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An inoffensive non-atrocity. - 67%

hells_unicorn, April 18th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2010, 7" vinyl, American Recordings (Limited edition, Red vinyl)

Sometimes a fair bit of pleasure can be gained from seeking leftovers, though it will often pale in comparison to the full meal that was enjoyed earlier. That is basically how Slayer's final studio release of sorts with Hanneman still in the fold came out, leftovers following a reasonably solid, albeit less than spectacular LP outing that carries the same name as this single's A-side. It features a band trying to rekindle an old fire that hand largely been lacking for about 15 years, and succeeding to the extent that a band with a decline of good ideas and energy could possibly muster. Say what one may about the continued intensity of the live offerings, as a studio beast, Slayer has been feeling their age for a while, and it shows forth on the contents of this final testament to the now departed Jeff Hanneman.

For better or worse, "World Painted Blood" can be seen as an older, yet slightly less wiser cousin to one of Hanneman's signature songs "Raining Blood", only minus the creepy aesthetic of the band's 80s production sound and a lot of the intricacy that existed in spite of the band's simplistic punk tendencies. The intro riff, while reasonably memorable, comes off a just a tad bit lazy and contrived, though once things finally kick into full speed it finds itself in reasonably solid territory, though most of the guitar work survives by remembering the past than actually trying to expand upon it. Araya's vocals sound pretty haggard, but manage to get the job done without sabotaging the moderately meaty guitar and drum sound that dominates the mix.

The only real reason to both with this offering follows in B-side and World Painted Blood reject "Atrocity Vendor", which finds the band in a slightly better way. This is largely due to the lack of dithering around with slow build ups and breakdowns, hence what emerges is a concise, sub-3 minute speeder that is largely interchangeable with a number of shorter middle songs on Reign In Blood stylistically, and due to its rougher mix, also a bit more organic and old school in character. The riff work is fairly animated at the onset, though it does descend into a cliche mix of tremolo picked notes and 2 chord extended bangs that are just a little too simplistic for their own good, though this largely endures during the noisy lead guitar breaks and obligatory shouted lyrics that pass for verse and chorus. Overall, it's a good song, though it isn't quite up to snuff with where this band was 20 years prior.

Some bands go out with a bang, others with a whimper, but when judging the Hanneman era of Slayer's closing offerings in this and the LP the preceded it, the result finds itself in an obscure sort of middle ground between the two. The songs found on here are likewise an exercise in getting the job done without managing to either mesmerize or revolt, something that is arguably uncharacteristic for a band that was at one time deemed the most dangerous band to come out of the San Francisco Bay Area. If this panted the world in blood, it definitely missed some spots, and if this was hoping to be some grand atrocity, it is unlikely that the history books will pay it much mind. Not bad, but definitely a small footnote in a career of astounding peaks and desolate valleys.