a full 180 like to the moody impressions created on “Human Strain”’s instigation through to the bludgeoning “Americon” and the disconcerting nature of “Playing With Dolls”.
World Painted Blood may be much of the same, over and over again but Slayer never deviated from the “if it ain’t broke” mentality. So, with that said WPB is another abounding heavy instalment in Slayer’s legacy, one that tops predecessor Christ Illusion but not quite as lofty as their strongest 00s release, God Hates Us All.