Slayer - Repentless review



Reviewer:
7.4

356 users:
7.27
Band: Slayer
Album: Repentless
Release date: September 2015


Disc I
01. Delusions Of Saviour
02. Repentless
03. Take Control
04. Vices
05. Cast The First Stone
06. When The Stillness Comes
07. Chasing Death
08. Implode
09. Piano Wire
10. Atrocity Vendor
11. You Against You
12. Pride In Prejudice

Disc II [deluxe bonus]
01. Live At Wacken 2014
02. Making Of 'Repentless' [documentary]


Approximately four years ago, just two months after Jeff Hanneman's passing, on the 1st of July 2013, I went to watch Slayer play at a festival that also included appearances from Kvelertak, Rotting Christ, Napalm Death and Down. The thrash legends were the last band to play and halfway through their set, Phil Anselmo showed up on stage. It was his birthday (as well as mine), so they played "Happy Birthday" for him (and for me, haha). Then, being under the influence of something, Phil gave an incoherent speech full of tears and drama that concluded with the words: "Slayer don't need me, I need fucking Slayer". Now, two questions come to mind: a) do we actually need "fucking Slayer" today? and b) is there life after Jeff?

Repentless is the band's first effort without the legendary Jeff Hanneman and the first without Dave Lombardo since God Hates Us All in 2001. The former's shoes were filled in the studio by Gary Holt from Exodus, one of the very few guitarists that could actually be hired to try something like this without it being considered utter blasphemy. Gary gives a great guitar performance as always, but he was not allowed to have any songwriting contribution in the album. The godfather of double bass was replaced by the familiar Paul Bostaph, whose performance is nothing less than outstanding. Paul is a real beast, not up there in the same level as Lombardo (no one is up there anyway besides Dave himself), but still very close. Tom Araya still sounds as angry and pissed as ever, even though he is in his mid-fifties. His bass is hardly heard, but this is no news. But how does the album sound?

Repentless is practically written entirely by Kerry King and he has a lot to prove, since the general consensus is that he was the one who insisted on Slayer continuing after Jeff's death. The album is exactly what you expect from them: pure thrash destruction. After the hauntingly beautiful intro, "Delusions Of Saviour", the title track kicks in and gives everyone the opportunity to scream "fucking Slayeeer!". It's a song that really stands out, although it bothers me that its opening riff is very similar to Sepultura's "Arise". Best track is probably "You Against You" with its great riffs and solos, followed by the fast and furious "Take Control", the punk-influenced "Atrocity Vendor" (B-side of the "World Painted Blood" single) and the crushing "Chasing Death".

There are no surprises in Repentless. The songwriting is familiar, Terry Date's production is decent, but not special, and the lyrical themes have all been used before. But we do need them, because they play their music well after 35 years, even without half of their original members (yes, there is life after Jeff), and they sound like no other, as always. If you are a Slayer fan, you will probably enjoy this album. It is roughly eye to eye with World Painted Blood and Christ Illusion and those two were recorded with the classic line-up. So, really, well done, Slayer, and Kerry King particularly; not many expected that you could pull this off and the fact that you did is the biggest surprise of them all.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 7

Written by nikarg | 06.05.2017


 


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments

Comments: 9   Visited by: 84 users
06.05.2017 - 04:10
IH8Hipsters
Nice review. I agree with your grade. It's a good album, but not great. I got to see them live after Jeff at the Palladium in Worcester, MA. Exodus opened, follow by Suicidal and then Slayer. It was a great show overall accept for Souza's shitty voice and poor track selection in Exodus' set. I am a big Dukes fan. Suicidal was awesome and Slayer was excellent. They still have the passion!!!

This is a solid, well rounded album from a band that's been around 35 years. Not their best, but not their worst. Slayer fans will enjoy it for sure. I'm a big Slayer fan and likely it a lot.
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06.05.2017 - 12:11
nikarg
Old Nick
Written by IH8Hipsters on 06.05.2017 at 04:10

This is a solid, well rounded album from a band that's been around 35 years. Not their best, but not their worst. Slayer fans will enjoy it for sure. I'm a big Slayer fan and likely it a lot.

I enjoyed it too and have given it many spins. I might go as far to say that I like it more than anything they have done since Seasons, with the exception of World Painted Blood maybe.
----
on and on south of heaven

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06.05.2017 - 17:22
Sanderkill
There IS life after Jeff. Not their best album but if you're a slayer fan you'll have to appreciate it's great fun songs.
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10.05.2017 - 17:32
pdepmcp
Very good review, but I don't agree with the conclusion. King is good at writing furious fast riffs. That part of the record kinda work, even if there is no great track.
The problem is that he's not able to write morbid mid tempos songs like Jeff did in the past 30 years. When he tries, the result is disturbing (and not in a good way).
All intros that try to create atmosphere or crescendo are boring, there is no single bridge that makes you say "wow, what's this?".
It's just my point of view, but I have to say that I didn't like the latter works where King work grew all around. Now that he's alone and this record is the worst in their (canonical) career, to me.
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10.05.2017 - 20:29
Daniell
_爱情_
Written by IH8Hipsters on 06.05.2017 at 04:10

This is a solid, well rounded album from a band that's been around 35 years. Not their best, but not their worst. Slayer fans will enjoy it for sure. I'm a big Slayer fan and likely it a lot.


I'm pretty sure this is their weakest album. Slayer is my favourite band, and I don't enjoy it. It has maybe 3-4 really good songs, not nearly enough to please a fan.
----
Now loving:
Hour of Penance - Cast the First Stone
Hate - Indestructible Pillar
Cradle of Filth - Heartbreak and Seance
Dark Tranquillity - Nothing To No One
Immolation - Swarm of Terror
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10.05.2017 - 21:39
nikarg
Old Nick
Written by pdepmcp on 10.05.2017 at 17:32

Very good review, but I don't agree with the conclusion. King is good at writing furious fast riffs. That part of the record kinda work, even if there is no great track.
The problem is that he's not able to write morbid mid tempos songs like Jeff did in the past 30 years. When he tries, the result is disturbing (and not in a good way).
All intros that try to create atmosphere or crescendo are boring, there is no single bridge that makes you say "wow, what's this?".
It's just my point of view, but I have to say that I didn't like the latter works where King work grew all around. Now that he's alone and this record is the worst in their (canonical) career, to me.

Well, I am a South Of Heaven fanboy and that album's music was written almost entirely by Jeff, so I totally get your point.
----
on and on south of heaven

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10.05.2017 - 21:44
nikarg
Old Nick
Written by Daniell on 10.05.2017 at 20:29

I'm pretty sure this is their weakest album. Slayer is my favourite band, and I don't enjoy it. It has maybe 3-4 really good songs, not nearly enough to please a fan.

Almost everyone of us Slayer fans agree that their stuff up to, and including, Seasons In The Abyss is the best the band has recorded. For the albums that came after, each of us has different preferences I think.
----
on and on south of heaven

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11.05.2017 - 02:47
IH8Hipsters
Written by Daniell on 10.05.2017 at 20:29

Written by IH8Hipsters on 06.05.2017 at 04:10

This is a solid, well rounded album from a band that's been around 35 years. Not their best, but not their worst. Slayer fans will enjoy it for sure. I'm a big Slayer fan and likely it a lot.


I'm pretty sure this is their weakest album. Slayer is my favourite band, and I don't enjoy it. It has maybe 3-4 really good songs, not nearly enough to please a fan.


Diabolos in Musica is far worse so is Divine Intervention IMO. This is better than those too albums. Get drunk and listen to Relentless again it's not bad.
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11.05.2017 - 09:25
Daniell
_爱情_
Written by IH8Hipsters on 11.05.2017 at 02:47

Diabolos in Musica is far worse so is Divine Intervention IMO. This is better than those too albums. Get drunk and listen to Relentless again it's not bad.

As a Slayer Fan since 1988 I must tell you that I listened to Repentless a lot of times in a lot of states, so to speak. Nothing can make the album better, believe me
----
Now loving:
Hour of Penance - Cast the First Stone
Hate - Indestructible Pillar
Cradle of Filth - Heartbreak and Seance
Dark Tranquillity - Nothing To No One
Immolation - Swarm of Terror
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