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There are two kinds of jokes in this world, ones that inspire laughter and ones the cause either a sigh or a very awkward silence. The latter can occur through either a really poor delivery, by touching upon a really offensive topic and not handling it with any level of grace or intrigue, or by trying to guise incoherence as humor. I’d say that “God Hates Us All” is unique that it actually does all 3 in varying degrees, making it among the more auspicious failures that buried the Big 4 in the mid 90s to early 2000s like a mountain of decrepit crud.
Unlike Anthrax, who still maintained some semblance of traditional heavy metal within the abject inferiority of their groove metal releases, Slayer has basically embraced the popular concept of nu-metal/mallcore here and attempted to merge it with some remnants of their older Thrash style. The result is an oversized collection of confused songs that somehow manage to be both boring and completely unpredictable at the same time. About the only thing positive I can say about this is that the drumming is pretty well done, which leaves basically everything else on here at varying altitudes within the rotten modern music shitter.
It’s tough to say which is more annoying on here, the slightly more restrained variant on Phil Anselmo’s “Vulgar Display Of Power”, pseudo-tough guy shouts with a hint of rap influences, or the stagnant guitar lines that wander back and forth between tired early 90s thrash clichés and 2 note groove bloopers. This sort of stylistic cognitive dissonance infects most of the better songs on here like “Disciple” and “God Send Death”, which attempt to kick into a thrash break at points yet only succeed at being a faster version of the Pantera worship going on during the groove sections. By even the most primitive of speed/thrash standards, these songs are extremely redundant, not to mention loaded with uninteresting and unmemorable ideas.
Often any semblance of trying to fake the Thrash style is absent and the most disturbingly awful of mid-tempo, 3 note chug-a-chug-chugging ensues like an army of mask toting nu-metal drag queens. “Threshold” and “Here Comes The Pain” could well go down in history as the most ridiculously groovy and boring songs ever to be put out by a formerly respectable band, mimicking various ideas that you’d sooner hear out of The Deftones or Limp Bizkit than any serious metal band. If the lack of interesting riffs and the really sludgy and sloppy sounding guitar tone don’t immediately drive you away, Araya’s stupid rhythmic vocal antics will probably homeboy you to death in a single listening.
God and Satan have finally found something that they can agree on, they hate this album, as should any self-respecting fan of this band who loved the pioneering thrash staples that were “Show No Mercy” and “Hell Awaits”. I can see some nu-metal scene kids lapping this up like crazy and bragging to their friends about how many guitar solos there are on here, but other than that this doesn’t have any sort of intended audience. I’m sort of stuck between whether I should sigh at this or just silently go about my business as if it doesn’t exist whenever someone mentions this album in a conversation, but unlike Jehovah and Lucifer, I have more important things to do than spending my days hating this album, not to mention that unlike them I don’t have an eternity of time to waste on such things.
Originally submitted to (www.metal-observer.com) on May 2, 2009.