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No, Sorry, I Don't Buy It - 55%

corviderrant, March 20th, 2007

Oh, please...this is weak by classic Slayer standards. Paul Bostaph is not even a pimple on Lombardo's butt in this album! More on that later, but the opening statement sums it up pretty well, I think.

This was a stab at Slayer reclaiming past glories, an attempt to show they still had it and it only half succeeds, like its predecessor, "Seasons in the Abyss". The guitar sound is still respectably evil and dark, and the drums actually sound pretty good, but the playing is not there much of the time. The songwriting is not up to par and is uneven to say the least; "SS-3", "213", anybody? "Serenity in Murder" is actually pretty creepy on the verses with Araya's droning vocals, but the choruses get boring and played out in short order.

"Dittohead" is the only song on the album that really brings the dynamite in terms of them trying to show they were still valid, and the soloing even approaches their past manic intensity, or at least Kerry King's leads do; Hannemann totally phoned it in on this album. That one song on this album is the only one that comes close to getting my pulse pounding like, say, "Raining Blood". And then there is the joker with the sticks in his hands, he gets a paragraph all to his self.

Paul Bostaph? Paul BOSTAPH? Who the hell was he? Oh yeah, that joker who was in Forbidden and thought he could hang in Slayer. And they showed a lamentable lack of judgment in thinking he could fill Lombardo's huge shoes. For crying out loud, the opening of "Killing Fields" shows it plain as the nose on my face; his double kick technique is sloppy as hell! He falters messily and it's only when the riff comes in that he finally gets it together. You hear that in "Dittohead" as well, the little bit before the slower middle part where he tries to rev it up and is all over the place trying to do it. Now if they'd gotten somebody like Pete Sandoval on this record, that would've elevated it to the next level, but as it stands the drumming on this album sucks out loud and proves he was emininently unworthy to be in Slayer. You need a certain level of precision and tightness to hang in a band like this, and it was just not there on Bostaph's part.

In the long run, this album stands as a dividing line between Classic Slayer (everything up until and including "South of Heaven") and Shit Slayer (everything else released after that album). Disregard this unless you are a completist and absolutely have to have everything Slayer had ever recorded. Otherwise, save your money and download "Dittohead" and enjoy that as their last gasp at greatness. It falls short, but at least on that one tune they tried, anyway.