World Painted Blood
02 November 2009
by Mark Eglinton
Sometimes waiting is a very good thing. Not always, but sometimes. On first listen to World Painted Blood back in what must have been mid August, it would have been condemned, mostly for production reasons, as their worst record since well..their last bad record.
However, that mix we were told, was not necessarily how the finished album would sound. For that reason it was prudent and for that matter fair to wait and see if Slayer’s new record was in fact the fully formed beast they suggested it was. In the intervening time, the record has been given a few months to settle…fester even, and having been granted an unlikely stay of execution it has shown itself to be a far better effort than it first appeared.
Slayer’s problem has always been one of consistency; and you’d need to go back as far as Divine Intervention to find their last truly indispensable piece of work. That record’s sticking point was however production and sadly that seems to be a gripe with World Painted Blood too, as the final mix is almost identical to the earlier version. It’s all too impersonal, with a hollow sheen that really does no justice to what are actually an impressive bunch of tunes. The guitars are politely there but don’t press their noses against the door of the mix while the drums have a machined feel which acts as some kind of drumming vasectomy, and we all know Lombardo has a pair.
That said the high points are destined for the Slayer hall of fame. Any song which kicks-in half way through a lead break like ‘Snuff’ has serious potential, and as such it’s as good as they’ve done in more than a decade. Araya screams:” Actionnnnnn! , torture, misery, endless suffering!” Now THAT’S what I’m talking about…
Likewise first single, ‘Psycopathy Red’, also highlights Araya’s still rabid screech better than anything for a long time. Also of sinister interest is the unique, for Slayer at least, ‘Playing with Dolls’ which actually crams quite a lot of melody into a track with totally distasteful subject matter.
Watch Slayer discussing World Painted Blood in the studio
However, there is a flip side to that coin and that’s that ‘Public Display of Dismemberment’ and ‘ Americon’ are mind-numbing dirges, particularly the latter which surely goes down as the worst track Slayer have ever written. Somewhere in between are growers like the menacing ‘Not Of This God’, ‘Beauty Through Order’ with its truly chilling mid-track breakdown and all out blurfest ‘Unit 731’.
All of the above benefit hugely from repeat listens and only improve as a result, and as an complete piece World Painted Blood compares favourably with both Christ Illusion and certainly God Hates Us All. If it had been less cautiously produced and had been given a serious beef injection, it would’ve been close to the album that Kerry King and co. threatened.
Sounds Like: a ‘polite’ Slayer
Top Tracks: Snuff , Psycopathy Red, Playing with Dolls
Slayer – World Painted Blood tracklisting
World Painted Blood
Beauty Through Order
Public Display of Dismemberment
Playing With Dolls
Not of This God”