Since the release of their last album, World Painted Blood, Slayer has gone through a few changes that made some people question if the band could even continue making music, let alone at the same level that fans have become accustomed to for upwards of 30 years. The controversy that stemmed from the firing of long-time drummer Dave Lombardo coupled with the tragic passing of guitarist, songwriter and original member Jeff Hanneman led to whispers of doubt for the band’s future.
Repentless silenced those doubts.
Despite losing Hanneman’s song writing,as well Rick Rubin’s music producing prowess due to switching record labels, Repentless proved that Slayer is still Slayer. Kerry King took the helm as the sole song writer with the exception of “Piano Wire”, an unfinished track written by the late Hanneman for the band’s previous album.
The thrash gods prove that they have still got it by churning out an album with a sound that could simply be described as undeniably Slayer. While the other members of the “Big Four” of thrash metal have gone through style changes that have been met with positive and negative results (looking at you, Metallica), one could always identify a Slayer song from the opening riff the final breakdown, and that’s what metal heads love about them.
The slow, methodical pace of the opening track “Delusions of Saviour” serves as a perfect introduction to the song’s title track “Repentless”, which kicks up to a frenetic pace that never slows down. The chugging riffs, heavy double bass drum and chaotic solos that have become their trademark are present from start to finish.
However, what Repentless owns in brand recognition, it lacks in innovation and unique qualities. The album tends to be repetitive to the point where certain parts of songs are indistinguishable from other tracks. Although it maintains the sound that people have become accustomed to, it is void of a signature quality that would make the album stand out, like God Hates Us All‘s brash subject matter or Reign In Blood‘s shear heaviness.
In spite of that fact, Repentless still brings that old-school metal flavor that headbangers around the world have come to know and love.
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