With thrash metal, you get more of the same. Double-time drum beats where the kick drum sounds like a machine gun firing, accented by a sharp snare, while two guitars and a bassist chug away at their guitars to match the speed of the drums, wearing down the tension immensely on that sixth string. But every once in a while, you’ll find an artist that tries to change things up in this respect. Slayer started to do this on their third album back in the '80s, Reign In Blood, a fresh take on the band’s thrash sound after releasing two very identical sounding first and second albums. Repentless is the band’s TWELFTH studio album, and it proves that they are still a finely tuned machine after all of these years.
Guitarist Jeff Hanneman, whose signature guitar style has been present on every single Slayer release since the dawn of the band’s career, sadly passed away in 2013. Tom Araya, the band’s vocalist/bassist went as far as to state that writing this new record would legitimately be like starting over completely. The band had lost their main songwriter. With Repentless, they have emerged victorious with a record that I guarantee would have made Hanneman proud.
“Delusions of Saviour” is an instrumental track that builds into “Repentless”, a blistering thrash metal offering reminding listeners exactly who Slayer is. “Take Control” keeps things rolling along, serving up a track that will open up the pit for many shows to come. “Vices” actually seems to slow down tempo-wise, but each drum hit and roar from vocalist Araya is just as powerful as the last. The aggressiveness continues on “Cast The First Stone”, another track that features a slower tempo but merciless attack on the instruments.
The beginning of “When The Stillness Comes” is the first time I’ve ever heard Slayer do anything that would resemble a ballad. Clean guitar plucks resonate throughout the airspace before the whole band kicks in. “Chasing Death” follows, a track penned by the band that plays as a metaphor for those facing alcoholism and addiction. “Implode” brings things back to typical, double-time Slayer fashion. “Piano Wire” follows, and is the only song on the album recorded with Hanneman prior to his death.
“Atrocity Vendor” is one of the standout tracks here; it’s easily one of the fastest and most vicious songs on the entire forty minute collection. “You Against You” keeps things moving right along, featuring a Kerry King solo that will be sure to melt the faces of many fans. “Pride in Prejudice” brings the album to a close, marking the end of yet another chapter in Slayer’s formidable career.
This has been another Shameless Promotion.