For the first time in a long time; Slayer have something to prove again. There have been plenty of naysayers to the latest line-up of the legendary thrashers. On the face of it, you wonder why people even contemplate that this line-up couldn’t deliver a proper Slayer album. But with Jeff sadly passed away and Lombardo replaced; there will surely be some knock-on effect to the sound of this first album without Hanneman’s input.
Slayer have been delivering consistently good albums for a long time. Often slated for not doing anything different and conversely praised for sticking to their guns; albums like ‘World Painted Blood’ ‘Christ Illusion’ and especially the devastating ‘God Hates Us All’ have kept Slayer fans more than satisfied for the past decade or so.
This one has to stand out though…
It’s early days, but ‘Repentless’ does indeed stand out. It’s a great Slayer album with numerous tracks that already have the quality stamp on them. ‘Piano Wire’ is hidden away on the b-side but is a real stormer of a track, with a big riffy intro and trademark Araya vocal; it quite simply kills. ‘Atrocity Vendor’ ups the game another notch with it’s… dare we say it? Exodus crunch!
We’ve had ‘Implode’ for so long that it feels like an old classic and the title track and latest single is also one to stick up as a true belter.
So what about that distinctive Slayer sound? Has it been lost in the change around? No, not at all. Paul Bostaph drums like Paul Bostaph drums in Slayer. Nothing to see there, but there is undeniably a different feel to this album. Some of the riffs have a definite gallop to them that doesn’t stick strictly to the blueprint but with all those Kerry squeals whizzing by, it is still most definitely Slayer.
Jeff will never be fully replaced in Slayer as his shadow will linger over this band to the day it stops for good. Gary Holt is the best man for the job in this new line-up, he does a masterful but respectful job day-in day-out on the road and there’s no reason why that shouldn’t carry on in the studio.
‘Repentless’ genuinely sounds like the freshest record in the Slayer catalogue since ‘Divine Intervention’. Funnily enough, that was the first album without Lombardo the first time around; but we’re not having a dig at Dave at all here. We wouldn’t dare…
Things have certainly been shaken up in the Slayer camp and it has resulted in a great album in ‘Repentless’. It is, of course, very sad that this said shake-up was the result of such sad events and seemingly unnecessary falling out.
One thing we can be grateful of is that Slayer are still worthy of damaging your vocal chords for at every given opportunity. After three…