SLAYER - REPENTLESS CD/DVD
(Nuclear Blast Records)
Review by Nathan McLeod
This CD starts out really powerful & heavy! From the intro-instrumental of Delusions Of Savior to Repentless to Take Control, this is brutal, Slayer in your face. Slows down a bit with Vices to Cast The First Stone to When The Stillness Comes; just a bit. Even a bit more with When The Stillness Comes to Chasing Death. With the endings of When The Stillness Comes head banging double bass pounding heavy. Picks back up the pace on Implode to Piano Wire to Atrocity Vendor to You Against You. With the outro track of Pride With Prejudice slowing back down.
What I am hearing thru out Repentless seems like a culmination of all their releases to date as far as sound, rhythms, lyrics, drums, leads, structure, etc. Is this really anything new? Well of course it is. Is the 1st release with Gary Holt on guitar. 1st time Kerry King had taken over with damn near all the writing & composition duties. 1st time Paul Bostaph has been on a Slayer studio release In over a decade. And 1st Slayer release without Jeff Hanneman.
Outstanding job done up by Kerry King & his writing abilities on Repentless. He did a great fucking job in doing so. Paul Bostaph is back with a vengeance on the drums! The best I've heard Paul since Divine Intervention, if not 10x & 10-fold better. What did they give this guy? Red bull, steroids, & meth!? Gary Holt offers a superb performance on his 1st Slayer CD. Exceptional lead guitar work! Tom has been as consistent with his vocal & bass abilities since Slayer's incarnation.
Artists that have been around as long as Slayer will undoubtedly go thru their trials & tribulations with their music, band members, personal matters, & so on. As far as music goes, well, I think Slayer was at their strongest during the mid-80's. Started a slow downhill slope moving on into the 90's a bit. As the new millennium approached slipped a bit farther. Onto the 1st decade into the millennium started to pick back up. And believe people believed that with the passing of Jeff Hanneman that Slayer were gonna faulter a bit. I really don't believe they had.
I actually believe that if Slayer may have slipped a bit with Jeff no longer being with us, do believe that the flip side to that coin being is Jeff's passing was inspirational in a sense to what you hear on Repentless & see live. A better than honest attempt at a new Slayer release without Jeff, Paul back, & Gary in the Slayer ranks.
Of the four (4) studio releases since the new millennium & the last of the millennia.I'd put World Painted Blood 1st, a tie for 2nd with Christ Illusion & Repentless, & God Hates Us All 3rd, & Diabolus In Musica in 4th. Thinking that it's gonna take Slayer with a 2nd to 3rd release with Paul & Gary to gain that momentum once again that some people believe they may have lost. My belief is that Kerry did a fucking excellent job writing most of Repentless on his own & that the true testament of time will stand with a CD written jointly amongst Tom, Kerry, Paul, & Gary. Collectively & collabourately.
Repentless is a brutal release. Not as fast as I expected with some of the tracks a slower, melodic, sinister vibe to them. Recommend it to not only the die hard Slayer fans, but too metal fans alike. Off to the next would be to check Slayer out live & just how well what is heard here on Repentless is delivered live. I'm sure they, Slayer won't let people down.
I really like the 1st three (3) tracks on Repentless, You Against you, Piano Wire, & Chasing Death. Implode & Cast The First Stone are two (2) tracks I have difficulty with. Reminds me a bit too much of the Diabolus In Musica & God Hates Us All, which are the two (2) Slayer CD's I have a hard time with. What I think makes Repentless great is what I had mentioned earlier is it sounds like a cumulative of everything Slayer has done to date release-wise. I can definitely hear the early Slayer to the new Slayer material & everything in between on Repentless. Although a lot of mediocrity amidst Repentless, this is still solid Slayer.
Repentless tracklist: I) Delusions Of Savior II) Repentless III) Take Control IV) Vices V) Cast The First Stone VI) When The Stillness Comes VII) Chasing Death VIII) Implode IX) Piano Wire X) Atrocity Vendor XI) You Against You XII) Pride In Prejudice - total run time 42:09.
Repentless Video: https://youtu.be/yjb0j9l1sz4
My rating: 84 / 100
95+ : Outstanding, high valued albums & Classic Ones… a direct purchase is advisable !
Between 90 and 95: Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan
Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it
Between 70 and 79: Decent but best previewing
Between 60 and 69: Rather moderate
Between 50 and 59: Bad, substandard
50- : Rubbish
Repentless DVD: For those who've never seen Slayer live with either Paul Bostaph & or Gary Holt/Paul Bostaph, this a really great DVD extra arriving with their Repentless CD. This gives the viewer & listener both a glimpse of who & what Slayer is live today or in the present-tense. I won't say this performance is flawless. It is though far above average & up to par; a Slayer gripping performance.
There are certain areas that one can tell that this is in fact Paul Bostaph back on drums. Not a whole helluva lot, but some. Then again Paul has been in & out of Slayer three (3) different times over a 23yr period now. And Paul is definitely not playing like he had surgery on his either wrist or hand not too many years back that left him departing Testament, & Gene Hoglan returning. Really wish there was more of the drum cam on Paul thru out this DVD. Hasn't lost his touch. But take any drummer in & outa Slayer or in the thrash metal genre who's still pounding the skins @ 51yrs of age, give or take, & aye, props! Body sure takes a beating after all the yrs.
Tom hasn't lost his voice much. Harder & harder & a bit apparent for Tom to hit that high scream on Angel Of Death & a couple other areas during this DVD. The other more notable track would be on War Ensemble. Had basically conformed some belief whilst reviewing their Repentless (Single): http://metaltoinfinity.be/CDREVIEWS_QRST/slayer_repentless.html
"Moving onto the 'War Ensemble' live track I think possibly a 'better' track could have been used. And is really the track I took a really 'close' listen too. 'Production' is not the 'greatest'. Seems like 'Tom' misses on the 'vocal' lines here & there @ '1:39' & '2:06' into 'War Ensemble'. Is there a 'difference' between 'Paul' & 'Dave's' drumming? Of course. I can hear the 'difference's'. Is there a 'difference' between 'Gary' & 'Jeff's' guitaring? Most definitely. 'Kerry' definitely stood out 'amongst' everyone on this live version of 'War Ensemble'."
Certainly has not lost his ability to play the bass. Tom don't miss a fucking note! And now @ 54yrs of age, he obviously cannot headbang like he had for say the better part of the last 30yrs or so. Sucks getting older. Tom is & always be the voice of Slayer! I really cannot see them ever moving on without Tom Araya.
Gary Holt rips this up. When it comes to the # of guitar solos performed vs. the # that Kerry King performs thru out this DVD, it's like 60% Gary & the other 40% Kerry. More or less that is. Can you hear the differences between Gary & Jeff? Sure you can. It's not the structure of a Gary vs. Jeff persona that differs live, or a Gary vs. Jeff period as a guitar player. Gary seems to be a bit heavy on the tremolo with I'd say 75% of the solos performed. Thus giving them a bit of a different sound & a bit of his own twist or defining signature. And where I believe that Gary's style of guitar playing is more resembling of that of Kerry's than Jeff's.
Of the guitarists that have been in Slayer, Kerry, Jeff, Gary, & even Pat O'Brien lets say. I've always preferred Kerry King & his style of guitar playing. Kerry IMO has always been a bit more brutal & intense with his style of playing that had always appealed to me. The more hardcore, in-your-face, down-your-throat style of guitar playing. As far as song writers go, well, I believe Jeff had Kerry beat in that dept. And obviously a bit too early to tell what Gary will bring to the table as far as writing skills are concerned with Slayer. So outa this DVD performance, Kerry belts things out! "The Song Remains The Same" with Kerry King & Slayer. Kerry has truly given Slayer the evil signature sound! Suppose he had no other choice but to be?
No, I do not take anything away from any of the guys from Slayer one bit. They work great as a unit. And even though Jeff Hanneman has been gone now going on 3yrs now, these four (4) bring some new life back into Slayer. Energetic, intense, more stage presence. The live tracks I really liked from the Live @ Wacken are: Captor Of Sin, Raining Blood, Dead Skin Mask, Black Magic, & really dug the fuck outa Angel Of Death with the Jeff Hanneman-Angel Of Death-Still Reigning banner that was flown above the stage. Rest In Peace, Jeff.
Slayer Live @ Wacken 2014 tracklist: I) Intro II) Hell Awaits III) The Antichrist IV) Mandatory Suicide V) Hate Worldwide VI) War Ensemble VII) Postmortem VIII) Captor Of Sin IX) Disciple X) Seasons In The Abyss XI) Born Of Fire XII) Dead Skin Mask XIII) Raining Blood XIV) Black Magic XV) South Of Heaven XVI) Angel Of Death XVII0 Credits - total run time 1:08:05 - https://youtu.be/pvNo5IigOJA
Making of 'Repentless' Documentary - total run time approx. 45mins: I'd actually caught the making of 'Repentless' on YouTube this past October. Very informative. I'd personally been curious as to whom did the song & lyric writing for Repentless, with Jeff Hanneman no longer with us? Apparently 90% of Repentless was written by Kerry King. (I'm actually commenting on the DVD portion of this review before the CD). I am truly hoping that the rest of Repentless, is as brutal as the title track itself?!
I'd commented in the recent past regarding Paul's return to Slayer & the criteria that was given to both Paul & Jon Dette, same two (2) tracks, same set of parameters, same time frame, etc. I have a preference in Jon over Paul as drummers. Both equally as good as one another. taking nothing away from either of them. Just prefer Jon's style of Paul's. And would really like to hear these two (2) tracks that both Jon & Paul were given & both the outcomes. Purely curiosity on my part.
To comment on Gary Holt's debut release in Slayer, was something Paul had mentioned about Gary being an "OG" in the thrash metal genre. Of course! History books ain't lying there either. And do quite agree with Paul. This all being Gary's replacement for Jeff Hanneman, the obvious choice. Tom says basically, "Gary earned it". Kerry saying that Gary was his 1st choice. I don't disagree with any of the statements & or could not agree more with what was said, & then some. I don't think there was anyone better as a replacement for Jeff Hanneman!
So ladies & gentlemen, I'd definitely get out & see Slayer during their Repentless World Tour!
In the beginning, when there were no blueprints, no set paths, no boundaries or steps to follow, SLAYER assaulted the world with its hybrid of metal and punk.
*Vocals and Bass / Tom Araya
*Guitars / Kerry King
*Guitars / Gary Holt
*Drums / Paul Bostaph
*Metal Archives: http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Slayer/72
REST IN PEACE JEFF HANNEMAN 1963-2013