Review of the Album God Hates Us All by American Thrash Metal Band Slayer
"Threshold" is One of the Best Songs in This Album
In the career of American thrash metal band Slayer, there is one album which I feel that may be forgotten by fans of the band. That album is their 2001 album called God Hates Us All. I’ve reviewed many of the albums that this band has released and this album is memorable for me because I remember listening to this album while on vacation in Japan and the first song that caught my attention was the song called Threshold. Having stated this, I did not hear any songs from this album until 2005. It must be said ahead of time that this album may be the band's most aggressively filled set of thrash metal tunes up until that time. Sweden’s The Haunted is more than likely influenced by this band from California.
What is the Song Threshold About?
The song is a solid, mid-tempo thrash tune that is about someone that is filled with so much rage inside that living life for him has no meaning. The song is also about someone that has reached the point of being so fed up with the actions of another person that they are ready to take put their rage on them. In fact, Tom Araya really lets the listener know of his pent up rage and frustration in the song Exile where he lets out a big shout and holds onto it for several seconds, extending his vocal range to sound like a scream.
Why the Album's Release Date Caused Controversy
The album was released on 9/11/2001 on the same day of the worst act of terrorism on US soil. The release was originally scheduled for July 10, 2001 but due to concerns regarding the mixing of the album, the original album cover art and American Recordings changing its distributor, the release date for the album was pushed back to September 11, 2001, causing controversy.
The Band Slayer is Not Against Christianity Even If It May Seem Like They Are
Contrary to what some people may think or believe, Slayer is not an anti-Christian band. In an interview with Guitar World Magazine in October 2001, Kerry King said: "I definitely wanted to put more realism in it, more depth. God Hates Us All isn't an anti-Christian line as much as it's an idea I think a lot of people can relate to on a daily basis. One day you're living your life, and then you're hit by a car or your dog dies, so you feel like, "God really hates me today," (Diehl, 2001).
Some Further Perspective On the Album God Hates Us All
Looking at this from a Christian point of view, GOD loves everyone. However, because human beings have been given the right to free will, bad things do happen to them as well as the good people. Does GOD really hate us all? No HE does not but I guess that the band wants to try and point out that it may seem that GOD hates us all if something bad happens to us. It also seems that people have died for the goal of bringing peace through war. However, there are really no winners in war even if a peace treaty is signed.
How Is This Album Different From Some of the Band's Earlier Releases
Tom Araya’s vocal style especially on the song Disciple is kind of over the top with the feeling of rage. But the music business is so cut throat that it can make you feel angry. Musically, the album may be the band’s best album since 1988’s South of Heaven. Seasons in the Abyss is a good album as well, but that album may get stale listening to it after a while. With the album God Hates Us All, the band’s direction was pure thrash metal with vocals that sound like they are harsh and angry. Tom Araya uses anger in his vocals but it is not just senseless shouting but it is a way for the band to express their frustration perhaps with the state of the world or with human nature. The album lyrically covers topics that people can relate to instead of discussing about Satan or hell.
Looking at this album from a bigger perspective, the band Slayer isn’t really advocating behaviors that are a total vice to society but they are bringing attention to some of the world’s biggest social problems and pointing out that human nature is just tainted to the point of being prone to violence. This album is definitely a few steps above 1994’s Divine Intervention. The song "Cast Down" is about a person that is addicted to drugs and no matter how much money he has, the money will not save him as he will succumb to his addiction if he is not careful and does not change course. The song War Zone is a song that features Tom Araya using his most harsh shouts that I have heard. The song is pretty much a song that describes what happens during a war. Wars are fought not just for domination or control of resources but because of a massive anger problem.
Final Thoughts About the Controversial Album God Hates Us All
Overall, the album God Hates Us All may be the most pure thrash metal album that they had written up to this point other than probably Reign in Blood in 1986. Some evangelical Christians may be opposed to this band and or this album but at the end of the day, the band wrote this album to express themselves musically and it is a fairly decent work in spite of the use of lots of harsh shouts. Slayer is seen as a one-dimensional thrash band but this album allowed them to sort of reinvent themselves. Or did they? It sure seems like it with the song New Faith. This album is certainly not as fast as Reign in Blood as New Faith slows down and the intensity of the vocals is still there so at least these guys have not lost that intensity. As much as Slayer may seem like a one-dimensional band, they are good at what they do. Listening to this album in 2020, it feels like one of those albums that can be tolerated not just by the avid thrash metal fan but songs such as Bloodline offer us a Slayer song that is a more mid-tempo song that isn’t your usual fast, thrash metal song that relentlessly can hurt your eardrums. This album has more diversity in speed compared to Reign in Blood because Reign in Blood was just about making the fastest thrash metal album that they would come up with.
Diehl, M. (2001, October). God Smacked. Guitar World Magazine.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2018 Ara Vahanian