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A jolly fest of Christmas cheer. - 35%

Empyreal, December 17th, 2009

Don’t you love Christmas? It’s the most joyous holiday of the year, a great feast of colorful lights and hymnal singing and everything else that is completely the opposite of what Heavy Metal is about. As a metal fan, though, it is my duty to spread my own perverse version of the Christmas cheer by exorcising my demons. And what better way to do that than by reviewing the pile of hardcore fucking swill that is Slayer’s God Hates Us All?

I checked this out during a Slayer binge, thinking ‘no, it can’t be THAT bad! I like Slayer’s formula of angry, scribbled-lines-on-paper Thrash!’ Well, fuck, I’m wrong again, and that’s why I’m paying the price. God Hates Us All is a painfully enervated, lifeless release, especially in the ironic context of the fact that the band are clearly trying so hard to create something angry and full of emotion. They didn’t. What is there to gain from this? A bucketload of misanthropy with some teenage religious doubts on the side? That sounds like fun to me, note the sarcasm.

So yeah, this album is just full of wonderfully un-metal riffs, one-dimensional vocal diarrhea and that awful modern rhythmic fuzz that makes it sound so…contemporary. There’s nothing on here that even slightly resembles entertainment or metal. The guitars are laughably restrained, as even Kerry King’s paint-splatter solos are not quite as outrageous as usual, and the riffs are all hardcore bullshit without any real power to them. Tom Araya’s vocals are strained and shouty as he constipates his way through about fourteen tracks of monotonous, dicrectionless nu-metal irrelevancy without any shame. Truly, the songs on here are the antithesis of entertainment, with their overly serious, macho posturing – how can anyone take this seriously at all? Lyrics are laughable too, mostly just juvenile raving and ranting that you’d expect more readily from an online blog or the mind of a twenty seven year old living with his parents trying to be ‘dark.’ Pfft, I’m more intimidated by the fact that there are people actually defending this album!

The songs range from boring, try-hard bursts of immature aggression like “Cast Down,” the awful “Threshold” and the annoying “War Zone” to faux-catchy nu-metal stinkbombs like “Seven Faces” and the atrocious distorted layering of “Deviance.” “Here Comes the Pain” has riffs that resemble the rumbling of a hungry stomach, and “Payback” has swearing like Tom just stubbed his toe and burned his hand on a hot stove…at the same time.

I would usually come up with something a little cleverer, but this isn’t that kind of album. God Hates Us All is an album that renders itself unmemorable and weak by a lack of any kind of aggression or drive. The songs here are just too vocal-centered; that’s what it is. I mean, what the hell kind of asshole ever wanted to hear a Slayer album with no metal riffs that just focused on the vocals? That’s probably the worst idea I’ve heard in a while. Pure comedic flop. And that goes double for this album as a whole. What a load of coal droppings.