My heart still hurts from the loss of Jeff but I was ready to gingerly jump back on the Slayer train when they announced “Repentless” because, let’s face it: Slayer rules. Slayer has always ruled. [Editor’s Note: Yes, I totally count the “Diabolus in Musica” period of the late 90s where they experimented with groove. That record is underrated.]
Talking about Slayer with other fans can be a polarizing experience though. You have your pretentious O.G. contingency that will say the pre-“Reign in Blood” Metal Blade era was best. Then you have the most popular opinion that the time span of the first three records for American (circa 86-90) is the best era. [Editor’s Note: That is a hard one to dispute. It is nigh impossible to name a better 3 records in a row by ANY band. Put your votes in the comments.] The mid-to-late 90s Paul Bostaph era Slayer is the hardest to defend. Yes, Dave Lombardo is God-tier, but I think his legacy obfuscated the fact that Paul is a straight up beast on the skins so I don’t think the lineup change accounts for the slight drop off in the quality of those records. I chalk it up to how the times were a-changin’ in the metal scene of the late 90s. Slayer was not immune. We are now up to 2000s era Slayer, which I call the 2nd coming. “God Hates Us All” is easily my favorite Slayer record outside of the big 3 while a strong case can be made that “World Painted Blood” is the single-most underrated Slayer record of the bunch. This brings us up to the present, where we collectively still mourn the loss of arguably the greatest metal songwriter of the last 2 generations but we know that the metal world is still better with Slayer in it. We now have “Repentless.”
At this point in their career, Slayer has been put in a Kobayashi Maru situation. If they experiment with their sound, purists may rebel. (See the “Diabolus” backlash.) If they make the same record again, people will think they are getting stale. (See the sentiment of the records that came after “God Hates Us All.”) If they make a “bad” record, everyone will say they lost it when Jeff died. That is a remarkable amount of undue pressure to put on a fucking thrash band. Gladly, with “Repentless,” Slayer decided to simply kick the door in and say, “Remember us?” and just start shredding. Honestly, that is all I ever wanted. m/
3/5 = Good
Is “Repentless” going to change your life? No.
Does “Repentless” fucking shred? You’re goddamn right.
Is “Repentless” an actual word? No. No it is not.
Do only assholes care that the actual word is “Unrepentant?” Yes. [Editor’s Note: Sorry. I like grammar.]
Does it matter? No. Just turn it up and bang your fuckin’ head.