Super Collider

Why all the hate? It seems the majority of people out there expect Mustaine and Megadeth to template its sonic signature and release slightly modified copies every few years for public consumption. "Super Collider" is one of the best Megadeth offerings in years precisely because the band has taken some risks and shown the ability to step outside the thrash and speed box they helped pioneer.There’s plenty to like here, a little to love, and simply no reason to hate. Sure, there are a lack of uptempo thrashers: Much of the album clocks in at the mid-tempo range, but there’s enough to make you happy, and plenty of new shades of Megadeth to enjoy.

The band once again tapped producer Johnny K (Machine Head, Sevendust, Disturbed) to help helm the record.The album kicks off in classic Megadeth fashion: “Kingmaker” is vintage Dave Mustaine and Dave Ellefson. A strong start to the record, it is packed with pulse-racing riffery, rumbling bass, an onslaught of stick and skin work, and Mustaine’s trademark grimace and growl vocals.The title track takes Megadeth a bit out of their zone and more into a classic hard rock sound. “Super Collider” is a perfect song for cranking up the Harley and hitting the highway. It’s not truly built for Mustaine’s vocal style, but he makes it work. More important, we see Mustaine stretching his songwriting chops and letting go of the need for speed. Ellefson has some sweet bass runs on this track.A great opening guitar lead-in sets off “Burn!”, with stellar fretwork from Chris Broderick throughout. There is even some nice bluesy groove in the chorus. Meanwhile, “Built For War” adds a touch of Rob Zombie chug on the verses. The song helps establish "Super Collider" as a powerful yet varied sonic slab of metal. Sure there are a bunch of lyrical clichés here, but this is heavy metal damn it, and we worship at the altar of such common man imagery: “Built for war, what do you think your fists are for?” Much like “Off the Edge” before it,”Dance in the Rain” looks at the darkness of our world and you can just feel Mustaine seething with the current political state of America. Unlike the former, which is something of a quietly easy track to dismiss, “Dance in the Rain” is a memorable mid-tempo rocker. A dreary intro leads into Mustaine laying out our daily misery. Shawn Drover, who is exceptional throughout this album adds some tasty nuances here. The subtle tempo changes add depth. Just before the four-minute mark, the song jaunts off in another direction filled with fast-descending nano-riffs and some nice cameo vocals from David Draiman (Disturbed, Device). It sort of feels somewhat like two song ideas were spliced together, but it works. It’s big and bombastic, and should be a beast live. “Beginning of Sorrow” is a full band effort and offers perhaps the most modern feel of any track on the record. Ellefson’s bass just throbs on this one. Nice spiraling lead work overlays heavy and undulating rhythms.“The Blackest Crow” really takes Megadeth in a brave new direction. The intro begins with an eerie cinematic vibe that recalls a war-torn Southern backwoods with its ganjo plucking and military drum beat. It’s easily the album’s most intriguing track, and a real treat for fans who can appreciate the maturation in songwriting. Mustaine even whips out of bit of slide guitar. Lyrically the song tackles Alzheimers as does the track “Forget to Remember” which itself feels like a Great White song with bigger, hairier balls. The vocal whispers add a nice touch.The guys get their blues groove on “Don’t Turn Your Back” before spinning it into one of the album’s few juggernauts. The album closes out with a beefy version of Thin Lizzy‘s “Cold Sweat”. They pay it due respect but crank up the edge to 11.

In all, "Super Collider" proves that Megadeth is more than a one-riff pony, and the variety displayed here is perhaps long overdue from these metal icons who no longer have anything to prove. Let the elitists pass over one of the band’s finer moments so they can languish in their limited comfort-zones. "Super Collider" delivers on every level and those who take the time to soak it in will hear its magnitude (Rustyn Rose for wrote this review, and it's a properly detailed, overall correct review as compared to the overwhelming negative reviews coming out from every corner of the world, including Allmusic seemed "unhappily" bias this time around, and this album deserves a well balanced persective. One will ultimately come to a conclusion, however, if they care for the record regardless of a review. So, in the end the music will speak for itself, so check it out today!).
Worship Music

 Anthrax fans have had no choice but to be very patient waiting for the arrival of the group's tenth studio album overall, 2011's Worship Music. Doubling as the first Anthrax studio album since 2003's We've Come for You All and the first with singer Joey Belladonna since 1990's Persistence of Time, Worship Music was also recorded once before with singer Dan Nelson, and was to be released in 2009. After the group parted ways with Nelson shortly before the album's projected release, Belladonna was welcomed back into the fold, and all the vocals were re-recorded. But to Anthrax's credit, it all fits together seamlessly, resulting in arguably their finest studio album since, well, the last one that Belladonna sang on! With vintage '80s metal sounds reconnecting with the masses in the early 21st century, one of thrash metal's originators picked a fine time to unleash a strong and inspired effort, especially on such standout stompers as "The Devil You Know," "Fight 'Em 'Til You Can't," and "In the End." And while the subject of "Judas Priest" is not the heavy metal band of the same name, the track still serves as a tip of the cap to one of heavy metal's all-time greats (and what makes the tribute even more fitting is that the year that Worship Music was released, Halford and company announced their impending retirement from touring). As with past Anthrax records, it's not all about pushing the pedal to the metal from start to finish, as evidenced by the slowly building beginnings of "I'm Alive" and "Crawl." Despite the long Boston/Def Leppard-esque layoff, Anthrax certainly deliver with Worship Music.

Megadeth's 13th studio album, and first since 2001’s The World Needs a Hero to utilize the talents of bassist/founding member Dave Ellefson, was produced by Johnny K (Staind, Disturbed) and features a combination of newly composed tracks, along with older cuts written years ago but never put to tape. Darker, heavier, and more immediate than 2009's Endgame, Dave Mustaine's snarling vocals ride higher in the mix this time around, but fans need not fear, as his fleet fingers are still possessed with the power to conjure the dead. Much of the aptly named Th1rt3en feels vintage, from the familiar political themes on “We the People” and the tightly wound, Dio-esque riffing on “Public Enemy No. 1” to the soft, melodramatic military snare intro of “Never Dead,” which eventually explodes into a wicked blast of retro-thrash that feels positively invigorating, not redundant. Elsewhere, the melodic slow-burn “Millennium of the Blind” fuses Ten Years After's “I’d Love to Change the World” and Metallica's “Fade to Black” into an anti-corporation/war rant that calls out the “millennials” on their submissiveness, the snaky “Black Swan” casts long shadows that mimic “Symphony of Destruction,” and first single “Sudden Death” stands defiant before the skeptics who thought that Mustaine's newfound faith would render him bereft of the old ultraviolence.
World Painted Blood
There will no doubt be a lot of hoopla concerning the name Slayer have chosen for World Painted Blood. In many ways, it could have been called Reign in Blood Revisited. But the word "revisited " is the key. Some compositions on this new recording have more of the band's early-style melody in them, with lightning flare-up riffs between verses; quick, unexpected guitar pyrotechnics; and blastbeat power drumming from Dave Lombardo (the band's original drummer who returned to the lineup for 2006's Christ Illusion) pushing it all into the red. But there are mannerisms and strategies from the band's later albums at work as well — even if they are unconsciously employed. Christ Illusion reached deep into Slayer's old bag of tricks to reorient themselves to more speed-based playing after the midtempo records of the late '90s, and there was a fantastic concentration on riffs and call and response between the guitars and rhythm section. On World Painted Blood the focus is more on songs, and therefore the return of the "melodic" aspect of the band's past — and let's face it, during the classic years Slayer were peerless in that department. The riffs make sense in the context of Tom Araya's sung verses, and so do the considerable beats. Check the opener with its intricate instrumental intro bracing the listener for the eruption of power that follows — Araya's spoken word interludes notwithstanding. "Americon" combines wah-wah riff heaviness with thundercrack drumming and Araya's downtuned bassline. Check the speed and intense guitar exchanges in "Public Display of Dismemberment" and "Psychopathy Red" for the best evidence of Slayer at their most powerful on this set. Despite great songs and great playing, there are more midtempo tracks here than on Christ Illusion, and Greg Fidelman's production style takes a different tack altogether for this guitar-manic crew. Lombardo's drums are WAAAAAAAY up in the mix, as are Araya's vocals — you can understand every word, even on the thrashers; the guitars are simply further down in the mix and sometimes it becomes difficult to discern Araya's bass. Therefore, the first listen or two to World Painted Blood might be a bit confusing for the seasoned Slayer fan, but that changes quickly, and the sound of those drums blasting in one's head will become a more than welcome presence in the mix. [There are two other editions of World Painted Blood: the Deluxe Edition comes with a bonus DVD containing a thematic narrative (and disturbing) animated video, and the other one is on vinyl with a copy of the CD enclosed in the sleeve.]
Christ Illusion
The reunion of the original Slayer lineup appears for the first time in the studio since 1990's Seasons in the Abyss (a record that topped off one of the great four-album stands in metal history: Hell Awaits, Reign in Blood, and South of Heaven preceded it). Drummer Dave Lombardo's retaking of the drum chair places the band back on the edge, pushing themselves and the genre to look back at where they've been and where they go from here. For a band that has been together as long as Slayer has, they have never made concessions and have stubbornly refused to sound like anyone but themselves. Christ Illusion is a raging, forward-thinking heavy metal melding with hardcore thrash; this is what made them such a breath of fresh air in the first place. And while they no longer sound terrifying, that was never their point anyway. Slayer rips through these ten songs, complete with lightning changes, off-kilter rhythms, and riff invention, together with plodding crescendos, sick-as-hell guitar breaks, and dark, unrelentingly twisted-as-f*ck lyrics that reflect a singular intensity. The big themes on Christ Illusion center on the perverse myth of religion and its responsibility for, and cause of, war. One can talk about the power big-money has at stake in the Middle Eastern havoc, but the root, according to some of these songs, is the culture war between two competing myths, Christianity and Islam, that this time out could result in the apocalypse. On the opener, "Flesh Storm," Tom Araya roars the refrain above the guitars and frantic drumming: "It's all just psychotic devotion/Manipulated with no discretion/Relentless/Warfare knows no compassion/Thrives with no evolution/Unstable minds exacerbate/Unrest in peace...only the fallen have won/Because the fallen can't run/My vision's not obscure/For war there is no cure/So here the only law/Is men killing men/For someone else's cause."

Elsewhere, such as "Eyes of the Insane," the story comes in the first person from the point of view of a soldier who is suffering the effects of PTSD, yet he may or may not still be on the battlefield. Lombardo's drums open it slowly, then the Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King guitar gods create an intensely harrowing and angular riff that changes from verse to verse, through the refrain and bridge, and comes back again. Yeah, Slayer actually crafts and writes songs. Check the little skittering vamp that leads into "Jihad," where Lombardo just shimmers his hi-hat before the band begins to enter and twist and turn looking for a place to create a new rhythmic thrash that's the most insane deconstruction of four/four time on tape. The indictment of "holy war" is possible only through the telling of the narrative from a Jihadist's point of view. The blazing, low-tuned heaviness of "Consfearacy" turns the entire principle of patriotism's blind ideals into an evil joke. Araya's voice is mixed way up this time, every utterance is understandable, thanks to producer and mixer Josh Abraham and label boss Rick Rubin. This scathing rejection of religion as the cause for world conflict is best characterized in "Cult." The low-tuned, two-string vamp that slithers into the foreground creates a tension as Lombardo's cymbals call the band into the riff that opens the tune. It's slow, meaty, unrelenting in its tautness. When Araya's voice comes in, the whole track is off the rails and stays there: "Oppression is the holy war/In God I distrust...Is war and greed the Master's plan? The Bible's where it all began/Its propaganda sells despair/And spreads the virus everywhere/Religion Is hate/Religion Is fear/Religion is war...." Whether you agree with Slayer's anti-religion militancy is one thing, but their view that it underscores this war and so many preceding it has to be taken with some seriousness. And musically, they are in a league of their own. Christ Illusion creates an interesting dilemma for people of faith who like heavy metal: the stance against war here is unreproachable, but can one hang with the conflicting point of view that faith in a god is responsible for it? Given the defined presence of the vocals, one cannot simply listen to the voice as another instrument, as in much of heavy metal. One has to deal with the music and the words this time out, and yes, they're printed in the lyric booklet. Christ Illusion is an antiwar record that asks people to think for themselves. At one point Araya makes his choice, "six six six," but even that's in reaction, an irony. Christ Illusion is brilliant, stomping, scorched-earth thrash metal at its best. Lyrically, it may offend people, but getting the listener to think and make choices is what this music is all about. An anti-Christian/anti-Islam/anti-theocratic, antiwar album, Christ Illusion is essential for anyone interested in the genre.
God Hates Us All
Incredibly brutal, God Hates Us All is Slayer's most effective album since Seasons in the Abyss (1990), thanks in large part to Matt Hyde's raw production and a handful of killer songs. The previous few Slayer albums — Divine Intervention (1994), Undisputed Attitude (1996), and Diabolus in Musica (1998) — were relatively disappointing, at least for anyone familiar with the band's defining triptych of Reign in Blood (1986), South of Heaven (1988), and Seasons in the Abyss (1990). While God Hates Us All isn't on a par with those classics, without much argument one could call it a return to form for Slayer. A couple "War Ensemble"-style thrashers, "Disciple" and "New Death," get the album off to vicious start; "Payback" concludes the album likewise. On the other hand, "Bloodline" is a slower-paced, evocative song in the style of "Reign in Blood" and "South of Heaven," including a melodic chorus. These are the highlights of God Hates Us All, and while there are some passable songs sequenced throughout the 13-track album, it's solid and well-balanced overall. Especially since it arrived after a long absence, God Hates Us All should be a relief for long-time Slayer fans who were afraid the band had fallen off during the '90s, and it well may surprise newcomers unfamiliar with the band's prime recordings from the mid- to late '80s.
Diabolus in Musica
By 1998, it seems that Slayer has fully explored the possible variations on their signature style; they've had all the influence and impact they're going to, which means that in order to keep their fans' reverence and critics' respect, it's much more advisable for new Slayer material to offer competent retrenchments rather than experimentation with current trends. And they do indeed follow the former approach on Diabolus in Musica (Latin for "the devil in music"), an album that will certainly please fans while offering little that hasn't been heard before. If Divine Intervention tried (perhaps too hard) to re-create the full-on rush of the classic Reign in Blood, then Diabolus in Musica employs more of the in-between feel of Seasons in the Abyss, albeit with a thicker-sounding production and slightly more emphasis on texture than the formerly almighty riff. It may lack some of the spark and vitality of their 1980s recordings, but it's nothing to be ashamed of either. Even if their liner art keeps getting more and more graphic, the music is still the same old Slayer, and that's pretty much what sellout-wary diehards want to hear.
Divine Intervention
The rock & roll landscape changed dramatically between Seasons in the Abyss in 1990 and Divine Intervention in 1994. With the rise of alternative rock, many metal and hard rock bands that had been enormously successful at the dawn of the '90s were struggling by the middle of the decade. Instead of doing something calculated like emulating Nirvana or Pearl Jam — or for that matter, Nine Inch Nails or Ministry — Slayer wisely refused to sound like anyone but Slayer. Tom Araya and co. responded to the new environment simply by striving to be the heaviest metal band they possibly could. Less accessible than Seasons but equally riveting, Divine Intervention marked drummer Paul Bostaph's studio debut with the band. Bostaph proved to be a positive, energizing influence on Slayer, which sounds better than ever on such dark triumphs as "Killing Fields," "Serenity in Murder," and "Circle of Beliefs." Characteristically grim and morbid, Slayer focus on the violently repressive nature of governments and the lengths to which they will go to wield power. And true to form, Slayer's music is as disturbing as their lyrics.
Seasons in the Abyss
After staking out new territory with the underrated South of Heaven, Slayer brought back some of the pounding speed of Reign in Blood for their third major-label album, Seasons in the Abyss. Essentially, Seasons fuses its two predecessors, periodically kicking up the mid-tempo grooves of South of Heaven with manic bursts of aggression. "War Ensemble" and the title track each represented opposite sides of the coin, and they both earned Slayer their heaviest MTV airplay to date. In fact, Seasons in the Abyss is probably their most accessible album, displaying the full range of their abilities all in one place, with sharp, clean production. Since the band is refining rather than progressing or experimenting, Seasons doesn't have quite the freshness of its predecessors, but aside from that drawback, it's strong almost all the way from top to bottom (with perhaps one or two exceptions). Lyrically, the band rarely turns to demonic visions of the afterlife anymore, preferring instead to find tangible horror in real life — war, murder, human weakness. There's even full-fledged social criticism, which should convince any doubters that Slayer aren't trying to promote the subjects they sing about. Like Metallica's Master of Puppets or Megadeth's Peace Sells...but Who's Buying, Seasons in the Abyss paints Reagan-era America as a cesspool of corruption and cruelty, and the music is as devilishly effective as ever.
South of Heaven
When it comes to death metal, no band is more convincing than Slayer. For other bands, focusing on death, Satanism, the supernatural, and the occult became a cliché; but Slayer's controversial reflections on evil always came across as honest and heartfelt. The group's sincerity is the thing that makes South of Heaven so disturbing and powerful -- when the influential thrashers rip into such morbid fare as "Spill the Blood," "Mandatory Suicide," and "Ghosts of War," they are frighteningly convincing. With their fourth album, Slayer began to slow their tempos without sacrificing an iota of heaviness or incorporating any pop elements. South of Heaven would be Slayer's last album for Def Jam. When Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons (brother of Joseph "Run" Simmons of Run-D.M.C.) parted company, Slayer went to Rubin's new company Def American, while LL Cool J, Slick Rick, and other rappers recorded for Simmons at Def Jam.
Reign in Blood
Widely considered the pinnacle of speed metal, Reign in Blood is Slayer's undisputed masterpiece, a brief (under half an hour) but relentless onslaught that instantly obliterates anything in its path and clears out just as quickly. Producer Rick Rubin gives the band a clear, punchy sound for the first time in its career, and they largely discard the extended pieces of Hell Awaits in favor of lean assaults somewhat reminiscent of hardcore punk (though distinctly metallic and much more technically demanding). Reign in Blood opens and closes with slightly longer tracks (the classics "Angel of Death" and "Raining Blood") whose slower riffs offer most of the album's few hints of melody. Sandwiched in between are eight short (all under three minutes), lightning-fast bursts of aggression that change tempo or feel without warning, producing a disjointed, barely controlled effect. The album is actually more precise than it sounds, and not without a sense of groove, but even in the brief slowdowns, the intensity never lets up. There may not be much variation, but it's a unified vision, and a horrific one at that. The riffs are built on atonal chromaticism that sounds as sickening as the graphic violence depicted in many of the lyrics, and Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman's demented soloing often mimics the screams of the songs' victims. It's monstrously, terrifyingly evocative, in a way that transcends Reign in Blood's metal origins. The album almost single-handedly inspired the entire death metal genre (at least on the American side of the Atlantic), and unlike many of its imitators, it never crosses the line into self-parodic overkill. Reign in Blood was a stone-cold classic upon its release, and it hasn't lost an ounce of its power today.
Hell Awaits
When it was released in 1985, Slayer's second full album, Hell Awaits, seemed to many a nearly impenetrable cacophony of sound. However, it proved to be incredibly ahead of its time instead, and has since been confirmed as a mandatory item in the band's remarkable discography. Why? Well, despite its many memorable tunes, the songwriting on Slayer's 1983 debut, Show No Mercy, was firmly entrenched in blues-based punk/metal, and it wasn't until the following year's more excessive Haunting the Chapel EP that the band began adding the unusual arrangements, varying tempos, and dissonant nuances that paved the way to a wholly distinctive sound all their own. These experiments (rooted in the at once ingenious and ingenuous innovations of Venom's early work) were fleshed out even further on Hell Awaits; starting with the terrifying title track, continuing through the mesmerizing "At Dawn They Sleep," and arguably pushed over the limit of reason by the corrosive "Hardening of the Arteries." Here, the listener is introduced to a far more technical, almost progressive, side of Slayer -- a side never heard before and rarely since, for that matter. Meanwhile, comparatively straightforward thrashers like "Kill Again" and "Necrophiliac" made it plain that the group's love of pure speed remained intact, even if here, their sharp-edged riffs were often buried in overwhelming distortion. And perhaps most crucial of all, the musical backdrops unleashed by all the above (as well as equally worthy entries "Praise of Death" and "Crypts of Eternity") actually managed to inflict a true sense of horror and fear on par with their lyrics -- therefore marking Hell Awaits as the first album unmistakable as coming from anyone else but Slayer. True, it was ultimately eclipsed by its peerless successor, Reign in Blood (still largely considered the greatest thrash metal album ever recorded), as an irresistible force, but one could still make a confident point that Hell Awaits' uniquely daunting compositions arguably proved just as influential to future extreme metal acts.
Show No Mercy
Released at the forefront of the early-'80s thrash movement, Show No Mercy proved to be only a small step toward Slayer's domination of the extreme metal scene, basically amounting to a cleaned-up version of black metal stalwarts Venom. Everything about this album, from the production to the musicianship, is amateurish compared to later releases, but in the same way Metallica was on their own debut, Kill 'Em All. Despite the band's shortcomings, a number of future classics are present on this album, including concert favorites "The Antichrist," "Die by the Sword," and "Black Magic." Show No Mercy remains a solid, if inessential, part of the Slayer legacy. [The 1987 reissue includes three tracks from the Haunting the Chapel EP, though those have since been omitted in favor of both records being independently re-released.] (With all reviews, remember to take them with a grain of salt, because not all of them are spot on in all aspects and this review is proof of that.)
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