After waiting for what felt like an eternity since World Painted Blood (2009), Slayer have finally released their long awaited new album Repentless. While the album contains all the memorable Slayer elements we've come to love, the album is also a bit polarizing to a lot of fans, and you can look at that having a lot to do with the absence of Jeff Hanneman after his untimely passing in May 2013, but we all agree that Gary Holt has been doing a phenomenal job for the past four years carrying the torch that Jeff left behind. There's also the drummer change with Paul Bostaph returning to replace Dave Lombardo once again. There was definitely some skepticism from fans, but now that the album's been out for a bit, people can actually make their opinions about it rather than just speculate. I will share with you what I think about the album throughout this review.
The slow build of the ominous intro track "Delusions Of Saviour" prepares you for the onslaught of thrash that follows with the title track, which is the most aggressive track here. When you think about it, it's pretty cookie-cutter Slayer riffs, but it's perfect for mosh pits. The album may not have Jeff Hanneman's playing, but "Piano Wire" is a Hanneman-penned song from the World Painted Blood sessions. A few songs were re-recorded for the album, like the tracks that were released early like "Implode" and "When The Stillness Comes" and the familiar track "Atrocity Vendor", the B-side from World Painted Blood, was also re-recorded for the album.
It's pretty common for an album to lose its way in the second half, but with Repentless, the album fluctuates because the less memorable tracks and moments seem to be scattered. Tracks like "Cast The First Stone", "Pride In Prejudice" and "Vices" sound very uninspired with bland riffs. However each of these songs have one riff in them that save them from the bin. While tracks like "When The Stillness Comes" and "You Against You" are some of the album's better tracks, they're not quite up there with the likes of "Seasons In The Abyss", "Spirit In Black" and "Angel Of Death". I also feel that "Piano Wire" also feels uninspired.
I don't think Repentless will win back any of the people who have written them off for continuing without Hanneman, but there is still plenty of fury to be found on the album. Tom Araya's vocals are still in great form and maybe better than ever. The guitar work between King and Holt is furious, and as far as the drumming goes, this is Bostaph's best album with Slayer in my opinion, with all respect to Divine Intervention, Diabolus In Musica and God Hates Us All because those are all great.
Highs: "Repentless", "Implode" and "You Against You" are fantastic tracks.
Lows: Exactly half the album is good, while the other half is just filler.
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