Interview – Dimitri (Primal Age)

Do you like Metalcore? If your answer is yes, you’ll certainly enjoy this exclusive interview with Dimitri, bassist for longstanding French act Primal Age, talking about their brand new EP A Silent Wound, their commitment to nature and animal rights, how much they love the unparalleled riffs by Slayer’s deceased guitar hero Jeff Hanneman, and more.

Dimitri (Primal Age)

The Headbanging Moose: Let’s start with an introduction of the band. Although Primal Age have been on the road since 1993, there are many people who still don’t know your music. Who are Primal Age? Can you tell us more about the history of the band and your main goals in music?

Dimitri (Primal Age): We are 5 guys (Didier on vocals, Flo and Ben on guitars, Mehdi on drums, and I, Dimitri on bass). We started as one of the very first European bands mixing hardcore and metal, as Arkangel, Length of Time or Kickback. We’re known for our commitment in favor of nature and animals.

THM: Your brand new EP A Silent Wound might be short in duration, with only around 15 minutes of music, but the amount of energy and violence flowing from each one of its four tracks is simply amazing. Why did you decide to record an EP instead of a full-length album this time, and how did you select the songs that would be included in it?

Dimitri: It was a special period because of a change in our line-up. Flo and Ben have replaced Johann who had to leave the band for familial reasons. So our project with this line up was an EP to give time for the new guys. It is not obvious to be incorporated to an old band.

THM: You’re a band that has always discussed delicate and controversial topics in each one of your lyrics, such as animal rights, vegetarianism and the overconsumption of mass. For instance, my favorite song of the EP, the opening track The Whistleblowers vs World Health Organization, is an acid critic to our decaying health system with a strong focus on the wrongful actions taken by the W.H.O. in the past few decades. What details can you tell us about the process to compose this specific song? What inspires you to write music, and what do your fans and critics say about the themes proposed in your lyrics?

Dimitri: The fans… some are here just for the music, and some others pay a particular attention for the topics. It’s a kind of positive revolt to compose some music with what revolts me, instead of burning my neighbor’s car ))

THM: Another top moment of the EP in my opinion is your humble tribute to the deceased Jeff Hanneman, the iconic and revolutionary guitarist of Thrash Metal titans Slayer, titled To Jeff. How did you come up with the idea of recording this excellent tribute to one of the biggest guitarist in the history of heavy music, and how did you choose which songs from Slayer would be featured in the medley? Also, did you get any feedback from any of the guys from Slayer or anyone connected to Jeff about the song?

Dimitri: As you say, Jeff was a legend who has composed some of the most famous riffs of metal music. We grew up with Slayer and we miss this guy so much, so we decided to refresh people’s minds with some of the most legendary riffs which are here to stay.

Album Review – Primal Age / A Silent Wound EP (2017)

THM: You play a solid and entertaining fusion of Thrash Metal, Hardcore and Punk Rock, which some people like to label as Metalcore. Apart from bands like Slayer, Napalm Death and Agnostic Front, what other bands and artists influenced Primal Age to become the band you’re today? And do you listen to anything outside Heavy Metal and Punk Rock? If so, which non-metal artists are part of your playlist?

Dimitri: We grew up with bands like Earth Crisis, Sepultura, Pantera, Minor Threat, Venom, Youth Of Today, Hatebreed… there are so many. Personally I’m a fan of Oi music, Cock Sparer, The Business or Last Resort are some of the bands in my playlist. But it’s only mine, each one is different and we have our own choices.

THM: A Silent Wound features a few guest vocalists that end up adding an extra touch of adrenaline to the overall result of the EP, those being Felipe Chehuan (Confronto), Julien Truchan (Benighted) and Koba (Loyal To The Grave). What’s your relationship with those musicians and their respective bands, and how did the invitations happen for them to be part of your album?

Dimitri: Benighted is a French band. We like these great guys with whom we played some shows. Felipe from Confronto is an old acquaintance we have so much respect for and we were grateful to play with Confronto in Brazil. Loyal to the Grave is a Japanese legendary band, and it was a special moment for us to share the stage with them in Japan. We’re happy to have these guys on our EP to remind us some great moments as musicians.

THM: Primal Age have already played in renowned festivals such as Free Edge Fest, Hellfest and Sonisphere, but of course as an underground heavy band you’re used to play in much smaller places like local pubs and theaters. Do you prefer playing in big festivals or at small venues? What do you feel when you’re playing in front of thousands of people as compared to a reduced crowd? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each one in your opinion?

Dimitri: We like both of these conditions. The only thing we have in mind is to give our energy to the crowd through our music, it doesn’t matter if there are 100 or 3,000 people.

THM: How has the reaction of your fans to the new songs from A Silent Wound been in your current concerts? And what are the band’s future plans in regards to touring inside and outside France, and also to releasing new material?

Dimitri: We have had a very good feedback. The new pieces are in accordance with our musical identity. We’re happy to defend this new EP on stage. We have plans in France and far from home, so, we feel lucky ))

THM: I might be wrong, but I think you have never recorded a song in your mother tongue French. Is there a specific reason for that? Are you planning on recording anything in French for your local fans, as for example a French version of one of your existing albums?

Dimitri: You’re right. I very love French lyrics, but not for what we play. English seems to be the best language for that kind of music. The other reason is to speak to everybody and to have the opportunity to play worldwide.

Primal Age

THM: What’s the current state of the metal and punk scene in France? Do you think it’s better than when the band started, or is it getting more and more difficult for new French bands to succeed in music nowadays? Which new French bands do you recommend to our readers?

Dimitri: France has never been the place to be for this music. Most of people are listening to the mainstream music you hear on TV or radio and don’t have a real culture, they just consume it, what is sad. The reputation is rather bad, but you can find some great bands. There are several great bands here in Normandy like Surounded by Sins, Elephants, Explicit Silence… so many.

THM: As you know we have a huge French-speaking community here in Canada, in the province of Quebec, where several amazing metal and punk bands are born every year. Do you know anything about the Canadian and the Quebec heavy music scene, and if so, what are your favorite bands from Canada and/or Quebec?

Dimitri: We really appreciate bands like Comeback Kids, or the first albums of Voivod we listened to when we were young. We saw them in Paris in 87 when they came for their first tour with Kreator. We also love Get the Shot, as well as Obey The Brave (with whom we played at the Bloodaxe Festival in Tokyo, Japan, in 2013).

THM: Merci beaucoup pour votre temps et votre disponibilité. Please feel free to send a final message to your fans and to the readers of The Headbanging Moose here in Canada and all over the world.

Dimitri: Thanks for the interest about the band, we really appreciate it. Maybe one day we’ll see you guys on the road.

Links
Primal Age Official Website | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram | ReverbNation | Big Cartel

Advertisements

Album Review – Primal Age / A Silent Wound EP (2017)

One of the most influential bands in the history of underground French Metalcore brings forth four striking new songs, blending the best of Heavy Metal and Hardcore in a fresh, vibrant and honest way.

Delivering a huge amount of energy, power and passion for heavy music to their fans since 1993, always exploring important topics such as the defense of the animal rights, vegetarianism, ecology and the denunciation of the overconsumption of mass, French Metalcore act Primal Age marked the 90’s by being among the first European bands to mix Heavy Metal and Hardcore into their music, gaining a lot of positive feedback from fans of both styles. That amazing reaction from the audience opened the doors for the band to spread their music globally, sharing the stage with renowned acts like Napalm Death, Caliban, Madball, Hatebreed and Agnostic Front, as well as playing many festivals such as Free Edge Fest, Hellfest and Sonisphere and performing in distant lands like Brazil and Japan through the years.

Hailing from Évreux, a commune in Haute Normandie in northern France, Primal Age released their debut EP The Light to Purify in 1999, followed by the full-length albums A Hell Romance in 2007 and The Gearwheels of Time in 2010, while the year of 2014 saw the birth of a split album with French Metalcore band Absone named My Legacy / Eternal Struggle – The Best of 17 Years XVX 90’s Metalcore (And Still Going Strong). Now in 2017, they’re back in full force with a brand new EP titled A Silent Wound, featuring a stylish artwork by Visual Injuries and four original songs that perfectly represent their core essence and their undisputed allegiance to classic European Metalcore.

The opening track, nicely entitled The Whistleblowers vs World Health Organization, is a frantic Hardcore chant boosted by hints of Death and Thrash Metal (and therefore an amazing choice for slamming into the pit) where drummer Mehdi Abou is simply insane behind his drums, while the sick growls by lead singer Didier are in total sync with the demonic strings by Benoit, Florian and Dimitri. Following that high-octane start, we have the title-track A Silent Wound, featuring Felipe Chehuan from Brazilian Deathcore band Confronto, another Punk Rock and Thrash Metal onslaught flawlessly blasted by Primal Age. Furthermore, both guitars by Benoit and Florian sound very tuneful and melodic, strengthening the song’s bestial vibe even more, which I believe will cause some “desired” body injuries and bruises to their fans during their live concerts.

Can the excellent Counterfeiters of the Science be labeled as “Tribal Metalcore”? It’s a fuckin’ furious and ruthless composition, in special the harsh and aggressive growls by Didier, with its unstoppable and vicious sounding being the epitome of the music by such distinct act. And featuring singers Julien Truchan (Benighted) and Koba (Loyal To The Grave), the remarkable Slayer medley named To Jeff is a beautiful tribute to the one and only Jeff Hanneman (R.I.P.). You have to listen to it to feel its potency, but as a quick summary of what you’ll find in the music (or I should say a “spoiler”), it starts with a few nice words from Jeff himself, followed by the band’s excellent versions for parts of the all-time classics “South of Heaven”, “Dead Skin Mask” and “Raining Blood”, ending with a good chunk of “Angel of Death” and back to a “Raining Blood” finale. In my humble opinion, this is a superb homage to Jeff and there’s no way you can stay indifferent to its energy and rhythm.

This superb EP by Primal Age, which can be streamed in its entirety HERE, is on sale at several locations such as the band’s Big Cartel as a regular CD version or as a special red vinyl collector edition (limited to 100 copies only); at the Deadlight Entertainment’s BandCamp or webstore; at the Bound By Modern Age Records’ BandCamp or webstore; or on Amazon. After listening to A Silent Wound it’s easy to understand how Primal Age, who can be contacted through their Facebook page and whose music can be appreciated at their YouTube channel and ReverbNation, are still alive and kicking after almost 25 years playing underground heavy music, without selling out to the mass media. This French quintet definitely knows how to bring the best of Heavy Metal and Hardcore together in their music, always sounding fresh, vibrant, honest and loyal to their foundations. Add to that their undeniable talent with their instruments, and there you have the recipe for at least another 25 years blasting awesome music to their fans and to anyone who enjoys tons of heaviness with a good melody behind.

Best moments of the album: The Whistleblowers vs World Health Organization and To Jeff.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Deadlight Entertainment

Track listing
1. The Whistleblowers vs World Health Organization 3:12
2. A Silent Wound (feat. Felipe Chehuan) 3:11
3. Counterfeiters of the Science 3:35
4. To Jeff (feat. Julien Truchan & Koba) 4:20

Band members
Didier – vocals
Benoit – guitars
Florian – guitars
Dimitri – bass
Mehdi Abou – drums

Guest musicians
Felipe Chehuan – additional vocals on “A Silent Wound”
Julien Truchan – additional vocals on “To Jeff”
Koba – additional vocals on “To Jeff”

Album Review – Slayer / Repentless (2015)

Live fast, on high, repentless, and always listen to Slayer.

Rating3

Slayer_RepentlessGet the most blasphemous Black Metal band in the world, mix it with the goriest Death Metal act you can think of, and even after that you won’t get close to the wickedness that American Thrash Metal masters Slayer have been providing us all since their inception in 1981. They’re the meanest, the most badass and, above all, the most unrepentant band in the history of mankind. And it’s due to their obstinacy and devotion to their roots that this undisputed band has dauntlessly braved the darkest period of their lives, marked by the terrible loss of the one and only Jeff Hanneman (R.I.P.) in 2013, to finally release the eleventh studio album in their distinct career, the raging Repentless.

However, as the guys from Monty Python would say, “always look on the bright side of life”, which in the case of Slayer translates into Tom Araya and Kerry King recruiting Mr. Gary Holt to the band (the guitar behemoth and mastermind behind another of my favorite bands, American Thrash Metal warriors Exodus), and also the return of the beast Paul Bostaph behind the drums for the first time since their 2001 onslaught God Hates Us All. You can get a good sense of the entire process until Repentless was finalized by watching some amazing videos from their official YouTube channel, including the “enlistment” of Gary and the recording of drums, always noticing how Slayer never lost their core essence amidst such turbulence and grief in their recent past.

Delusions of Saviour, a profane intro the likes of the spine-chilling “Darkness of Christ” (by the way, Repentless has tons of similarities to what Slayer did in God Hates Us All), opens the gates of hell for the piercing riffs by Kerry and Gary in the title-track Repentless, where a deeply infuriated Paul proves why he deserved to be back to the place where he thrived the most in his career. This awesome tune mixes the musicality of their latest albums, with its Hardcore/Punk Rock vibe being perfect for its main objective which, according to the band, is working like a tribute to the deceased Jeff through its simple but effective lyrics (“My songs relive the atrocities of war / Can’t take society any fuckin’ more / Intensity, anarchy, hatred amplified / Playing this shit is all that keeps me alive / I leave it all on the road living on the stage / This is my life where I kill it everyday / So take your shot, bottom’s up, this is no lie / I’ll be beating this guitar ’til the day I die / Live fast, on high / Repentless, let it ride”). And the devastation goes on in Take Control, a high-speed tune where it’s interesting to notice that, although Tom Araya cannot bang his head like before due to his back issues he’s still a devil on vocals, leaving a message to all songsters in the world: no matter how deep your guttural is nor how hard you try, you’ll never reach the incredible level of violence, despair and hatred of Mr. Araya.

Then we have the excellent Vices, which truly sounds like a track from God Hates Us All, and by that I mean it has the same vibe, rhythm, beats, riffs and vocal lines. I love the fact that even when Slayer slow down a little they still sound brutal. In other words, let’s bang our fuckin’ heads and get high with Tom, Kerry & Co. before the next track, Cast the First Stone, offers us such raw and strong beats it feels like Paul wants to intimidate us all, also adding more obscurity to the music and therefore getting closer again to the sounding in God Hates Us All. Besides, I don’t need to say how thrilling the solos by the two demented guitar heroes of Slayer are, right? Anyway, When the Stillness Comes, one of the songs released a while ago in an early version, might push some people to say “this is not Slayer” as it’s not really fast or thrashy, but diehard fans will instantly link it to the sonority found in Divine Intervention, Diabolus In Musica and, again, God Hates Us All. It should sound a lot better when played live (which doesn’t mean it’s a bad studio song), with highlights to the outstanding drumming by Paul, to the desperate vocals and primeval bass lines by Tom, and obviously to its deranged lyrics (“This violence finally sets me free / Brings demons back to torture me / There’s no god pulling at my strings / I’m above all sorrow that fate can bring / Disengaged, I see your face / I turn and rush, I can’t replace”). I just wish the ending could have gone on for a little longer, but it’s still very entertaining the way it is.

Chasing Death is a good example of how the music by Slayer has evolved in the past 20 years, getting modernized but still vicious, with the aggressive vocals by Tom leading this somber tune while the other band members develop a solid ambience in the background; followed by Implode, which sounds a billion times better than the first version released. To be honest, that early version made me really skeptical about how the entire album would sound, but as we’re talking about Slayer, I somehow knew they wouldn’t let their fans down. And Piano Wire, the only song from the album written by Jeff, keeps the level of destruction really high in Repentless, showcasing Tom’s amazing harsh vocal lines blended with many top-notch rhythmic variations.

While listening to Atrocity Vendor, I couldn’t think of anything else but just how amazing the sound of the guitars is, and also that this electric tune has to be part of their live performances for the mosh pits to get seriously physical. Kerry and Gary are like metallic brothers, not to mention that Paul keeps nailing it with his sick beats and fills and that it’s yet another perfect example of how violent lyrics are always supposed to be (“You’re staring at the atrocity vendor / A mother fucking equal opportunity offender / I’ll introduce you to my own morbid charm / And fist fuck you with your own severed arms”). You Against You, another classic Thrash Metal tune where the guitar riffs and solos will please all fans of the genre, could have easily been a song from Christ Illusion or World Painted Blood, sounding as cohesive and precise as almost all Slayer songs, while Pride in Prejudice is not only the most different of all songs but also the worst by far. I’m not sure if the final result was exactly what the band wanted, but it’s in my opinion too slow and not as heavy or dark as it should have been. Of course, if Metallica had a song like this in one of their latest albums that would have been a blessing for their fans, but we know Slayer are capable of creating something infinitely better than that.

I was going to give it “only” a 3.5 after the first listen, but after a few more listens, all the issues faced by the band in the past couple of years (especially the passing of Jeff), the stunning artwork by Brazilian artist Marcelo Vasco (the fuckin’ booklet becomes a fuckin’ inverted cross!), the bonus DVD from the special edition with their killer performance at Wacken Open Air in 2014 and the making of Repentless, and particularly after watching one of the best and most sanguinary videos I’ve seen in my life shot for the title-track (watch it yourself at the end of this review) with some very special guests such as Danny Trejo (aka our beloved anti-hero “Machete”), it deserves a 4.0 or even more than that. In the end, they’re still FUCKIN’ SLAYER no matter what, a band that’s 100% repentless of everything they’ve accomplished through their undisputed career. With that said, always remember to live fast, on high and repentless, listening to Slayer until the inevitable end finally comes.

Best moments of the album: Repentless, Vices, Chasing Death and Atrocity Vendor.

Worst moments of the album: Pride in Prejudice.

Released in 2015 Nuclear Blast

Track listing
1. Delusions of Saviour 1:55
2. Repentless 3:19
3. Take Control 3:14
4. Vices 3:32
5. Cast the First Stone 3:43
6. When the Stillness Comes 4:21
7. Chasing Death 3:45
8. Implode 3:49
9. Piano Wire 2:49
10. Atrocity Vendor 2:55
11. You Against You 4:21
12. Pride in Prejudice 4:14

Band members
Tom Araya – vocals, bass guitar
Kerry King – guitar
Gary Holt – guitar
Paul Bostaph – drums

Book Review – The Bloody Reign of Slayer

The heaviest band in the world deserved a better biography than this.

Rating5

the bloody reign of slayerNext week I’ll see one of my favorite bands of all time, Slayer, kickin’ ass again live here in Toronto, and in order to get ready to it how about reading their biography, called The Bloody Reign of Slayer? I have the Brazilian Portuguese version of it (“O Reino Sangrento do Slayer”), which has an “extra” introductory chapter from a guy called Tor Tauil (from the Brazilian horror punk band Zumbis do Espaço) who says something that cannot be more true: if you don’t have any of the Slayer albums, you don’t deserve to live. However, the book is not that good.

The English version of the book, published by Omnibus Press, has 320 pages and is basically divided by album: each chapter is dedicated to the years of the band following the release of their albums, for example, chapter SOUTH OF HEAVEN goes from 1988 to 1989 and chapter DIVINE INTERVENTION goes from 1995 to 1997. It goes like this until 2008 and makes some predictions about the future of the band; there’s nothing about World Painted Blood or the death of Jeff Hanneman, of course. Moreover, each chapter focus more on the songs or the meaning of the songs from each album, which is something we can get in any album review, instead of trying to show us a different angle of the band that no one knows about.

Bloody_Reign_Slayer_BackThe first chapter is about the beginnings of the band, explaining where each member was born, how their lives were before forming Slayer, their musical influences etc. It’s good information for any Heavy Metal fan, although nothing really special or unique is told unless you had no idea Tom Araya was born in Chile and Dave Lombardo in Cuba. By the way, that’s the main issue I found with the book, the fact that it has a lot of information and details about the albums and tours, but it lacks depth in terms of the “secrets” of the band.

Many other bands and musicians are mentioned by the author Joel McIver in different chapters, especially the guys from Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax and all other Thrash Metal bands that started together with Slayer, as well as new band members like Paul Bostaph, but again, they’re just part of the whole story and there’s nothing that can be considered “above and beyond” regarding the details provided. Jeff Hanneman (RIP) was the most obscure member of Slayer, so why not dedicating an entire chapter to his unconventional life? Of course the author didn’t know Jeff was going to die in 2013, but everyone knew he was not a regular musician and his personal life could add a lot more value to the book.

Reino_Sangrento_Slayer_Brazil

O Reino Sangrento do Slayer (Brazilian Portuguese version)

There are also some interesting pictures in the middle of the book and some funny quotes from each band member, and maybe these are the best moments of it. I cannot say that I wouldn’t recommend The Bloody Reign of Slayer, it’s just that if you’re a long-time fan of the band there won’t be much that you don’t know already about Tom, Kerry, Jeff and Dave in the book.

Anyway, if you’re still interested in knowing a little more about Slayer, you can find the book at Amazon.ca, or at Chapters.Indigo.ca in a Trade Paperback version or the Kobo Edition (eBook). The price is not bad, between 10 and 15 Canadian dollars, so I would say it’s worth the investment if you have some extra money and especially if you already have all Slayer albums, because their music is definitely a billion times more exciting than anything in this  good but not marvellous biography.

Home Video Review – Slayer / Live Intrusion (1995)

Are you looking for a creepy horror movie for Halloween? How about Slayer’s extremely “soft” first home video instead?

Rating2

Slayer_Live IntrusionContinuing with the countdown to Slayer live in Toronto next month, I would like to give my opinion about one of the first VHS of my life. Back in the 90’s, MTV was growing and becoming more and more important, making almost all bands care a lot more about their videos rather than their own music. Fortunately, when we talk about Slayer the words “MTV” or “commercial” are rarely used, unless we add the prefix “non” in front of them, and that’s exactly what you’ll find in their debut home video called Live Intrusion: a high quality concert, full of heavy riffs and classic songs and that has almost zero commercial appeal to regular people, but for the band’s diehard fans it’s close to perfection.

Filmed at the Mesa Amphitheater in Mesa, Arizona on March 12, 1995 during Slayer’s “Divine Intourvention” around the US, and launched later that same year (there’s also a DVD version released in 2010), Live Intrusion is pure devastation, starting with the insane duo of Raining Blood and Killing Fields until the apocalyptic ending with Chemical Warfare. In fact, before the concert actually starts the video presents us that infamous footage of a guy having his arm scarified with the word SLAYER, then adding alcohol to it and setting it on fire, which in my opinion is the best “intro” of all time to a Thrash Metal concert. If this doesn’t pump you up for the rest of the video, maybe you should press stop and start watching the new One Direction movie instead, because for me this means you’re a total pussy!

Slayer_Live Intrusion02Regarding the setlist, there are many long-forgotten songs from this concert that I would love to see slayer playing again live such as Killing Fields, Sex. Murder. Art. And 213. By the Way, I think they should reintroduce some songs from Divine Intervention, Diabolus in Musica and God Hates Us All in their current setlist, especially now that the band has Paul Bostaph back on drums, and I’m pretty sure Gary Holt would be able to play any of them easily. The fans would love to have even more power added to the mosh pits with some of the fastest songs from those albums.

One of the top moments of the entire show is when guitar/singer Robb Flynn (Machine Head) and drummer Chris Kontos (ex-Machine Head) join Slayer on stage to perform an incredibly heavy version of the song Witching Hour, from Black Metal pioneers Venom. The reaction from the crowd is absolutely insane! Speaking of which, the fans are crazy from start to finish, and instead of morons wasting their time filming the concert what we see are true metalheads screaming, bleeding and banging their heads non-stop in the middle of monstrous circle pits. Good times!

To sum up, Live Intrusion is an excellent opportunity to see Tom, Kerry, Jeff (R.I.P.) and Paul in top form executing perfectly many all-time classics from Slayer’s unparalleled career (what they do in War Ensemble and Angel of Death, for example, is beyond brutal) as well as some great unusual songs, complemented by an amazing crowd and some hilarious footage between some of the songs. So forget about pussies like Freddy Krueger, Jason or Michael Myers, and spend this Halloween enjoying some beers with your friends while watching one of the most bestial videos in the History of Heavy Metal.

Best moments of the video: Raining Blood/Killing Fields, At Dawn They Sleep, Dittohead and Witching Hour.

Worst moments of the video: Absolutely none.

Released in 1995 American Recordings

Track listing
1. Raining Blood 4:23
2. Killing Fields 3:56
3. War Ensemble 4:51
4. At Dawn They Sleep 5:03
5. Divine Intervention 5:33
6. Dittohead 2:50
7. Captor of Sin 3:21
8. 213 4:51
9. South of Heaven 4:58
10. Sex. Murder. Art.  1:50
11. Mandatory Suicide 4:03
12. Angel of Death 4:50
13. Hell Awaits 4:53
14. Witching Hour (Venom cover) 2:54
15. Chemical Warfare 5:17

Band members
Tom Araya – bass, vocals
Jeff Hanneman – guitar
Kerry King – guitar
Paul Bostaph – drums

Album Review – Slayer / God Hates Us All (2001)

It’s heavy, fast, furious, controversial, violent, and more important than that, it’s Slayer.

Rating3

Slayer-GodHatesUsAllAs Thrash Metal titans Slayer will be performing live here in Toronto on November 21, I decided to write some posts dedicated to them, one of my top bands of all time together with Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. The first one is about an album that might not be as classic as Reign In Blood or South of Heaven, but it is for sure one of their most badass records to date, starting by its controversial name: God Hates Us All. Can you think of a more impactful name for a Thrash Metal album than that? I don’t think so.

There are no ballads in this album (in fact, there are no ballads in ANY Slayer album!), no acoustic songs, no beautiful lyrics or moral lessons. Kerry King may not be the best lyricist in the world, but he delivers the message he wants in every song, which in this album are more focused on religion and revenge than any previous Slayer albums. Not only that, none of the lyrics is suitable at all for any religious person. And what can I say about the album art? It’s a masterpiece that perfectly represents the musical content in God Hates Us All. I just feel sorry for the fans that couldn’t buy the album with its regular version of the front cover, but with that shitty white one instead (see it HERE).

Before the massacre starts, there a truly badass intro, Darkness of Christ, which is there to pump you up and show you what’s about to happen with your neck. Then comes the classic Disciple, one of the best and heaviest Slayer songs ever, with an awesome chorus that will make you scream the name of the album out loud every time you hear it until you lose your voice. God hates us all! God hates us all! If you’re a very religious person, well, stop listening to this album before you reach the next song: God Send Death is another powerful track, also excellent when played live and again with strong dark lyrics.

SlayerThe sequence of tracks after that, from New Faith to Seven Faces, shows a more modern Slayer, maybe not as modern as what they did in Diabolus in Musica but modern enough to make some diehard fans a little distrustful. It’s good material, though, especially the song Exile. After that, the band delivers us a not so fast track, but as heavy as it can be: Bloodline, which also featured in the soundtrack of the movie Dracula 2000, has the best lyrics of the album, a cool heavy riff, and an excellent chorus. It’s the only reason why I would watch that movie again, because honestly it’s a very bad one! After Deviance, the weakest track of the album for me, we have three amazing songs: War Zone is perfect for mosh pits, Here Comes the Pain has a very nice riff, and Payback is recommended for anyone that is looking for, well, a violent payback.

What doesn’t change in the whole album is how amazing the band is: Tom with his unique voice, Kerry and Jeff with an avalanche of sick riffs and solos, and Paul smashing his drums like there’s no tomorrow. Although I consider Dave Lombardo the best drummer in the world, I also enjoy Paul Bostaph with his insane speed and technique. This guy is a monster behind his drums, especially when he plays live, and all the material he recorded with Slayer, Testament, Exodus etc. is pure Thrash Metal worth every penny. In my humble opinion, God Hates Us All is the best album with Bostaph on drums, and if you don’t agree with me just listen to War Zone, Payback or God Send Death and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

In summary, a very substantial Thrash Metal album with a more modern Slayer than usual, recommended for anyone who wants to bang their heads until they break their necks. Besides, it’s FUCKIN’ SLAYER after all!

Best moments of the album: Disciple, God Send Death, Bloodline and Payback.

Worst moments of the album: Seven Faces and Deviance.

Released in 2001 American Recordings

 Track listing
1. Darkness of Christ 1:30
2. Disciple 3:35
3. God Send Death 3:45
4. New Faith 3:05
5. Cast Down 3:26
6. Threshold 2:29
7. Exile 3:55
8. Seven Faces 3:41
9. Bloodline 3:36
10. Deviance 3:08
11. War Zone 2:45
12. Here Comes the Pain 4:32
13. Payback 3:03

Band members
Tom Araya – bass guitar, vocals
Jeff Hanneman – guitar
Kerry King – guitar
Paul Bostaph – drums