Slayer
Repentless

“SLAYERRRRRRRR!!!!” “PLAY SOME FUCKIN’ SLAYERRRRRRRRR!!!!!!”

You hear it at every show you go to, it seems. There’s always that one or maybe two douchebags that scream at the band on stage to play some “fuckin’ Slayer, man”. I feel it’s more than likely one of the prime reasons why Slayer gets a mostly bad rep these days – they attract the meatheads. But, there’s also the fact that Slayer has been releasing mostly half-assed material for what seems like an eternity now. First, there was Divine Intervention, a divisive album. Personally, it was my introduction to the band at 13 years old, and I loved it, even to this day. To others, it’s the beginning of the end. Then there was Diablos In Musica with an almost nu-metal kinda vibe to it according to some. Nu-metal or not, that album was kind of a low-point for the band. God Hates Us All is mostly derided by the old heads, but hardcore Slayer fans tend to love that one. I’m not sure I’ve ever met anyone who calls Christ Illusion a good album – sans a couple songs, I tend to agree. Then most recently, they gave us World Painted Blood – an album that I was initially all about, but as time has passed, I’ve never returned to it. Those songs had no staying power, and it seems most Slayer fans feel the same.

That brings us to the newest slab-o-Slayer, Repentless. My initial impressions of this are that it reminds me a lot of Divine Intervention, with touches of Seasons In the Abyss peppered in. Right away, I think “this is easily their best since Divine” – it’s definitely straight-forward thrash, Slayer style, with nary a thread of experimentation or modernization. It doesn’t feel forced either. I have to wonder how much of an impact Gary Holt from Exodus fame has had on the band in the absence of Jeff Hanneman (RIP brother), because thus far, Repentless feels pretty damned re-invigorated. Lets take a look under the hood.

After another needless intro (seriously, bands – stop doing this), the album starts proper with the title track and it’s a scorcher – it’s like “War Ensemble” pt. 2. Tom is in classic form here, barking his way through the verses in grand fashion while King and Holt rip out one of the best Slayer riffs I’ve heard in years, then screams his guts out on the chorus. “Take Control” follows in mostly the same fashion, blazing through the verses, but then tones it down on the chorus for a nice groove, immediately reminiscent of some of the Divine Intervention stuff.

From here, they pull back on the throttle a bit for the next few songs. “Vices” is more mid-paced and grooving, but works well. “Cast the First Stone” reigns it in a little further, but falls a bit flat. “When the Stillness Comes” creeps out almost like a Slayer “ballad” (think “Dead Skin Mask” or “Spill the Blood”) – it starts slow and builds up to….nothing. They do a good job of making you think the song is heading for an explosive ending, but ends up doing absolutely nothing. “Chasing Death” brings things back to life a bit, but once again more in a mid-paced, groove-laden form, though it ends well with Tom going apeshit, which is always awesome.

When they step on the accelerator again, it’s with “Implode” – sure it’s fast n’ thrashy, but it’s also kinda dull and not memorable. “Piano Wire” dials it back again, but picks up the pace about halfway through and lets rip some ferocious solo work. “Atrocity Vendor” picks it up again to thrash righteously, but is only a couple steps better than “Implode” – ultimately forgettable. “You Against You” nails it home though, loaded with killer riffing and solos, a divebomb or two, and Tom at his finest. It’s one of the albums best cuts. Album closer “Pride in Prejudice” is a slow burn that also goes nowhere, and is kind of crappy note to end the album on.

I felt it best to write this review off the cuff, after only a couple spins. I was afraid if I let it sink it too long, the fanboy in me would come out and I’d deliver a slobberfest similar to that of their last release in which I wrote a review for (it was kind of embarrassing to re-read), then regret it later when I come back down to Earth. I think you get a more honest review this way. That said, I believe this album blows away their past two, but falls short of God Hates Us All. It does remind me heavily of Divine Intervention for the most part, but too many of it’s tracks fall short of that albums greatness. It starts fantastically, then meanders around in mediocrity for too long. It won’t do anything to change the minds of those who left the bandwagon years ago, but should more than appease the hardcore fans, as well as provide a nice Slayer fix for those that fall in between the extremes.

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Written by Larry "Staylow" Owens
September 14th, 2015

Comments

  1. Commented by: Red

    Nice review…I’ve only spun the album a few times, but I feel pretty much the same as you…Glad to see some love for Divine Intervention as well, I know a lot of people who have never cared for it, and I’ve never really understood why…but then again, I like Diabolus a lot too…I always thought that album really was cool, because we got more Hanneman than King…I believe Kerry only wrote one track on Diabolus..


  2. Commented by: jesusgod

    Holt wasn’t allowed to write on this album.


  3. Commented by: Will "BoneS" Lee

    Just out of curiosity…not say you haven’t but have you gone back further before Divine and listened to those albums? Whats your thoughts on those?


  4. Commented by: Luke_22

    This is another mostly flat, disappointing effort that fuels the argument that Slayer should just call it quits. Poor lyrics, crappy production and generally uninspired song-writing. I dig a few tracks, especially “Atrocity Vendor” and ‘You Against You” and the title track isn’t bad, but slim pickings overall. Nice review though.


  5. Commented by: Ace Barker

    Divine Intervention was their last decent album. After that it’s been lame dogshit. If you agree then obviously Show No Mercy probably doesn’t appeal to you.


  6. Commented by: Coles McBastard

    you should probably do some fact checking, as state above in the comments, Holt didn’t write any riffs on this.


  7. Commented by: vugelnox

    I’d rank this as their all-time worst. They’ve managed to mostly sideline the nu-metal influence seen on Diabolus and GHUA, so thank Satan for small favors, but these songs are the flattest and dullest Slayer tunes yet. Nothing sticks. Nothing has any impact or energy behind it.


  8. Commented by: Dave

    Hey Ace, you’re saying that if we agree that their last decent album is Divine Intervention then Show No Mercy probably doesn’t appeal? Did I read that right? What a bizarre statement.


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