Thrash metal titans, SLAYER, are back with their new studio album, Repentless. It is the first album that the band have released since the death of guitarist Jeff Hanneman, turning over a new leaf for the band that helped craft a much loved genre in the world of metal.
Filling in the big hole that Hanneman left is EXODUS guitarist, Gary Holt and replacing Dave Lombardo is former drummer, Paul Bostaph returning to the SLAYER fold for the third time after his last appearance on the God Hates Us All album in 2001.
SLAYER have always been a highly recognised band in the metal scene but Repentless is the album that marks such a significant change in how they will progress and move forward. Despite their first single, When the Stillness Comes, not striking to everyone’s fancy, it is definitely not the case throughout the rest.
For such a drastic change, SLAYER sure do know how to say that they’re back as opening track, Delusions of Saviour eases into the sound that made them a band that so many worship.
As the frantic title track opens and the rest of the album continues, it is clear that this is of course a SLAYER record, it’s been heard and done before but it’s easily pushed through because this is how everyone has loved them and sometimes in life, we need home comforts. SLAYER records that sound similar throughout the years are the home comforts of metal.
It isn’t a bad thing that they have kept such a similar sound because they do it so well and even after the drastic and awful changes that would have knocked any band for six, Kerry King and Tom Araya have proved that they have the fight left in them to do what they all loved best and the replacements for two iconic musicians are next to none.
It is hard not to mention that Jeff Hanneman’s magic touch on the guitar work is missing. The chaotic fight over solos between King and Hanneman is gone and the solo’s that are in the mix are noticeably one sided now, it is the most significant and saddening change to the sound that has kept so many gripped.
It might be the same old to talk about the missing factors that Hanneman created in SLAYER but if you’re a die-hard fan of the band, you notice it and it’s all you can really think about.
Despite the adjust being a difficult change it is a great album done by the band, it’s still angry and it’s still heavy. It’s not an album that will stick out in the bands history for its music however. It’s been heard and done before and yes, whilst we might love it, it also feels like a slight let down and disappointment. Understandably on the bands behalf of having King take over most of the guitar parts, it must be pointed out that they have wasted the talent of Holt.
For Repentless, this was a new chapter, a turning point for SLAYER but the iconic band seem to have dismissed everything new that was brought to the table and stuck with what they know best, rightly so but it is a shame that this has happened to one of the greatest bands in the history of metal.
It’s an incredible album, it’s everything you want from SLAYER but Repentless lacks the heart that made them so special and it’s a sad thing to admit.
RATING : 5/10