Over the years, Slayer has been consistent across their catalog with their heavy riffs, speed and intensity, and of course their satanic imagery and lyrics. When Slayer announced that they will be recording another record after the death of their original guitarist, Jeff Hanneman, and the departure of their original drummer, Dave Lombardo, the future of Slayer was unsure. From this, Slayer asked Gary Holt to join the band on a permanant basis and brought back drummer, Paul Bostaph, to record the next incarnation in the Slayer legacy, “Repentless”.
This album is another great example of Slayer’s work over the years. The album has a ton of riffs written by Jeff Hanneman before his passing (especially the song “Piano Wire”), so his presence and spirit is very much present throughout the album. Gary Holt and Paul Bostaph blend perfectly with the rest of the band’s catalog and do justice to the spirit and vibe of the band. Tom Araya gives a great performance throughout the album vocally especially with the songs “Repentless”, “Implode”, and “When The Stillness Comes”. This album has everything Slayer fans will love and enjoy from the band, but that is also a problem with this record.
While there are some great songs on this record, it just feels like another Slayer record. It fits perfectly within the catalog, but it also makes it hard to stand out in comparison. It follows along as another piece of the Slayer formula, but does not take any risks to differentiate itself. With other bands within the Big 4 or just other thrash bands in general, you can hear a difference between the records. This will not be a problem with most people as that is also one of the good things about Slayer, but for some fans, it is really nice to have a change in pace between records and have risks taken.
In the end, Slayer succeeded in delivering another great record in the face of member losses and change ups. For Slayer fans or thrash metal looking for something new and different, this is not the record for you, but for fans of the early Slayer records looking for another great piece in the Slayer anthology, “Repentless” is a record to add to your collection.
Stand Out Track: Repentless, Implode, When the Stillness Comes
To get a taste of the new album, check out the video for the title track, “Repentless” featuring Danny Trejo.