Vertigo Records Album Review: REPENTLESS by SLAYER


In my dusted world, there are a few bands that could put out the same exact record for 30 years and I would still buy it and love every second of it.  AC/DC has made the same record for 40 years, and I love it.  Black Sabbath did much the same.  Until today, Slayer was also in this class.

Don’t get me wrong, Repentless has it’s merits.  Yes, there are a tonne of riffs here, but it all feels called in.  It feels as if every song on this record was recorded in bits and pieces with each musician sitting at a chair while they recorded their bit.  When I was making my transition from bands like Metallica, Anthrax, and Megadeth to the lore of Slayer, the one constant factor that blew me away about them was the fact the the music and feel of the band was absolutely relentless.  The came at you with everything they had, both musically and vocally, pinned you to the ground, kerry-king-slayerand waited until you turned blue from the onslaught.  This record has moments where the vault of endless riffage comes through and you can feel that boot come closer to your neck, but it doesn’t have the kill shot I need from my Slayer, and it all starts with that awful intro Delusions of Saviour.

It’s not wrong.  You know, that saying – “first impressions are everything”.  This lackluster bush-league riff needn’t ever see itself on a Slayer record, let alone be the first track.  And again, what the fuck is up with drum triggers.  That shit is terrible on all levels.  I know, it’s all about the genre.  Fuck that – it sounds like garbage.  Let the drums sound the way they sound for fuck sake.  The
production is heavy as fuck, and bowels quake with the growl of the guitars and bass, but it just doesn’t feel like Slayer.  I’ve been waiting for this for awhile now, and all I wanted was to be knocked the fuck out.  That didn’t happen.  The opening of the title track is smashy, and after a slight wipe of my brow I felt the train get back on the rails, but it still feels phoned in.  Take Control is fast and aggressive, but the riffage just isn’t there.  I know, I should go fuck myself, who am I to judge the almighty Lords of Thrash?  Well, when you have ruled the world of metal for almost my entire life, you get held to a certain standard.  Yes, this album should stand on its own, but fuck that – 6635628490ef413320c28a9f3e1fd8f8Slayer got all the riffs, and unless they want to admit that the riff well is dry, then I judge them based on their use of said riffs.  Perhaps Kerry King should have spent less time in the media this year and more time in the riff layer forging licks worthy of the name Slayer.

Tom Araya is still a beast though.  His rage never lets up, even in the slower songs Slayer have done over the years.  When he spits his venom into the microphone, you know you’ve been told something important and that you’d best listen up.  However, that is where it ends for me with the record.  I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Slayer is really boring here.  Nothing jumps out at me like it used to.  All I wanted was a pummeling and they could not deliver.  Growly production and down-tuning may shake the room, but it’s the violence of Slayer that we all come back for.  It’s the utter disregard for our safety, that feeling of our souls being taken advantage of or stolen out from under us that puts Slayer into the same universe as a classic horror film.  It needs to be relentless or it fails.  Repentless is not relentless.  My weekend is ruined. – FATS

p.s. this video for the title track IS relentless though.  Ah, I need a drink.

REPENTLESS by SLAYER from the album REPENTLESS (Out Now)