Legendary thrash metal band Slayer have released their first song from their upcoming album. Following the sad death of founding guitarist Jeff Hanneman last year, they’ve decided to perform as a three piece in the studio, with Tom Araya and Kerry King reuniting with Paul Bostaph on drums after Dave Lombardo’s second departure from the band. With these lineup changes it definitely made a negative impact on their sound. Jeff wrote a lot of their best songs, and it’s obvious that he’s sorely missed, because the guitar work here is just plain dull. The intro is a boring slow groove metal riff, and it doesn’t improve much from then on out. It speeds up a little in the middle with some thrashier riffs, but they’re just as boring and just sound lazy, unaided by a muddy, lifeless guitar tone. The solos are just showcases of wah pedal abuse, and they just sound obnoxious and annoying, certainly not thrashy and face melting. Its not a terrible performance, but you want more from a band such as Slayer. Bostaph is no Lombardo either, and it really does show. There’s nothing interesting to his drumming, he simply keeps rhythm, and doesn’t play any interesting fills, or even really change it up through the whole length of the song. Perhaps their biggest asset these days is Tom Araya’s voice. He’s never been anything less than vicious in his delivery and leave’s you hanging off his every word. Sure there’s no screams like the early days anymore, but his high pitched yells in the chorus are pretty damned awesome nonetheless, his voice is brimming with venom and energy as usual. The lyrics are nothing special though, World Painted Blood had some great ones in Not of this God and Hate Worldwide, but these seem like lyrics that didn’t make it onto the album. Dissatisfaction with the modern world, and lazy shots at religion, they’ve done it before and they’ve done it better. And the mention of “World War ten” is simply bad enough to make you roll your eyes. Overall it’s a pretty average song, even for their later material. Great vocals as usual, but with mediocre riffs and lyrics as well as bland drums, it seems like Slayer is becoming more and more irrelevant, as sad as it is to say. It’s okay enough that hardcore Slayer fans will like it, but for everyone else it will probably be passed over.
The new album will be released next year via Nuclear Blast, having signed to the label for its release.