There’s a certain inevitability that comes along with critiquing one of the “classics”; an act so well known that their very name rings throughout the air, from East to West and North to South of Heaven. What’s inevitable is that at some point during their new work, it starts to sound familiar, lacking any real drive. Whether or not this is countered with throwback performances can be the key factor in making an eleventh record jump or trip. Slayer are certainly not jumping, it can’t be expected with the loss of a man so key to their success.
At this point, they may need a minute to check themselves because Repentless is definitely a toe stub of a step forward. The middle tracks of this album, “When The Stillness Comes” and “Chasing Death” are possibly the least attention grabbing eight minutes of 2015. King’s riffs here sound like they’ve been played through a surrogate, not entirely capable of playing as fast as the moment requires. Even one of his unique leads fails to get going, stuttering before failing to take off whatsoever. The stillness never leaves until the albums last track, which is probably only a touch more memorable than it’s preceding cuts due to the gleefully sassy nature of it’s title. The material all stalls because of riffs that go on for fucking ever. Don’t even bother with the intro track. Seriously. King is in a glass house when it comes to the extent of his song writing skills and he barely makes it out of this album alive because of it; only thanks to a couple of magic grooves and time changes into breakneck speeds does he remain with head above water.
There is genuinely nothing new here and so be it. If Slayer are going to continue then this is probably the best thing that can happen. Get the first one outta the way and charge forward. To counter all of the bashing, Repentless doesn’t sound totally shit. Every cymbal and bit of kit rolls clearly and clearly and Araya’s bass is audible enough to remind everyone listening what it is he does between verses. The guitars are pretty flat and the tone is set from beginning to end of the record but Kerry King.
Again, at this point it stops being that big a deal as it’s already clear where the albums strength comes from and it is not the ingenuity or skill on display here. It’s that it’s a Slayer album. People will find reason to continue to play this, long after being fully aware of how little this album has changed absolutely anybodies reaction to Slayer, regardless of their circumstances. Except for when Araya belts out a call to spark up – “Let’s get high!”. Pretty fucking funny. The most memorable part about the album for quite a few, would be a safe bet. Next time around might be different if King gives Holt something to do. Probably not. It’ll be a Slayer album. Slayer’s Repentless gets… 2.5/5
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Slayer – Repentless