Record review

Phases & Stages


Christ Illusion (American)

Timing is everything. Slayer's 11th studio release arrives in devastating sync with current events. Had the band packaged the 10-track, 38-minute disc in a human remains pouch tucked inside one of those ill-euphimized aluminum "transport tubes," they couldn't have increased the horror one iota. Not since the maniac thrash of 1986's genre-eclipsing Reign in Blood have these SoCal wastrels managed music that sounds so frighteningly out of control and yet wholly, idealistically pure of intent. Christ Illusion, bracketed by Tom Araya's meaty bellow, Kerry King's anxious riffs, Jeff Hanneman's turgid guitar squall, and Dave Lombardo's straight-out-of-Tora Bora percussive airstrikes, is Slayer's most thematically cohesive and emotionally charged release in two decades. One listen to the eerie, stop-start cadence of lunacy in "Jihad," with Araya essaying the role of a suicide bomber almost too convincingly, and you may never want to leave your home again. Religion and warfare, the band's twin obsessions, have finally come full circle, simultaneously on your stereo and on CNN/al Jazeera. Slayer, seething, forces you to acknowledge the futility of both. Headbanging? Turns out they were practicing dodging live rounds and IED shrapnel.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Sabbath Crow
Carrion Highway Weird Sun (Record Review)

Michael Toland, Aug. 16, 2019

Texas Platters
Matamoros (Record Review)

Rick Weaver, Aug. 16, 2019

More by Marc Savlov
Remembering James “Prince” Hughes, Atomic City Owner and Austin Punk Luminary
Remembering James “Prince” Hughes, Atomic City Owner and Austin Punk Luminary
The Prince is dead, long live the Prince

Aug. 7, 2022

Green Ghost and the Masters of the Stone
Texas-made luchadores-meets-wire fu playful adventure

April 29, 2022

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle