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Slayer: Christ Illusion

As many of you know, I got hit pretty damn hard this week. I’ve been fighting off two different sicknesses for over a month at this point, and one still lingers. There’s now a flu epidemic in my area, and my body just shut down and feels worse at the thought of another round of sickness. I’m also still fighting off an MS flare up. But, after a short, but well deserved break, I’m still kicking. Well, as much as my now gimp body will let me until I nurse it back to semi-consciousness. Unfortunately, a good chunk of my recovery was spent in my car, and I had a weird craving to tear through town with Slayer‘s Christ Illusion blasting out the windows. While I couldn’t exactly do that thanks to the weather and my fiancee’s sensitive ears, I did actually get to sit down with it again, and it was a nice trip into the past.

This album dropped towards the end of my time with WSFX FM, and I gotta say, I was rather let down by it. Having bled Slayer for as long as I did, being one of the first Metal bands I ever heard, and actually saw live (Tattoo the Earth festival), this wasn’t exactly what I had expected. Christ Illusion had its share of catchy and intense songs, but it also had a good deal of filler I couldn’t get too into. Unfortunately, this made up much of the latter half of the album, with the exception of “Cult” which was one of the best tracks off it, and the one that got the most air time.

But, once the album fell out of circulation, it dropped hard. This effort from aging legends showed the blueprints of what was to come, and neither of us were too antsy to hear what the next move would be. Myself and the other DJs just wound up playing older material that we had in our cars, or made copies of early albums just to leave there. Compilations were always nice to have around so we always tried to stick staple songs on a new bi-weekly or monthly rotation, much of the time sticking to the many classics, but trying to venture off the beaten path once in a while. If we had to take an extended bathroom break, or had a class to go to, we were covered…

But, this iss also one of the few Slayer albums I don’t really run back to for repeat spins. But, visiting it again was a nice little trip, and I got to hear the songs I liked all over again a few more times. I still love “Flesh Storm” and “Catalyst,” as well as “Cult,” and even “Supremist” despite some of the riffs in various bridges being a bit too generic for my taste. The aggression on many of the songs really stuck out more this time around thanks to my being sick and generally pissed off as it stood. While I don’t really have a new respect for the album, it’s good to know I can come back to Christ Illusion when I’m just down and getting tired of being kicked around by whatever force, physical or just natural. It also lead to the perfect soundtrack earlier when I realized the toilet paper was locked up in the boss’ office, and I had to race out for some just incase, starting the car only to have “Consfearacy” blast in and become the score to my brief car ride of fury and panic.

But, I know that shortly after I write this article, Christ Illusion will find its way back into the collection and sit there for quite some time. Whether this release deserves much of the hatred it has received, I can’t really say. There’s something about it that I just can’t quite get into all the time, but after all this time, it still seems to hold up quite well for what it is, and that’s about all one can really ask for. I still look at it as a solid effort with a few pratfalls along the way, and hold no real grudges againsty it. I’m glad I had it as a partner for the most recent rough patch of life, but I’m glad I’m not stuck with this very album.

Slayer (band)

Physical material for this article provided by personal funds.