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Incredibly brutal, God Hates Us All is Slayer's most effective album since Seasons in the Abyss (1990), thanks in large part to Matt Hyde's raw production and a handful of killer songs. The previous few Slayer albums -- Divine Intervention (1994), Undisputed Attitude (1996), and Diabolus in Musica (1998) -- were relatively disappointing, at least for anyone familiar with the band's defining triptych of Reign in Blood (1986), South of Heaven (1988), and Seasons in the Abyss (1990). While God Hates Us All isn't on a par with those classics, without much argument one could call it a return to form for Slayer. A couple "War Ensemble"-style thrashers, "Disciple" and "New Faith," get the album off to vicious start; "Payback" concludes the album likewise. On the other hand, "Bloodline" is a slower-paced, evocative song in the style of "Reign in Blood" and "South of Heaven," including a melodic chorus. These are the highlights of God Hates Us All, and while there are some passable songs sequenced throughout the 13-track album, it's solid and well-balanced overall. Especially since it arrived after a long absence, God Hates Us All should be a relief for long-time Slayer fans who were afraid the band had fallen off during the '90s, and it well may surprise newcomers unfamiliar with the band's prime recordings from the mid- to late '80s.