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Slayer – Repentless - 25%

Daemonium_CC, September 15th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2015, CD, Nuclear Blast

Okay, this is going to be a tough one to write. Like many others, I grew up with this band and have been following them since 1991. I’ve seen them live over ten times. I really wanted this to be good, but.. it’s just not.

For some reason, everything after Divine Intervention has just rubbed me the wrong way. I could never really get into it, except for a few tracks here and there, like “Point” and “Screaming From the Sky” and maybe “War Zone”, for it’s straight up aggression. But really that’s about it. God Hates Us All was terrible (thankfully there are none of those horrendous nu metal riffs here), Christ Illusion and World Painted Blood were just forgettable. And especially after losing Jeff, I was really curious to see what they would, or could, bring to the table.

Ah, Jeff. The guy lurking in the shadows, never taking the spotlight, but writing the best and most classic tunes for the band. He didn’t have to prove anything to anyone. Jeff was the deal. He didn’t feel the need for flash, or hell, even interviews. He just did what he did. He did it better than most. Sadly he’s not with us anymore, but if there was ever a member of Slayer I would have really liked to sit down and talk with, it would have been Jeff, hands down. He just seemed like a very interesting person, and a lot deeper than what he would allow the media to see. He liked his privacy and I absolutely respect that.

I’m not going to make comparisons to classic albums because we all know deep down that Slayer will never be able to deliver on that level again. But come on.. the output on this album, for more than half of it, is just weak. Bland riffs, bland arrangements, and terribly stupid lyrics. Remember when Slayer lyrics used to be fucked up and good? Well they haven’t been like that for 20 years now. The lyrics here are embarrassing.

The production and sound on the album is decent. It’s nothing special, even with Terry Date behind the desk. Everything sounds okay, but just bland and uninspired. The only real problem I have is with the kick drums. How the hell did that even get approved? Really, that’s the kick drum sound? Speaking of drums, Paul Bostaph’s performance here is very, very boring. He’s just doing the bare minimum and nothing else, I never would have expected him to play it so safe. Let me also point out that I have no problems with Paul and in fact, I think his style suits Slayer more, as he’s more of a mechanical, cold type of drummer which fits in with their music better in my opinion. But here, he’s not even that. There’s no creativity in his drumming whatsoever.

Gary Holt is on the album, and I love Gary. I’m really glad he didn’t contribute anything to this, because pretty much nothing is note worthy. He played a few leads and that’s it. Tom sounds bored and out of place at times, and Kerry..

Kerry is really getting on my fucking nerves. There’s no other way to say it. He’s treated Dave like shit over the years, talked shit about Paul when he first left the band, and was even a bit of a dick when talking about Jeff after his passing. And he will milk Slayer fans for every cent that he can because to him Slayer is just a business now – he doesn’t want to let it go. He would never have the courage to just stop Slayer and start another band. Why? No one would give a fuck. And he’s not capable of writing anything else other than half assed Slayer riffs, a mere shadow of his former self. Kerry is great live, but that’s about it.

I really wanted this to be good, but besides “You Against You”, the album goes in one ear and out the other. That’s the only track which is a bit different from the others and it works. The riffs are good, the arrangement is good, hell, even the leads are good. Thanks Gary.

While the album is not terrible and doesn’t feature anything as hideous as “Threshold” (seriously, go back and listen to that song again) it’s still not good enough. Slayer need to REALLY step up their game, they need to take risks, they need to be madly aggressive and angry next time around so people will go “holy fucking shit – that’s amazing”, and if they’re not willing to do that, then they should just stop.

Only for the die hard's, I suppose. I thought I was one of them, but I guess I’m not. I’d rather listen to something else.

R.I.P. Jeff Hanneman, 1964-2013.