Slayer - Undisputed Attitude
American Recordings
Hardcore Punk
13 songs (32:54)
Release year: 1996
Slayer, American Recordings
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

Slayer went Hardcore Punk for this stopgap release, out in 1996 right between 1994’s Divine Intervention and 1998’s Diabolus In Musica. Originally it was intended to be a tribute to their Metal influences, but after things just ‘didn’t pan out’ with covers of the likes of Judas Priest, UFO and Deep Purple, the band decided to cover their Punk influences. Being fair, it’s hard to see how Slayer could have adequately covered Purple in their 90s incarnation – the musical debt from Priest especially is obvious if you go back to the beginning of Slayer’s career, but the new groove elements meant that the rejected option would probably have been a trainwreck. As it is, Undisputed Attitude is an interesting fan relic, but not a great deal more – the one new Slayer song present, Gemini, is the dirge-y nonsense that would go on to fill their next album, and that style is only intermittently worthy there; here, it sounds too pointlessly Doomy, and is utterly forgettable.

Which leaves the covers, and really they’re a mixed bunch quality-wise. Listen with half an ear and there’s little difference to be noted as the tracks zoom past with just a couple of slower parts to mix it up a bit. Opening barrage Disintegration/Free Money and Verbal Abuse/Leeches (all originally by Verbal Abuse) are done before you know it, Araya his usual self whilst Hanneman and King do their thing as solidly as ever – the best element here is actually Paul Bostaph. I missed Lombardo as much as any right-thinking Slayer fan, but his more technical style would have been wasted in the simple aggression shown here. The appeal of these songs is summed up in the likes of Can’t Stand You and Ddamm, the songs originally written by Hanneman in an early project of his, and their Hardcore attack is extremely effective; obviously none of this is anywhere near as good as Slayer’s Thrash output, but that’s missing the point. Slayer are here aiming their aural guns in line with the musical elements that made Slayer an icon for middle America, music to desecrate cemeteries and beat Slipknot fans up to – the ‘racist’ fuss over Guilty Of Being White just a part of that.

So look at Undisputed Attitude as a statement as much as anything – the title sums it up in terms of the band’s mid-career crisis. Slayer are still here, and they still matter. The band even had to change The Stooges’ classic I Wanna Be Your Dog to reflect their (supposedly) masterly standing – the song here, I’m Gonna Be Your God, avoiding the original’s message completely in favour of a tongue-in-cheek gnarlyness that actually works well once you’re used to it. First listens aren’t so good, believe me; yet overall Slayer sound more alive here than they have since the 80s heyday – the likes of Mr Freeze and Violent Pacification are violently Thrashy blasts of punk that prove that Metalcore’s emergence really did do more harm than good. Seriously, any Thrash fan unable to enjoy the straightforward pounding of Richard Hung Himself needs to take a closer look at where his favourite bands took their influences from. And that’s all Undisputed Attitude is, at the end of the day, Slayer striking a pose and having some fun. Those able to go along with it will enjoy this album, although it’ll never be amongst Slayer’s best – if you hate Punk, then avoid.

Killing Songs :
Can’t Stand You, Ddamm, Guilty Of Being White, Mr Freeze, I’m Gonna Be Your God
Goat quoted no quote
Other albums by Slayer that we have reviewed:
Slayer - Repentless reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
Slayer - Haunting the Chapel reviewed by Tony and quoted no quote
Slayer - World Painted Blood reviewed by Goat and quoted 76 / 100
Slayer - Divine Intervention reviewed by Goat and quoted 88 / 100
Slayer - Diabolus In Musica reviewed by Goat and quoted 64 / 100
To see all 14 reviews click here
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