“Take a deep breath ’cause it all starts now when you pull the fuckin’ pin.” The opening line of Slayer’s new record Christ Illusion let you know that they haven’t lost any of their intensity some 25 years after first forming. Slayer’s first album since 2001’s God Hates Us All, and also first album with original drummer Dave Lombardo since 1990’s Seasons in the Abyss, shows that Slayer is showing no signs of slowing down. The record opens up with “Flesh Storm”, a sonic assault that brings to mind the ferocity that came from first hearing “Angel of Death” off 1986’s masterpiece Reign In Blood. The second song “Catalyst” keeps the levels high, and “Skeleton Christ” shows that Slayer is sticking to their guns with lyrics like “I laugh at the abortion known as Christianity/I’ve seen the ways of God/I’ll take the devil any day/Hail Satan.” “Eyes of the Insane” slows the pace slightly before “Jihad” comes out swinging with lyrics commenting on the current state of God and politics and obviously was written as a result of the state of affairs in the Middle East.
The political commentary takes on a new level with “Consfearacy”, which is by far one of the most politically-tinged Slayer songs to date. Not only are politics in place, but “Consfearacy” also brings the record back to breakneck speed. “Catatonic” slows it down again but lyrically keeps it in traditional Slayer form. “Black Serenade” starts off slower in the same vein as “Catatonic”, but half way through speeds up to Slayer’s usual pace and comes complete with lyrics all about necrophilia. The next song is “Cult”, which is the first single off Christ Illusion. This song starts off with a slow, heavy, brooding intro before blasting into a fierce guitar riff followed by Lombardo’s lightning-fast drums and vocalist/bassist Tom Araya’s signature vocals.
This song is signature Slayer and contains lyrics such as “I’ve made my choice – 666” and “Revelation revolution/I see through your Christ illusion.” It finishes off with the usual Slayer shredding guitar before the last song “Supremist.” The lyrics “Perpetual is my reign/I will eat your soul” show that Slayer is not giving up their throne as metal’s reigning kings, 20 years after their landmark Reign In Blood. Pantera said it best: “Your trust is in whiskey and weed and Slayer, it’s Goddamn Electric.” Slayer certainly lives up to that, and with the original line-up fully intact and Slayer sounding stronger than they have in over a decade, Christ Illusion is proof that Slayer is still one of heavy metal’s best bands around. Top Tracks – Flesh Storm, Cult Rating – 7.1/10
Slayer – Christ Illusion / 2006 Warner Bros / 10 Tracks / http://www.slayer.net / http://www.warnerbros.com / Reviewed 16 September 2006