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Like a badly animated nightmare - 10%

The_Ghoul, April 25th, 2009

Let's pretend this never happened, shall we? We'll pretend this was a bad dream and we'll put Hell Awaits on repeat like the good well intentioned metalheads we are.

Unfortunately it doesn't work that way. God Hates Us All is real, and nothing screams "SLIPKNOT RIP" quite like this. For starters, the name of the album is a ripoff of how Slipknot fans call themselves maggots; i.e., hated ones. Of course it's all pretentious, since we all know the oodles of spondulicks both bands make would suggest otherwise. Sure, GHUA puts on a veneer of violence and intimidation, much like a random middle finger thrown by a bunch of joyriding teens at the crossing guard. Intended to display a rude statement of anger, but falling quite short.

Music that's meant to intimidate never did well in my books, because we all know that the stereotypical metalhead can't be intimidated. I don't mind swearing in music, but swearing for swearing's sake as is done on songs like Exile and Payback comes off as fake as a plastic grille on a cheap mid-80's oldsmobile or plastic sunglasses at a ZZ top concert. Fake, fake, fake, fake. Sure, there are a couple passable songs here, like God Send Death, but nothing even close to the greatness of their early 80's work. The halfway distorted vocals sound mallcore as hell, as well. There's a way to do distorted vocals right (listen to Burzum's Filosofem) and there's a wrong way to do them. God Hates Us All qualifies as the wrong way of doing them.

Everybody knows metal doesn't quite take itself seriously, and it's laughable when metal bands try to get people to take them seriously, as is done here. Making threats to your listeners via the lyrics will always sound silly and ridiculous. We all know you're not gonna smash our heads in, so why the pretentiousness?

Of course you can't completely condemn an album based off of the vocals/lyrics alone. For a "metal" album to suck (I use the term loosely here) you need terrible guitar riffs, and God Hates Us All has no dearth of terrible riffs. For instance, the main riff of Bloodline is the kind of shit that guitarists in their first few months of playing come up with. Shit like 0-0-0-0-3-3-3-3-2-2-2-2-1-1-1-1 is pure mallcore tripe, no matter how you phrase it, and the fact that GHUA is all slowed down "groove" abominations of riffs as opposed to the swift material of yesteryear doesn't help this one bit. Hanneman and co. must have been suffering from a severe lack of inspiration, because I am completely confounded as to how you can come up with worse shit than this. It's all restrained, low-intensity material here. Nothing like the real necksnappers on their first few albums.

What's really sad here is that Slayer were never really that great. Their supposed milestone, Reign In Blood, was merely a streamlined commercial approach to the more violent approaches to thrash, yet God Hates Us All makes Reign In Blood seem like the greatest thrash masterpiece ever by comparison. Yes, God Hates Us All is really that terrible. And the repeated Slipknot comparisons that have been made are not unfounded at all; Kerry King has stated repeatedly that he likes Slipknot and views them as a modern-day influence. Of course, King has backed off from making such statements as of late because it is no longer popular to be a $lipknot ripoff.

So let's pretend this was a bad dream that never happened, shall we? I'm willing to forgive Slayer, only if they completely abandon this direction. A miscarriage of the highest degree, a real faux paus of metal, and an utter abomination, God Hates Us All will be forever remembered as Slayer's legendary false step, a permanent dent in their credibility.