"Reign In Blood" cover, only more yellow. It is actually a pretty accurate description of the album as a whole too. The band went back to their core sound in this record, and most of the blame could probably be laid on Dave Lombardo, whom returned to the band after Paul Bostaph had to leave because of a chronic elbow injury. Now, Lombardo was not in the song writing process, but I believe the rest of the band got some old school inspiration because of this member change.
The band is not wasting any time or space in this record, cranking up the speed and intensity from the start, hardly letting go of the gas pedal in any part of this album. This obviously makes "Christ Illusion" one of the most intense Slayer albums in a long time, mostly because it is as straight forward as it can get, not containing any bullshit. However, there were still a lack of quality song writing in here, especially in the lyrical department that were more of the same old stuff of religion, war, and that.
But the thing that really hindered "Christ Illusion" in my humble opinion is the lack of memorable songs. Most of them are good, that is for sure, but it is not easy to remember them, because Slayer has done so many other, similar songs that are simply better. It all starts with the riffs, while being good fun and all, King and Hanneman simply did not produce anything extra ordinary here, and the same can definitely be said about the solos that do not elevate the experience all that much.
The only time I even get really excited in this album comes in the second to last song "Cult", where Slayer is bashing religion like a boxer facing an old lady in the ring. With the lines "Religion is hate/Religion is fear/Religion is war/Religion is rape/Religion's obscene/Religion's a whore", Slayer is not holding back anything, attacking with brute force. An impressive assault that comes a little too late, but it does give a much needed boost to the album (and helps the final song, "Supremist", too). Otherwise, the only other song that really stands out is "Eyes of The Insane", not because it is a good song or anything, but because it won Slayer their first Grammy award, which is odd since I do not even think it is one of the better songs of this album. Oh well, we all know the Grammies are a joke anyway.
Back to the album, because even if I have been pretty rough on the band and on "Christ Illusion", I still think this is one of their best records in over 15 years. It is hard hitting, consistent, and a nostalgia trip that just warms a thrashers heart. As said though, this is still an album with few stand out riffs, solos, and songs, so the band can absolutely do better. It is still a very enjoyable album, and a successful comeback of the original line up, but it just does not hold up for any prolonged time, that's all.
Songs worthy of recognition: Cult, Skeleton Christ, Jihad
Rating: 7,5/10 Consfearacies
More reviews of Slayer
Show No Mercy
Reign In Blood
South of Heaven
Seasons In The Abyss
Diabolus In Musica
God Hates Us All