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Slayer - Repentless - 65%

Orbitball, December 30th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2015, CD, Nuclear Blast

Still maintaining the thrash element, but here is 'God Hates Us All' revisited. Even that album I have more respect for than this, mainly because of Hanneman, but also because on both guitarist's fronts, their leads were still good. The rhythms on this one are along the same paths, with a tint of clean guitar pieces, though not much. I'm driving at the fact that without the key ingredient to the songwriting i.e. Slayer of the olden days, 'Repentless' falls short. There is that aggression that still exists in the band, but let's face it, Hanneman and Lombardo were the core to Slayer's unique sound and energy which hasn't been the same since (I think) 'Seasons in the Abyss'. I say this because to me that's their last good album.

'Repentless' I was skeptical about especially after hearing the song "Implode" before the CD was released to the public. I thought that it was a pretty generic tune. Holt tries to mimic the Hanneman's sound on his leads, but no one was as unique in the lead department for Slayer except Jeff. I remember reading an interview in the early 90's where Jeff stated that the albums show which leads are whose because he didn't want people to think his were thought of or mistaken to be King's. Not to digress, but not only is 'Repentless' generic on the rhythm guitar aspect, King is absolutely horrible in his total lack of effort in the lead front. Let's face it, Slayer should in my opinion just retire. My favorites were those of the earlier days. Old Slayer is dead, long live old Slayer!

Araya hasn't been the same since 'Reign in Blood', on there I think and on 'Show No Mercy' were his best vocals. Yes, on 'Repentless' his voice does go good with the guitars, but the band's ability to write memorable songs is totally lacking. I'd go so far to say that Slayer reigned best from 'Show No Mercy' all the way to 'Seasons in the Abyss'. After that, they went rancid. Not having Lombardo behind the kit you hear Paul's snare drum with a "popping" sound to it along with a total lack of effort on his part here on 'Repentless'. There were some albums he did with Slayer that were mediocre. On here, he's just burnt out. His drum lines don't show or could ever be as creative as Dave was with Slayer. I have total dislike for Paul.

There's really nothing that sets 'Repentless' apart from Slayer's discography, only that it's among the realm of their worst releases, even worse than 'World Tainted Blood' and 'Christ Illusion'. Even though Jeff was still live and on those albums, they still reeked of putrefaction. People that say that 'Repentless' is "not bad" are the people that praise Slayer's newer material versus their old. There isn't a song on here that I liked. I thought the whole album was crap. There's nothing significant about it, only that it is praised by this 21st century listeners of Slayer, not the 20th century ones who are alive to hear me compare their older material all the way up until present day.

This is bad music -- it totally lacks in the creative aspect of the band's writing and King should just wrap it up with his leads. None of the music is really significant or memorable. Nothing like Jeff's older riffs. Holt is a good guitar player and replacement, but he tries to mirror what he thought Jeff would approve of but to me he's not as good. A lot wah pedal use by both guitarists in their leads, mostly by Kerry. My score is in the "D" range because I don't think that they totally flopped out. I just think they could've spent more time focusing on the music and the lyrics Slayer has never been good at writing. The one good thing I'll say is at least they didn't change their thrash roots.

This 21st century Slayer doesn't really contribute to the ingenious qualities that were so prevalent in their earlier days. In my opinion, I stopped liking them after 'Seasons in the Abyss'. Not that they didn't put out decent work in the 90's, it's just their ideas sort of ran out and even Jeff's and Kerry's leads were predictable. 'Repentless' doesn't have much to offer unless you had a musical lobotomy and praised it for something that it is not. The production quality was okay, just Rick Rubin was their best producer I think. Tom still has the yelling going on in the songs, some of the rhythms written were just "ok", Kerry's lead's were horrendous and Paul's drumming totally lacked ingenuity and precision. Don't get this, get their earlier work if you don't have it already!