Diabolus in Musica (American)
by Martin Popoff
New label, new life, same ol’ Slayer, even though the band is exhibiting those slight adjustments you always see in sports situations. Slayer’s mystique is almost an accident. Over the course of 15 years, Araya and Hanneman have haphazardly gotten the point across that they are lazy, don’t listen to many of their comparatives, and don’t mind saying so. Consequently, there’s a separation between these laconic observers and the enthusiastic fanboys of other bands. So record after record emerges from this vacuum, and they all sound like only one band, Slayer. The chemistry is undeniable, and the advantages many. Forget death or black vocals, Araya seems to evoke a sort of panicked stress with the best of them. Forget blastbeats and even forget Lombardo: Bostaph (who left due to the band’s destructive image and arguably real detrimental effect on youth) is back and creating his own drum tornado. Those adjustments: some plain singing from Araya, the odd half-hearted sample, an occasional evocation of hardcore, and a few laid-back passages. But add it all up and chuck it, ‘cos all in all this one’s another death-obsessed blacktrain off the rails, rushed and rushing, bolted together for maximum flame-throwing volatility; heady, heavy speed-drunk power metal, punkified, or more cogently speaking, Slayerfied.
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