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3.21 | 49 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2006

Filed under Thrash Metal


1. Flesh Storm (4:16)
2. Catalyst (3:09)
3. Eyes of the Insane (3:25)
4. Jihad (3:32)
5. Skeleton Christ (4:24)
6. Consfearacy (3:09)
7. Black Serenade (3:18)
8. Catatonic (4:56)
9. Cult (4:42)
10. Supremist (3:51)

Total Time: 38:42


- Tom Araya / bass, vocals
- Kerry King / guitar
- Jeff Hanneman / guitar
- Dave Lombardo / drums

About this release

American Recordings, 2006. The cover art was censored in some pressings.

Thanks to Pekka, The Angry Scotsman for the updates


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Though I concur with the general consensus that the Slayer sound went a little off-course after Seasons In the Abyss, I actually think God Hates Us All represented the beginning of the band pulling things together - not to a sufficient extent to add another full-blown classic to the Slayer discography, mind, but enough that Slayer could turn out an album which wasn't a flat-out embarrassment set next to their earlier work, even though it wasn't exactly a classic to set alongside their best pieces either.

The comeback was firmed up on Christ Illusion, with the return of Dave Lombardo reuniting the classic Slayer lineup. Though I don't want to cast any doubts on Paul Bostaph's ability as a drummer, I have to say having Lombardo back with the band really helps Slayer on Christ Illusion; his drumming adds just the right bit of extra fire and fury which is needed to take the material on here to the next level. The restoration of the classic lineup also sees Slayer angling slightly more for the nostalgia market, with affectations borrowed from more recent metal toned down.

If I had to highlight a weak point of the album, I'd say Tom Araya's vocals are rather grating - whereas on classics like Reign In Blood he seemed to be in the middle of an angry rant, here he just seems to be yelling to be heard above the music. Still, on the while I'd say Christ Illusion is something of a return to form for the band, the main caveat being that that form tends to consist of Slayer paying tribute to classic Slayer rather than really carving out something truly new.
The Angry Scotsman
Righting the Ship.

When I first heard this album upon its release, I was underwhelmed. It sounded samey. No song variation, all the same thrashing along, (this is Slayer I know) the vocals weren't very good and frankly it sounded lifeless and uninspired. So I wasn't surprised at all to find out this album was not ready, by the bands admittance, and that Kerry King wrote most of the music, explaining its lackluster songwriting. Basically, this was safe Slayer with a few intriguing songs.

Well, I changed my tune with time. While this album is not groundbreaking in any way, it is competent thrash metal. So for fans of Slayer, longing for the good ol days, here it is. However, while there isn't much variation this album is more than simple thrash I found out. It is interplayed with some serious groove and mid tempo parts, which does keep the album moving. Thrash and groove, OK won't complain there.

"Skeleton Christ" is more moderate and has a groovy feel, while "Catatonic" really plows along with drop B, syncopated, slow to mid pace riffing never reaching "thrash" levels. Some will say they haven't escaped the nu metal but I find it a refreshing change of pace, and since its just a small part of the album, it doesn't overstay the welcome.

There are 3 songs that actually stand out, (which are my favorites) "Cult" with its progressing, pounding intro, "Eyes of the Insane" with its intriguing song structure, riffing, mid pace thrash and cool solos. My favorite song is "Jihad" featuring an awesome and unusual finger plucked intro (!) with a cadence like hi-hat rhythm, followed by a crazy spidery riff and then the thrash. There are some "frantic breakdowns" and a cool outro that builds, plus the music and voice sample work together really well.

The riffing is pretty awesome as always, and Dave Lombardo is back! Greta to have the original band back, but from the very first listen I was shocked to hear his drumming! Never very inspiring, (he was a more extreme Lars) Dave's time away taught him how to be a drummer. He still thrashes away and unleashes torrents of double bass, but there's more than that. Actually it's a pretty varied output by Lombardo.

The vocals are not very good, serviceable at best, grating at worst, but it works well enough... The lyrics, even for Slayer, are pretty horrid. Anti-religious rants are old news but here they are downright juvenile. A 14 year old who is rebelling and starting to swear a lot could write this stuff. Exceptions being "Eyes of the Insane" about soldiers dealing with post traumatic stress from the Iraq War and "Jihad" which looks at 9/11 from the view of an involved terrorist. Lyrics of both were written by Araya...

So, "Christ Illusion" is a good album. Slayer's return to form, it should please most fans of Slayer and thrash metal. Nothing earth shattering but it is a good thrash album with some interesting songs.

Three Stars

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