Sound — 10
My only concern leading up to the release of World Painted Blood was the fact it was overseen by the same production team behind Metallica's recent Death Magnetic. I enjoyed Death Magnetic, however it was mixed poorly in my opinion. Fortunately, after listening to World Painted Blood for the first time, I was greeted by the same furious head-popping metal that Slayer has always delivered. Araya, King, Hanneman, and Lombardo pull out absolutely everything for this album. Of course you get traditional face-melting thrash songs (Unit 731, Snuff, Hate Worldwide, Public Display of Dismemberment, Psychopathy Red), but I was pleasantly surprised to find slower, moodier songs that remind me fondly of the South of Heaven and Seasons era (World Painted Blood, Beauty Through Order, Human Strain, Playing With Dolls). Also, though most find it unimportant, I'm very pleased that the majority of the album is tuned to Eb rather than drop B (or whatever it was they used on God Hates Us All and Christ Illusion). It's vintage Slayer, and I f--king love it.
Lyrics — 9
Tom Araya actually sings a lot on this album, again hearkening back to the South of Heaven and Seasons days. I loved it - Araya can send chills down your spine when he wants to. There is no shortage of balls to the wall yelling, though. In particular, Psychopathy Red is one of the most impressive Araya performances I've heard in years. Lyrically, I'll break it down song by song. No surprises here really, just typical Slayer fare. It's all very, very metal. 01. World Painted Blood: written as a quasi-sequel to Final Six, this song essentially describes the horrors of the Mayan apocalypse. Mix of slow parts and thrash. Lots of tasty gore. 02. Unit 731: this is essentially the Pacific version of Angel of Death. Unit 731 was a Japanese Imperial Army special ops unit that specialized in chemical/biological warfare and disturbing human experimentation. The scream of "What are your final thoughts" at the beginning of every chorus has already become iconic amongst my friends. Pure thrash song. Describes atrocious acts and warfare. 03. Snuff: pretty straightforward. The song describes the grotesque nature of snuff films. Pure thrash - even more gore. 04. Beauty Through Order: written about Elizabeth Bathory, a medieval countess whom is generally recognized as the first prolific female serial killer. Mix of slow parts and thrash. Expect buckets of blood and bit of religious mockery. 05. Hate Worldwide: strictly an anti-religion song. Unfortunately, it really fails to stand out lyrically against legendary songs like Disciple and Cult. Still fun to listen to, though. Pure thrash. 06. Public Display Of Dismemberment: semi-political. Mostly thrash. This songs feels like an excuse to show off every stupidly difficult thing Dave Lombardo can do on a drum set, rather than a lyrically invigorating piece. 07. Human Strain: describes an unnamed super-disease that wipes out mankind. Slower, moodier song. Very haunting. 08. Americon: Slayer's attempts at political music have never impacted me too greatly, but this one's alright. Still a little too ambiguous though. Hard to describe genre-wise...it's almost industrial metal, really. 09. Psychopathy Red:written about infamous Russian serial killer Andrei Chikatilo. Pure thrash, horrifying and gruesome - an instant classic. 10. Playing With Dolls: I can't really pinpoint exactly what this song's about, but it's absolutely demented. It's seemingly about a mortician who indulges in deviant behavior with his bodies. More of a slow, creepy song. Very disturbing. 11. Not Of This God: another anti-religious song, which as previously stated fails to stand out among Slayer's back library of God-hating music. Not that there's anything wrong with some good old-fashioned soul crushing, God-hating metal.
Overall Impression — 9
To put it simply, Slayer knows how to deliver. This, just like every other album with the original Slayer lineup, is an unabashed thrashterpiece. Beauty Through Order is my personal favorite song on the album - Human Strain and Psychopathy Red being close behind. But it's all f--king metal, and it's all f--king awesome. Final Verdict. I cannot stress enough how much of a Slayer album this is - as in, if you've never liked Slayer, World Painted Blood will do nothing to change your mind. But for hardcore Slayer fans such as myself, this is as brilliant as it gets. A must-buy.