Over the course of their 38-year-long career, Huntington Park, California’s Slayer created 12 studio albums of musical extremity. However, among all those works of ferocious thrash metal, the band accidentally wrote and recorded one of the best hardcore albums of the 2000s.
Of course, we mean their 2001 release God Hates Us All.
For this album, the band was accompanied by drummer Paul Bostaph, who made his first studio appearance with the band on 1994’s Divine Intervention; Bostaph left Slayer following the release of God Hates Us All, returning to the band for their final studio LP, 2015’s Repentless.
Prior to the release of God Hates Us All, Slayer had consistently delivered records brimming with thrash metal aggression. To be clear, thrash is still a strong component of this record, but at its core, God Hates Us All sees the band embracing a hardcore mentality.
An exception to this would be “Disciple,” for the cut is very much an explosive thrash experience. However, it’s upon reaching the song “God Send Death” that Slayer embarks down their hardcore path. Woven alongside the theatrical and thrashy qualities of the song is a consistent hardcore beat down, a presence that’s greatly elevated thanks to Bostaph’s drumming.
Following this is “New Faith” which is much more forwardly hardcore-driven in how the band scales the pacing of their instrumental performances. “Cast Down” continues forth with this quality, and then “Threshold,” and then the next track, and so on and so forth. Throughout its runtime, the band constantly utilizes various approaches to tempo and pacing that call to mind elements heard in bands like Sick of It All, Terror, and Discharge.
Frankly, among all the records Slayer has dropped over the years, God Hates Us All stands as one of their most unique, and it’s very much because of this creative direction. Now, whether or not Slayer intended the album to be a riveting hardcore experience, that’s unknown. What are your thoughts on God Hates Us All? Do you consider it a hardcore album?