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And what if it WERE another Reign in Blood? - 75%

UltraBoris, August 13th, 2002

It would still not be as good as The Highlight Years of Slayer. There are still half-a-songs to be found here (Sex Murder Art) and a few really shitty "Mr Gein?" moments. That said, some points of this album really fucking thrash like only Slayer can thrash.

This is pretty much the logical successor to Seasons in the Abyss, with both that and this being a response to the people that didn't like South of Heaven because it was too slow and variant - here, the slow is constrained into just a few songs, and for the most part the songs are fucking fast.

The real lowlight is Araya's vocals - while not nearly as distortion-irritating as on the next few albums, it is already a far cry from the clean shrieks of Classic Slayer. But the riffage, oh man the riffage... when this album gets going, it is EXCELLENT. Highlights include the opening sequence of Killing Fields, all of Circle of Beliefs, including the two different approaches to "can't you see... there's no validity", and of course the neck-violating crush of "Dittohead". "Fictional Reality" and "Serenity in Murder" are more midpaced vocals-driven songs that still fucking work.

The rest ranges from "effective, but unspectacular" (Sex Murder Art) to "kinda goofy" (SS-3), to an attempted rehash of previous title-track greatness (Divine Intervention) to utter fucking swill... I'm sorry but 213 is shit. Actually, it would be pretty good if it weren't for that fucking "I need a friend" cockswillfecalshit, which is a harbringer of the mallcore-related dimwitted stupidity that Slayer would descend into. That right there probably knocks the album out of the 80s... no one gets away with that sort of foul stupidity.

But hey, not bad. Even though it's sort of a retread of previous stuff, this is unmistakeably Slayer, and in this case that is a Good Thing. Also, the cover art is fucking awesome.