Slayer fans have been waiting for years for an album
like Christ Illusion to come around, if only for the
reason that it was to feature the original line up for the
first time since drummer Dave Lombardo left the band after
Seasons in the Abyss. This is also significant as most
feel Slayer hasn't been the same since then. Just about
every fan will point to the period where Reign In Blood,
South of Heaven and Seasons in the Abyss were
released as the strongest point in the band's existence and
quite possibly one of the more important moments in metal
In Christ Illusion, though, Slayer fans finally
get what feels like a true follow up to Seasons in the
Abyss. It's obvious from the inception of the opening
track, Flesh Storm, that Dave is back in the drum kit.
His beats are intense, high-speed and brutally unforgiving.
Kerry and Jeff's guitars have a familiar feel to them - rigidly
aggressive, pounding a slaughter of tone at the listener.
Tom's bass is back where it's always been, well hidden behind
the drums and guitars, allowing him far more time to yell
and scream the openly hostile lyrics at the listener.
As stated before, the album opens in a blistering rage with
Flesh Storm. It's a high speed romp that eventually
slows down enough for Tom to wail "It's all just psychotic
devotion...." Catalyst throws in right afterward,
feeling like a new take on the Reign in Blood era Slayer
- heavy in punk attitude and unforgiving in it's approach.
This is followed by Skeleton Christ, a slower paced
thrash fest that has a great tone.
The fourth track, Eyes of the Insane is a bit contentious
among people I spoke with. Most couldn't stand it, but I rather
enjoyed the slower, more dull-toned piece. If there's any
problem it's that the song feels a little out of place on
this album. Jihad opens in a high pitch that evolves
into traditional Slayer maniacal metal. Consfearacy
has a great Seasons in the Abyss feel to it. Catatonic
opens slowly and seems to be taking it's time, but builds
into a rage, with Tom screaming the song title as violently
as he can.
Black Serenade opens with an awesome groove that
grows fast and intense with little build up. Cult begins
with a South of Heaven like intro, toying with slower,
lower tones, but snaps into a more intense pace that fits
the album well. The last track, Supremist ends the
album on a good note, fast, intense and dark.
Lyrically, there are times where the songs are inspired,
and other times where it just seems like they're using satanic
Mad Libs. And some of the lyrics are so uninspired that I'm
beginning to think the well is running dry. Really, do we
need to hear Tom yelling "666"? It's clichéd
and I would think that Slayer could certainly write
While there are some rough spots here, Christ Illusion
is the best thing the band has put out since Seasons in
the Abyss. Having the original lineup back is promising
and I hope that future albums put the band right back on track.