The Slayer Dilemma
Kelly M. Hudson
A brutal new album is on its way.
We’re talking Slayer, man, the Kings of Heavy, the Masters of Metal. I should be excited, right? I should be thrilled. This is an event. A New Slayer Record!
But I am not. In fact, I could give a shit.
Will I get it? Yeah. I’m a sucker. I still love Slayer but honestly, I don’t care if they ever put out another new album. I think they’ve done their thing and at this point, it’s all just repetition. I mean, they’re not going to out-do the ferocity of Reign in Blood. They’re not going to be able to top the monumental thrash epics South of Heaven and Seasons in the Abyss (for my money, easily their finest albums). Hell, they’re not even going to be able to climb as high as the tepid Divine Intervention, are they? What has Slayer given us, exactly, after that opening salvo of the five original, classic albums? Up and down music, that’s what. They’ve been repeating themselves. Sometimes it’s been okay (Divine Intervention, Diabolus in Musica) and sometimes it’s been shit (God Hates us All, Christ Illusion). And once it was pretty damned good (World Painted Blood).
Slayer is at half-mast at this point. Their best songwriter and guitarist is dead (yeah, you read that right) and the finest metal drummer in maybe history was given the boot because of Mr. Gene Simmons, er, I mean, Kerry King. So we’re left with half the band we used to have. And to be honest, listening to the early singles they’ve released, the songs themselves are just fine. The only problem is they’re…well, nothing new. They hit that spot long ago where they became AC/DC or Motorhead. And that’s no insult. They are a recognizable and quantifiable product. When you hear them, you know it’s Slayer. They never sold their fans out (they flirted with doing so, they sure did, but they never stepped over the line, at least in my estimation) like some thrash titans have (*cough*cough* Metallica). So kudos to them. They may be a two-legged dog now, but they’ve stayed true. That’s more than commendable, that’s admirable. It’s just, we’ve reached that point where anything new by them is going to be, nine times out of ten, redundant.
Listen for yourself:
Those songs aren’t bad. But they’re stale. And you know what?
That’s okay. Thank god we still get some form of Slayer. Let’s just not act like a new album is that big of a deal.