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Not too shabby. - 75%

caspian, May 29th, 2009

Not that there's much competition, but this would easily be the best Slayer album since South of Heaven, at the very least, if not Reign in Blood. Sure, it's pretty one dimensional, tom shouts all the time and there's a ridiculous amount of double time snare, but a) this is slayer b) covering hardcore punk c) so what did you expect d) dipshit.

Not being much of a hardcore punk conniseur it's pretty hard to give a nuanced account of the songs and how they differ from the original versions, whether Slayer have murdered them or whatever but they sound pretty cool to me, if like every other hardcore punk i've heard. Simple, three chord riffs with a few pretty fast 16th notes and solos thrown in- perhaps to thrash it up, I don't know- a polka beat with some extra speed added and the snare hit harder- lots of yelling with the occaisonal slower section or song thrown in for a breather- the epic doomy/sludge album closer that's "Gemini" being a rather cool- and rather surprising- example.

It's intense and there's heaps of energy, the band tight and really fierce and raw. You have to wonder how much time this took to record- the vibe on the record suggests a very quick, warts-and-all recording, which is pretty ideal for this sort of music. Certainly everyone sounds like they're belting the crap out of their instruments, which is the way it should be. The main drawback being Tom's voice. Sure, doing deep growling when spitting out super fast lyrics like in "Guilty of Being White" would be pretty much impossible but it's still monotonous as all hell, mid-range shouting with an almost robotic consistency. Screaming these lyrics out at the top of your lungs is all fine and good, but why not get Kerry or Jeff to do a song or two? Or get them doing gang vocals? Wouldn't be too hard and it'd be a nice break from the sore throat barking. I've always imagined that Kerry has a really high pitched voice though, so perhaps that's why.

No big deal, though. Complaining about monotonous vocals on songs like "I don't want to hear it" or "Violent Pacification" is really missing the point of these tunes. They're super fast and full of rage; they get me hyped and pumped, and it's the sort of music that is guaranteed to kill your mother. Not an essential purchase for anyone, but a bit of old hardcore does go down well and good once in a while, so you might as well get this.