“Christ Illusion” by Slayer

Artist: Slayer
Title: “Christ Illusion”
Label: Def American Records
Release Date: 8/8/2006
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4/5

In 1982 Slayer formed and became one of the founders of the Thrash Metal movement. During this time bands like Metallica, and Anthrax were instrumental in taking music influenced by the NWOBHM that had begun across the pond to the next level. While the UK’s Venom is often cited as kicking off a particular Satanic style, it was not until Slayer arrived that this vibe for Metal achieved a true relentless and aggressive nature that was to be respected as well as feared. “Christ Illusion” is the first album by the band in five years and it continues to demonstrate the reason for Slayers dominance over the Metal legions. The album, produced by Rick Rubin would also see the reuniting of the group with original drummer Dave Lombardo who had not recorded with them in fifteen years. Lombardo “returned” several years ago to tour and lucky for Slayer fans everywhere he remained in place. As you listen to the new recordings it brings back a feeling of the Slayer of old. There are more similarities to their classic “Reign In Blood” than to “God Hates Us All” and while the record delivers on several fronts, the band is not breaking any new ground for the listener. I need to stress that for Slayer there is no longer any reason to do this after such a lengthy and prosperous Metal existence. Slayer does what Slayer does best and every track on the album is a skull-splitter. The subject matter and lyrical content of “Christ Illusion” are very incendiary, but that is what you can expect from Slayer when you choose to put them on. The band is not out to provoke you, yet instead aims to make you think about the way certain aspects of the belief structure are approached. Kerry King has long spoken of his distrust in organized Religion and with songs like “Cult” and “Skeleton Christ”, he lays down how he feels about this stuff in the strongest possible fashion. Lyrically, this is some pretty intense stuff and it might cause some fervor among the Religious Right if they get their hands on the booklet for the album. There is also the song “Jihad” which while written from the mindset of a terrorist is by no means an admiration of this kind of life or a “Pro 9-11” belief. Hanneman and Araya did a solid job with it but of course there are always going to be people who don’t like finding the events of that tragic day put to any sort of music. It does fit in the framework of the album which focuses on a lot of religious dogma, and its effect on people’s way of thinking. Lyrics are included in the booklet as noted above and the cover depicts a Christ-like figure wallowing amidst waste and looking very defeated. The graphic imagery is only half as graphic as the lyrical content you will find within.

The production of the record is strong and it is sure to remind many Metal fans of the reason Slayer has been around for so long. King, Hanneman, Araya and Lombardo are in great form throughout the release and are to be respected for holding strong to their style and never faltering. The band never opted to go to a more commercialized style or experimented with their sound to the point of losing fans. I also felt it was great to have Dave Lombardo back on the drums for he is a machine and belongs in no other band but Slayer. I am hoping he remains for more touring and albums. If there is any downside to the release it would have to be in the overall length of the album as it runs a mere 38 minutes and is over before you know it when you place it in the stereo.

Track Listing:
1. Flesh Storm
2. Catalyst
3. Skeleton Christ
4. Eyes Of The Insane
5. Jihad
6. Consfearacy
7. Catatonic
8. Black Serenade
9. Cult
10. Supermist

Official Website: www.slayer.net

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