Slayer | Repentless (Nuclear Blast)

slayer-repentless-album-cover-artWhile different metal trends have come and gone, Slayer stays, well, Slayer.


Slayer, kings of thrash metal since 1981, is back with its 12th studio album, Repentless, a 12-track disc of angry, aggressive dark metal. Known as part of the “Big 4” (along with Metallica, Anthrax and Megadeth), Slayer has never strayed from its musical roots, yet has expanded them in a big way. Their style is original, even after so many years on the scene. While different metal trends have come and gone, Slayer stays, well, Slayer.

After guitarist Jeff Hannaman’s sudden death of liver failure in 2013, it was questioned whether or not Slayer would go on. As a result, this is an album that was almost never made. But the band felt Hannaman would not want to quit, so on they went, bringing in Gary Hart to replace Hannaman. Founding member, bassist, and lead vocalist Tom Araya has refined his vocal style, making it much more pleasing to the ear. On some tracks, including “Implode,” Araya actually sings—and it’s not half bad. Ever-present, though, is Araya’s signature shout, almost reminiscent of Motörhead’s Lemmy, just much cleaner “Vices” is an almost Sabbath-like doomy track with its dark, melodic riff.

Melody seems to play a bigger part on Repentless than on previous releases. This album sees a return to the melodic Slayer we learned to love from South of Heaven, making it one of the best albums the band has made in years. Brutal in its attack, there is more feeling on this album than just the relentless thrash delivery. Guitarist Kerry King still delivers blistering licks; the song-crafting is top notch; and Terry Date’s production brings the band together tightly, eliciting the rhythmic feel of each track.

Slayer has always been much more than its genre. They have indeed set the bar in their genre, and they have set it quite high. For a band that sees very little, if any, radio airplay, their success is certain. The new album is available on CD, vinyl, and limited-edition CD digipak, with stellar artwork, with the deluxe edition unfolding into the shape of an inverted cross. Also included is the band’s set from the Wacken Open Air festival in Germany, a 17-track visual and sonic boom of the band live. B | Marc Farr

About Marc Farr 244 Articles
Marc Farr is the Live Music & Assignments Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. He's so invaluable to us, we've nicknamed him Mr. Music. Reach out if you have coverage ideas! "I know it's only rock and roll...but I like it!"
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