With the passing of guitarist and songwriter Jeff Hanneman and drummer Dave Lombardo quitting the band for the third time, Slayer fans had cause to be concerned about “Repentless”, the band’s latest offering. Turns out they shouldn’t have worried, because even though “Repentless” might not become an instant thrash classic, it is definitely a solid addition to Slayer’s discography.
Original members Tom Araya and Kerry King seem determined to keep their thrash flag flying proudly. And with the help of drummer Paul Bostaph and Exodus guitarist Gary Holt, it’s fair to say they succeeded in crafting a cohesive album. At the very least, it beats the crap out of anything Metallica did in recent years (yes, we still haven’t forgiven them for that atrocious collaboration with Lou Reed).
Basically, Slayer is as Slayer does on “Repentless”. As a result some of these new songs will more than likely contribute to at least a couple of neck injuries. “Take Control” begins blisteringly fast and stays… well, blisteringly fast up until the end. Some of the solos on tracks like “Repentless” and “Atrocity Vendor” are sure to start a wildfire. And Bostaph may not out-drum Lombardo, but he doesn’t seem to have any problems keeping up with Araya and King. Speaking of solos and riffs, “Piano Wire” is the only song on the album Hanneman had a hand in writing. All the other guitar parts come courtesy of Kerry King and you gotta hand it to the guy, he stepped up to the plate.
“Repentless” might not be Slayer’s career-defining album, but you can still headbang the fuck out of these tunes. And that’s good enough for me.