Sultans of thrash Slayer continue their ‘Repentless’ reign of glory against all odds.
The mere continued existence of Slayer is testament enough to their talent. Thrash remains in the capable hands of the Big Four, and it goes without saying that, despite all they’ve lost over recent years, they haven’t lost their spark. Six years since their last studio venture, and two years since the untimely loss of stringmaster Jeff Hanneman, some said this record may never come. But it has, and the metal realm is all the better for it. An accordingly towering statement of intent, ‘Repentless’ holds its existential moral story at its nucleus, as ‘Chasing Death’ details – “Time waits for no-one, won’t stop, it can’t be outrun.”
Despite a flat instrumental opener, the unapologetic brutality of the title track soon breaks the surface, featuring the chaotic solo trademark of Kerry King. “We will take control of this disaster called society,” scolds the authoritative ‘Take Control,’ while the doom-laden ‘Cast the First Stone’ demands payment in blood, but if face-melting solos were currency, Slayer would be rolling in it.
The lingering confidence of ‘When the Stillness Comes’ showcases Tom Araya’s great vocal range after all these years, supported by the determined ‘Chasing Death,’ a casual reminder of mortality. We’re all dying, every second, every minute that passes. Thrash is, without doubt, the best way to make every second count.
Beyond its somewhat comical introduction, ‘Implode’ depicts the world drowning in its own blood, humanity’s self-genocide. Presented by Jeff’s untimely swansong ‘Piano Wire,’ the “never surrender” mentality proves significantly poignant. The unfathomable brutality of ‘Atrocity Vendor’ proves a phenomenal sideshow to crusading closer (and owner of a clever pun-laden title) ‘Pride in Prejudice,’ a no-holds-barred, no-bullshit anthem we come to expect from the masters of shred.
All things considered, this twelfth opus can stand tall among its studio predecessors. It may not be flawless, but it’s aptly named and bursting with character – Slayer have been, and always will be ‘Repentless.’
’Repentless’ by Slayer is out now on Nuclear Blast.
Words by Ali Cooper (@AliZombie_)