World Painted Blood (American)
By Mike Delano
Somehow, Slayer actually sounds more sinister when they’re in a mid-tempo groove. Case in point: “Dead Skin Mask” is more skin-crawlingly creepy than most of the blood-frenzied speed runs that make up the middle of Reign In Blood. That approach makes World Painted Blood their most malevolent-sounding album in a while, filled as it is with songs that creep up behind you rather than slam into you head-on. The low rumble of the first verse of the title track creeps up your neck like a tarantula. The frantic “Hate Worldwide” slows down for the chorus so you’re sure to understand Tom Araya’s desire to spread hate across the globe. The thrash attacks of old have hardly been abandoned, however: “Snuff” is a riotously fun celebration of torture vids on the Internet, and the relentless “Public Display of Dismemberment” is a perfect showcase for drummer Dave Lombardo. The variety and unpredictability of World Painted Blood makes it the most satisfying of the band’s last three albums. Everything hits with more impact, whether it’s hammering you in the face or slithering under your skin.