Slayer - Christ Illusion (2006)

Article originally published on on 25th November 2010.

Slayer's Christ Illusion presents a very focused and intensive effort from the group, something that old fans of Slayer had been waiting for many years to hear. After Paul Bostaph's departure from the band at the tail end of the God Hates Us All tour, Lombardo returns to the line-up; recording his first studio album with Slayer since 1990's Seasons in the Abyss.

The album opens with Flesh Storm, which slowly builds until Araya's vocals kick in and screams "Take a deep breath 'cause it all starts now!", and at that point I knew I was in for a treat.

Following a decade of what many would call lacklustre and experimental albums, it was nice to finally hear an album from Slayer that is deserving of their talents as pioneering thrash masters. The band seems to be revitalised and working together as a group with the reformation of the classic Slayer line-up.

Bearing the censored, "punctured hand" cover of the album that was present on the bands rerelease of the album in 2007, the album includes the bonus track Final Six. This track was recorded after the initial release of the album in 2006 due to a gall bladder operation by Araya, thus not being able to record his vocal track in time.

Also present on the album is the shorter, alternative version of Black Serenade.

Packaging and Sound Quality

Included in the Vinyl Conflict box set released earlier in the year, packaging is fairly simple, representing what was present when the LP was re-released in 2007. For this release, the protective sleeve has changed to a thick clear plastic, ensuring maximum protection against the environment it is stored in.

One sound issue I did find on the album is that I am very sceptical that this has indeed been remastered for the Vinyl Conflict box set. After the commotion that had been made prior to the release of the box set, I was expecting a very full and rich listening experience that would differ greatly to that of the CD. I was slightly disappointed to hear however that the overall composition on the album sounded a tad flat in comparison to many of the other 180g audiophile releases I have heard, such as Lamb of God's Hourglass collection and even other albums within this box set such as South of Heaven.

Album waveform
Track Flesh Storm waveform

Bringing up the waveform of a short section of Skeleton Christ and comparing it to the CD release of the album reveals that when the CD waveform clips, or is cut off, the waveform on the vinyl release seems to be cut short as well. Not to the extent of the CD of course, but I would have liked to have seen nice full ends to finish the waveforms.

Sound deformity

Other than the mastering, as expected of 180g vinyl, the physical disc itself appears flawless, and is evidence of quality craftsmanship.

Slayer’s most focused and intensive album release in many years.

Nothing exceptional, but extra marks for including a plastic protective sleeve.

Sound quality:
Technically sound, but from a mastering perspective I have my doubts about this one.

Final thoughts:
A solid album from Slayer with the return of Lombardo, only a suspect mastering issue to fault Christ Illusion.