Slayer - Repentless LP
- SLAYER (USA) - Repentless (2015) Black gatefold vinyl. Repentless, the 12th album from the Thrash Metal institution Slayer, comes at the most fraught time in the band's career. But despite the death of founding guitarist Jeff Hanneman and the absence of founding drummer Dave Lombardo, it offers the best possible outcome.
Three decades on from Hell Awaits, "Delusions of Saviour" shows they still know how to create a lurching intro, minus Satan yelling "WELCOME BACK!" The title track and "Take Control" display steadfast worship to their own speed; the product is quality, and Repentless does benefit from focusing on that speed Hanneman fostered.
But "When the Stillness Comes" recalls "Spill the Blood" from South of Heaven and "Dead Skin Mask" from Seasons in the Abyss, two of Slayer's slower classics. Araya works within his vocal limitations to complement King's rhythms to honor Slayer's slower side without straining or parodying himself. Sticking close to the Slayer playbook was probably the most sensical move—King and Araya have every chance to overindulge or lose the plot but don't. Most songs on Repentless will remind you of a specific track from Slayer's past, and there's enough diversity within their own style. **originally published on pitchfork.com by Andy O'Connor** Nuclear Blast – NB 3359-1, Nuclear Blast – 27361 33591