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Slayer Does Hardcore and Does It Well - 90%

DawnoftheShred, January 6th, 2007

It took me a long time to get this album. Not to go out and buy it, but to actually understand what it was that I was hearing. First impression: pretty much shit. This was not Slayer, it did not sound like Slayer, it did not own at all. What a naive approach to one of the best cover albums money can buy.

Since the time that I bought this, I got into hardcore punk. Suicidal Tendencies, DRI, Dead Kennedys, etc. Pretty much the kinds of bands that Slayer covers on this. To date I've managed to track down and hear about half of the original versions and by God, Slayer somehow does it better, or at least just as well. The drumming is even more frantic than the originals (thank you, Paul Bostaph), the guitars are even heavier and more destructive, and in a few rare moments, Tom's vocals are even better than the original singers. His scream in "Memories of Tomorrow" is better than Mike Muir's on both the original and the re-recorded version, for instance. Plus you get to hear his bass guitar work, a Slayer rarity. Every song on here is fast, angry, and awesome. This is pretty much dependent on whether or not you like hardcore punk. If you don't, I hope it didn't take you this far into the review to realize that you'll hate this with every essence of your being. The only song you might not mind is "Gemini," a Slayer original. It's way too slow, but Tom's clean vocals in the verse sections are a welcome innovation.

So to sum it up, if you like hardcore punk and/or Slayer, you may want to look this one up, hopefully not just for completion. This is one of the only cover albums that I've actually listened to more than twice, because even though Slayer covers the songs as accurately as possible (that is, with as little "artistic interpretation" as possible), it's still an original and engaging listen. Slayer's decision to give tribute to their hardcore roots rather than their metal ones was controversial for sure, but I think a better choice at the end of the day.