SOURCE: Warner Bros. Records

August 16, 2006 12:15 ET

Slayer's "Christ Illusion" Is Band's Highest-Ever Billboard Chart Debut Entering at #5

LOS ANGELES, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- August 16, 2006 -- The City of Fullerton, CA abruptly removed all 17 of Slayer's promotional bus benches. Twenty years of equipment and stage production was stolen out of their warehouse. Their 2006 U.S. Tour due to kick off 6.6.06 had to be postponed due to band member Tom Araya's emergency surgery. But none of these roadblocks prevented Slayer's brand new album, "Christ Illusion" (American Recordings/WBR), from making the highest chart debut of the band's career, coming in at #5 on Billboard's Top 200 Albums Chart.

In addition, "Christ Illusion" -- executive produced by Rick Rubin and produced by Josh Abraham -- is a Top 10 album internationally in its first week, debuting at #2 in Germany, #2 in Finland, #8 in Holland, #9 in Australia, and #6 in Austria.

With more than 62,000 copies sold in the U.S. in its first week, "Christ Illusion" marks the long-awaited return of the legendary punk/thrash/metal band. "Christ Illusion" is Slayer's first new studio album in five years, and the first recorded by the original line-up -- Araya/bass, vocals; Kerry King/guitars; Jeff Hanneman/guitars; and Dave Lombardo/drums -- in more than 15 years. The #5 debut is only the second time in Slayer's 25-year-plus history that they've debuted in Billboard's Top 10 -- 1994's "Divine Intervention" came in at #8.

On "Christ Illusion," the unabashedly controversial Slayer takes on Government and God, looking at the World Trade Center disaster from the terrorists' point of view, and repeatedly committing lyrical blasphemy, which caused the Washington Post to note "...Slayer consistently beats Christianity with an ugly stick." One major daily reviewer hypothesized, "If Thomas Jefferson were alive today, he undoubtedly would be listening to Slayer... beneath this aggressive veneer, is a social, political and interpersonal message that would put proud smiles on our nation's founders."

The New York Times wrote simply that "['Christ Illusion'] is the most concentrated, focused Slayer record in 20 years."

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