Be Repentless and Survive
When you have been doing a genre of music for so long that you often get called the king of said genre, you don’t have to release records. You can just tour when you need the cash, then go home to your wives and kids and call it a day. After all, it’s risky to put out albums as you get older. You risk alienating your fans for not being what you were when you started or a finicky public might give you grief about replacing a member. These are things that lots of bands go through and often don’t survive.
But this is Slayer.
Not only have they released a new album, they have released a really good one. One that has a new member for the first time since Dave Lombardo took his sabbatical in the early 90’s. Granted losing the great Jeff Hanneman was and is an incredibly hard thing to do since he has been a part of writing some of the greatest metal songs of all time with Slayer and was there when the band started in 1981.
Tapping Gary Holt of Bay Area greats Exodus, Slayer has brought a new life to themselves and their music. Songs like the album’s title track, “Repentless,” show that they are bringing it back to their early-era thrash songwriting. Paul Bostaph – Dave Lombardo’s replacement – puts in his best performance here. Gary Holt and Kerry King double down on some solos here that will make you air guitar wherever you are.
“Take Control,” the third track on Repentless, shows how Tom Araya is utilizing his voice these days. The man has been screaming for over 30 years so some things are a bit a different lately. Gone are the blood curdling screams of Show No Mercy, in their place guttural yells. His voice still brings power – it’s just a bit different. The lyrics have, gladly, stayed the same. Songs like “Vices” have lines such as “A little violence is the ultimate drug / Lets get high.” Good ol’ Slayer.
Of course Repentless is no classic. It’s hard to top when you have three consecutive albums many people consider to be some of the greatest metal releases of all time. It is however a solid LP, one that many believed wouldn’t be coming. Clearly we should have known better than to bet against the mighty Slayer. They always survive.