Slayer: Repentless review

When Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman passed away in 2013 speculation and trepidation surrounding the band\’s future was running rampant, with fans wondering not only if the band would continue on, but what a new album without the founding guitarist might sound like. Not only can you put those fears to rest, you can burn them on a funeral pyre, as their newest album Repentless is not only a true return to form, it may be the band’s best effort since Seasons in the Abyss. Repentless is the band’s twelvth studio album overall and first for new label Nuclear Blast. It was produced by Terry Date and it’s a Slayer album, so you pretty much know what to expect, but what you might not have expected was an album this impressive so late in their illustrious career. The epic build of opener “Delusions of Saviour” lets the listener know right from the start that they are in store for a classic Slayer album. It leads to the album’s title track “Repentless.” A song with riffs as brutal as the disturbing video the band shot for it. From there, “Take Control,” (which is a diatribe about society, war and politics) melds “Chemical Warfare” with “At Dawn They Sleep.” While the line “A little violence is the ultimate drug, let’s get high” sums up “Vices.” Drummer Paul Bostaph’s relentless (Or should we say Repentless) assault on his kit drives tracks like “Cast the First Stone” and “You Against You,” while songs such as “When the Stillness Comes” show that even when Slayer take it down a notch, it still winds up being heavier than most other shit out there. To keep the diehards happy, cuts like “Implode,” “Atrocity Vendor,” “Pride In Prejudice” and “Chasing Death,” which deals with alcoholism, mix all the musical elements that made Slayer great in the first place and could have been on any of the classic albums from the 80’s & 90’s. Elsewhere, you can really feel the presence and spirit of Jeff Hanneman throughout “Piano Wire.” Maybe that’s because it is the one track on the album written by their fallen comrade. Here’s the bottom line. For those who felt the band should have stopped or those upset about Dave Lombardo not being on the album, all you need to know is this. Not only does Repentless do the band’s legacy justice, it is something the band and fans can be proud of and gets a much deserved Rating: 9/10 -Eric Hunker