The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website


Slayer's World Painted Blood Track By Track Review
Toby Cook , September 15th, 2009 05:11

Stern jawed metal youth Toby Cook appraises the first mix of Slayer's new album World Painted Blood


World Painted Blood

Opening in a subtle, and uncharacteristically brooding style, the immediate fear here is that age and mellowness may finally have claimed Slayer too. Feedback and hushed chanting make way for a guitar riff that you think you've heard before, until... it goes fucking mental! Araya screams that “there's poison in your veins” before making way for Jeff Hanneman to indulge in some tremolo arm abuse, his guitar making the sound that pigs make when you force them to smoke.

Unit 731

Only Slayer could pick a subject like Unit 731 – a covert biological and chemical warfare research and development unit of the Imperial Japanese Army, that undertook lethal human experimentation during the Second Sino-Japanese War that, frankly, leaving Josef Mengele looking like a rank amateur – and make it sound this good. Not to mention appropriately brutal. If the previous track caused a suspicion Slayer are slowing with age, then 'Unit 731' completely assuages those fears – full on, mega-fast thrash; no frills, no solos, just under three minutes of bloody-minded thrash-as-fuck metal.


Wah! The smoking pigs are back! No warning shots here – no brace of fire across the bow, just Jeff Hanneman shredding like it's 1988 from the very first second. 'Snuff' quite literally rips your innards out or your asshole as... well, just it just does – it's Slayer, they can do that. Less convoluted in subject matter than previous numbers, there is a barbaric beauty to the lyrics: “Torture, misery, endless suffering; pleasing to the eye”. The stand out number so far.

Beauty Through Order

Either Kerry King has developed a case of OCD, or Jeff Hanneman's much publicised interest in Nazism is rearing its head – not that it matters either way. A slower pace than anything that has so far appeared, 'Beauty Through Order' honestly would not look out of place were it shoehorned somewhere into the middle of Seasons In The Abyss. That's a good thing by the way.

Hate Worldwide

So the mid-album slump appears. First impressions here are that, well, this is merely Slayer by numbers. Not that it's an awfully bad track – it still kicks the down-tuned shit out of anything on Diabolus In Musica for example. It's fast and the riffs are sound but in a simultaneously good and bad way, it serves more to put you in the mood for anything off South Of Heaven or Divine Intervention than it does make you want to continue listening to the rest of the LP.

Public Display Of Dismemberment

Fuck me! Heavy as a very heavy thing, fast as a, erm, very fast thing. Dave Lombardo's kick drumming alone moves at the speed of an ADHD kid, wired on cheap narcotics. But therein lies the flaw; Dave Lombardo's drumming is pretty much the only memorable thing here. Filler is perhaps too stronger word, in part due to the fact that 'Filler' connotes that it's cack, and that it's not. It does however inspire you to immediately revisit older material.

Human Stain

Presumably the title has nothing to do with the book or film of the same name – as they're both dull, soporific piss, and this is the SLAYYYARRRGHHH! we've been waiting for. A slow, brooding and downright creepy intro once again brings to mind Seasons... era awesomeness. Granted the change of pace is not wholly welcome after such a full on previous track, but by the time the mid-song bridge – complete with alarmingly subtle, plucked guitar strains and Araya's haunting spoken lyrics – you'll have forgotten that you cared. Like classic Slayer, only better(ish).


Tight, driving and almost tribal drums lead us into a song about oil wars. On a purely personal note, it's disappointing to see Slayer attack such and easy target in such a ham fisted way. Granted that attacking organised religion is nothing new – and Slayer do it ad-nausum – but there is more often than not a satisfyingly brutal simplicity to it – God Hates Us All sounds fucking awesome, but this doesn't. Iraq, oil – it's all a bit 2008. On the plus side, Hanneman seems suitably pissed off enough to hammer his jack-boots into his Wah Wah almost constantly. The inclusion of a rather stereotyped, eastern sounding solo towards the close is also disappointing.

Psychopathy Red

Very fast, very Slayer – not bad, but by no means inspiring. Hanneman and King's guitar work during the verse is solid at best but the one real surprise is the prominence of Araya's bass, which leads to the question as to whether the copy bestowed upon the Quietus is not the finished mix. Whilst up until this point the production has been as near perfect as you would want in a Slayer LP, the niggling thought is that it's simply not beefy enough, especially when compared to the staggering, lumbering weight of Christ Illusion. Even Araya's vocals appear uncommonly strained towards the end.

Playing With Dolls

Slow, plucked guitar notes lead us into what could be described as Slayer's 'Stairway to Heaven'... Nah, fuck do they! Ok, so there is morose, picked harmonics but augmented by heavy, ossified guitar chords. This is once again pure, vintage Slayer. Alarmingly though, the ebb and flow of the latter portion of the track becomes very disjointed and at best will just fuck up any attempt to air guitar, whilst at worst feels like the malfunctioning of several good ideas that perhaps should have been developed further in other tracks.

Not Of This God

Vanessa Williams did it, and now Slayer have too; saving the best for last? You bet your LA Raiders jersey they did! As if you needed reminding, Slayer set about closing what is, admittedly a hit and miss album with an absolute killer. Whilst the opening salvo of supersonic riffery is not the best, by the time the beat down hits the entire track is flipped on its head, bringing to mind the scathing brutality of God Hates Us All; King's guitar is used as a piledriver, Lombardo's drums, wrecking balls and something on his farm must have really pissed off Tom Araya, because you can almost feel his bile expectorate out if the speaker cones.