SLAYER – REPENTLESS
Release Date: 11th September 2015
℗ 2015 Nuclear Blast GmbH
- Delusions of Saviour
- Take Control
- Cast the First Stone
- When the Stillness Comes
- Chasing Death
- Piano Wire
- Atrocity Vendor
- You Against YouSlayer
- Pride in Prejudice
Repentless is a benchmark album for Slayer for a range of reasons, not least of which is the sad absence of Jeff Hanneman, and the almost insurmountable task of achieving the Slayer signature sound in his absence. It is, however, a point of pleasant reflection to listen to the album and know that Jeff has impacted greatly with his influence, particularly with tracks like Piano Wire and the album becomes almost an ode to his sad passing.
One of the most exciting aspect in anticipation of this album for me, was to hear the mighty Gary Holt of Exodus stepping in to provide his guitar prowess. And provide he does will skyrocketing screaming riffs providing, if only in my opinion, an additional and exciting dimension to this collection. Fans will certainly be no stranger to Gary’s live work with Slayer, but it is truly exciting to hear with first full recorded work with the group. Doubtless, the skill of Gary Holt and the lack of Jeff Hanneman will present a homogenisation of bitter and sweet for many Slayer faithful.
Delusions of Saviour provides a tremendous production bridge between Slayers previous work World painted Blood, released way back in 2009 and this current collection. The track opens with a remarkably similar sound to WPB but, as the track progresses introduces crisp and distinctive production qualities that remain the staple throughout the album.
Then Repentless launches into a whirlwind of furious rhythm and percussive fury. My cup runneth over with malevolent metal fury as Take Control provides an abundance of instrumentally superb accompaniment and astonishingly skilful guitar work. Putting the lyrics and sensational Tom Araya vocal delivery to one side, this entire album is such a skilful delivery of an enhanced Slayer sound that it could be released in two formats and still whip fans into a furious fervour of metal glee. But sans Tom would not be Slayer so, therefore the natural conclusion is that this album is a multidimensional success and sensationally superior accomplishment, well worth the six year wait.
When The Stillness Comes is most aptly titled indeed as the listener is provided with a distinct sensation of impending disaster stalking us through superb guitar delivery. A tremendous demonstration that Slayer have lost nothing to time in their break and, to be perfectly frank, enhanced their sound tremendously, but in keeping with their significant experience and music production dexterity. I cannot help but feel there was an underlying desire to honour Jeff in some way with the production of this album and emblematically carry his memory as the band move forward. The result for those outside the inner sanctum is, quite naturally, the profoundly enjoyable metal album that is the result of much angst, labour and attention to quality.
Atrocity Vendor is an incredibly striking track, successfully stepping from genre to genre and cohesively blending thrash metal with a more traditional metal introduction and even a light peppering of punk elements early on.
Tracks such as You Against You and Piano Wire assist me in forming the firm belief that Slayer fans will be particularly pleased with this release, but moreover, the album will find a place in many music collections as a point of technical reference to aspiring creators of music. Following a six year break from released collections, this album is also certain to provide favour with a new generation of Slayer devotees. Vastly enjoyable and a theoretically intriguing journey in instrumental mastery.