Wednesday night, Slayer made a surprise appearance to kick off the Revolver Golden Gods Awards with the debut of a new song, “Implode.”
Drummer Paul Bostaph, who had a few stints with the band from 1994 through 2001, has returned to the fold after the band split with original drummer Dave Lombardo again. Exodus guitarist Gary Holt attempts to fill the void left by the death of original guitarist Jeff Hanneman, responsible for writing most of Slayer’s best songs.
To no one’s great surprise, “Implode” sounds exactly like a Slayer song. The tune starts with a nice mid-tempo riff that lasts for the first verse, after which they ratchet up the speed to a more typical Slayer tempo as singer/bassist Tom Araya shouts along as we’ve heard so many times before. And there’s the trouble.
When Rick Rubin decided to work with Metallica instead of Slayer a few years back, guitarist Kerry King made a statement to the effect that Rubin wanted to re-invent someone, and Slayer had no desire to be reinvented. Maybe it’s time to consider it. There’s something to be said for a band that sticks to its guns, but the bands that don’t evolve in some way eventually reach a point where you can’t really get excited about hearing new music from them. Slayer has hit that point.
For one thing, it’s simply impossible for a group of guys in their 50s to have the same kind of fire and rage that they had in their 20s. It’s not about being “too old,” it’s just a natural thing. At 41, I’m pretty much resigned to the fact that the world is often a shit place, not angry about it like I was 20 years or so ago. I think life’s that way for most folks.
Then, there is the fact that Tom Araya can’t hit those screams like he used to on the chorus, and at least to me, it sounds pretty rough. I wondered, listening to this, why he tried to recreate it instead of going with a different approach.
“Implode” is not a bad song. I like the opening riff, and the “God Hates Us All” reference in the lyrics is kind of cool since I like that sort of referential things. But it’s a song that I’ve heard at least five or six times on almost every Slayer album. It’s just gotten old at this point.
Evolution shouldn’t necessarily be a dirty word to metal bands. Granted, no one wants to hear a shiny, happy, content Slayer. But by the same token, I don’t want to hear the same album over and over again, either. World Painted Blood was the first album of Slayer’s career that I didn’t buy. “Implode” doesn’t make me want to get in line for the new one either.
For those hardest of hardcore Slayer fans out there, I’m sure that “Implode” is exactly what they want, and more power to them. The rest of us already have this record, several times over, and don’t need to buy it again.