The dark horse of thrash metal rides again

Slayer’s “Repentless” proves metal is all but dead

By James Sears
Staff Writer

8 out of 10

slayerLegendary thrash metal band Slayer’s latest album “Repentless” released on Sept. 11 on record label Nuclear Blast is a statement to the world that the reigning kings of the genre are here to stay. It is not easy for an older band to rebound after a few years of inactivity.

Slayer lost their original drummer, Dave Lombardo, to contractual disputes in February of 2013 and their founding guitarist, Jeff Hanneman, to alcohol-based cirrhosis on May 2 the same year. Many saw this unfortunate turn of events as the beginning of the end for a band that influenced generations of metal bands.

After recruiting guitarist Gary Holt from Exodus, and drummer Paul Bostaph, Slayer regrouped and hit the studio for a few tracks. The few songs were written prior to the loss of Lombardo and Hanneman thus capturing Slayer’s former greatness. Lead singer and bassist, Tom Araya’s vocals could not be more menacing, while guitarist Kerry King’s chaotic riff attack remains as effective as ever in this 2015 juggernaut of a record.

Despite lacking some of the energy and ferocity found on 2009’s “World Painted Blood,” “Repentless” is a throwback to classic Slayer records like Seasons in the Abyss and Divine Intervention. Common lyrical themes such as religion on “Repentless,” society on “Cast the First Stone, You Against You” and death on “Chasing Death, When the Stillness Comes” remain a staple to the band’s music.

Many say that Slayer’s new personnel have changed the band’s sonic direction, that the legacy of Slayer may be tarnished. And while that might be true to some extent, one must not be too quick to count out the thrash titans of thrash just yet. For a band that has spent 34 years of it’s existence bleeding eardrums and tormenting the minds of listeners with blistering double-bass drum attacks, dizzying guitar solos, complemented with Kerry King’s social commentary, it is safe to say that Slayer’s impact on the whole metal world is all but diminished.

For listeners unfamiliar with the band or metal in general, this may prove to be a bit overwhelming. However, for those loyal to the “Slayer Nation” and looking for something in familiar territory, “Repentless” might just be the perfect album. The album is exactly what its title states; unrepentant, uncompromising, and not an album to simply be ignored by anyone.