One Track Mind: Slayer, “Implode” (2014)

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.

Fred Phillips

Fred Phillips is a veteran entertainment writer with a love of hard rock and heavy metal. He has written music reviews, columns and feature stories for several newspapers, Web sites and a national wire service, while running a stand-alone site called Hall of the Mountain King in various places and incarnations since 1997. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.

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  • Angel Of Death

    Hi Fred,

    let me say something about SLAYER as I am a fan since I was about 13 years old and now I am 45 year old….

    I guess that for people that “generically” listen to music (whether they listen to metal or not), your point of view can be agreed.

    But I have to disagree with you.

    Simply because SLAYER are SLAYER exactly because they have never changed their way to create and perform music.

    Last Year I’ve been at the 4 live shows in Italy, with lot of sadness in my heart because of Jeff lost and also for Dave split from the band.

    No matter they’re 50 year old, their shows has been totally energetic, pure thrash metal violence…a tipical SLAYER violence and energy.

    Maybe Tom has lost a bit the voice, but for a TRUE SLAYER FAN, it’s not a reason to ask him to be anyone else than TOM Araya….it’s not a reason to ask the band to be anyone else than FUCKING SLAYER!!!

    I listen to a lot of bands and in the last 30 years I’ve heard lots of them “evolving”….they’re not the same….they’re not like SLAYER!

    You mention Metallica….I adore old school MetallicA (from the beginning to the Black Album, but I can’t stand with the modern and evolved band….

    That’s why “we” (their fans) still love SLAYER, and we’ll never stop our support….no compromise to ride the wave of the limelight, they are just SLAYER, like it or not….

    The band perfectly knows since ever what “we” want: just SLAYER!!!!

    That’s wy I’m gonna buy the new album as soon as it will be released….

    That’s wy I’m gonna going to 3 (maybe 4) live shows in June/July 2014….

    With my best regards

    Angel Of Death

    • Fred Phillips

      I knew, as I was writing, that there would be a lot of people that felt the way you do. I can understand and respect that point of view, but I can’t agree with it.
      For me, personally, no matter how much I like a band, 30 years of essentially putting out the same album over and over gets really boring. I feel the same about AC/DC and, to a lesser extent, Motorhead. I held on to Slayer for a long time, but World Painted Blood finally put me to sleep, and this song is more of the same.
      I definitely don’t want to hear Slayer’s version of Load. Hell, I don’t want to hear Metallica’s version for that matter. But I think there’s a misconception among a lot of metal bands and fans that keeping the band’s identity intact means doing the same record over and over, and I don’t buy into that.
      It could be more that than anything else that makes this song dull. They’ve been following the formula to create a Slayer album, step-by-step, for so long they can do it in their sleep. They really don’t have to put a lot of thought or creativity into it. Maybe they’re a little bored with it, too. I would be.

      I’ve got about 25 years as a Slayer fan in myself, and I love the band. But, in my opinion, this song just doesn’t have the quality or energy that I’m used to.