(Running time: 41:56 minutes; 12 Songs)
("Nuclear Blast Records"; CD/standard edition; 2015):
Hey folks, back @ it again up here on your beloved "MANSLAUGHTER THUG LIFE" blog, next post, next record review coming now for you and like we did it before we will slowly but steady work from 2014 (the review on RISE OF THE NORTHSTAR's "WELCAME" debut, yesterday's post, the record was or is from 2014) over 2015 and 2016 up to another current 2017 release, and after yesterday we got an 2014 Album today we now have a 2015 release in store, and this one is no other than the so far last, still newest and so still current SLAYER Album "REPENTLESS", yes, the so far final or better, much better, last album of the nearly or once almighty SLAYER, one of the most important bands of all times - personally for me as well as also in the documented history of music(k). "REPENTLESS" was released in 2015 via the german "NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS" label and here I have the Standard CD Edition, there were also Vinyl Releases and limited collector's editions on CD as well as LP, but I have "just" the "normal" version of the album on CD and so my review will be "just" on this one. Before "REPENTLESS" was created (and then released) Jeff Hanneman (R.I.P.) died and Kerry King overtook songwriting duties completly by his own. To compensate the loss of Jeff Hanneman the mighty Gary Holt/EXODUS joined the band as a proper band-member after being the live guitarist of SLAYER beside Kerry King since now already 2011 (but without contributing so far anything to the songwriting on this very album here, why ever), and also (one more time again) Dave Lombardo left the band and was replaced (one more time again) by Paul Bostaph. So, if you want so, only Kerry King and Tom Araya are left as the only constant fix points in the world of SLAYER. So okay, what kind of meaning does all this now have when we look @ "REPENTLESS"? I heard and read a lot that this has a huge impact on it, some say to the better, some say to the worse. I am very sure this all had a huge impact on "REPENTLESS", but anyhow: To be honest, then I have to say... okay, I'll do it this way: The last SLAYER releases that in my book are clearly essentials and must-have albums are "DIVINE INTERVENTION" and "UNDISPUTED" (the Hardcore/Punk cover record), both from around the mid of the 1990's, since then every new SLAYER album never managed to keep up with this two records and didn't stand their ground only for a single minute compared with the all-time larger-than-life classicks of SLAYER (you all know them, so I don't have to name them here). Still and again and again I think with by-horror-wide-opened-eyes of their "DIABOLUS IN MUSICA" album with only one really good song, yes, I mean one song. "GOD HATES US ALL" then at least was a step ahead again, and to be honest not just one step but two or three and maybe even four steps compared with "DIABOLUS IN MUSICA". Then I lost SLAYER out of sight for many years, still loved their classicks and always listened to them regulary (so today), but okay... it was a new millenium and the then-current SLAYER had lost a lot of their importance personally for me and so I just not followed them anymore. I bought the "CHRIST ILLUSION" album some six or seven years ago I guess, because the artwork looked promising and reminded me of my all-time favorite "SEASONS IN THE ABYSS" and I got it for a very low price and I've read a lot that this would be SLAYER back to old strength and glory and that this album would be sort of a second "SEASONS IN THE ABYSS"... nah, come on, it was a pretty good album, a decent one, for sure, but that was and is all and it was and is nowhere close to the mentioned masterpieces. I think in between "CHRIST ILLUSION" and "REPENTLESS" there was the "WORLD PAINTED BLOOD" Album (or something like this), but this one never made it into my collection or came any close to my ears or other senses. And so then came "REPENTLESS", and for all what I would say SLAYER at least deliver finally again a truckload of Hardcore/Punk fueled pissed off, highly aggressive, full throttle, and fast thrashing and high sped raging Thrash Metal on a decent level of quality; and especially Tom Araya's singing and lead vocals is as strong as I haven't heard him since on "DIVINE INTERVENTION", truly, and to be damn honest, I wouldn't have expected this anyhow. Thumbs up, first class job. The rest is, despite a lot of the talkings I got, nowhere close to a new classick album or anything like this and to be honest I think it would be pretty good if Kerry King would overhand some songwriting duties on the next album to Gary Holt, simply "just" to shake, and loose, and fresh things up a bit because over the distance of its complete running time "REPENTLESS" gets too soon too stale and simply a bit too lame to be considered a really strong Album in whole, especially in the SLAYER context. This now may sound a little bit provocative, without a doubt, and it's aimed to be this and so I will say it in an "over-the-top-way" of saying it: SLAYER, one of the ten if not five most important and influental bands for me of all time ever, one of the biggest loves of my life, SLAYER, I hate to see them turn to easy-listening-music, no, not SLAYER, no, don't let this happen, never. And here's a (too) strong tendency aheading into this bitter direction. "REPENTLESS" is by no means a bad album, but at the end of the day it's just and nothing-more than a solid new album and then that's it again. And especially personally for me this is too less for/from a new SLAYER album. Anyhow, a solid album which biggest problem without a doubt, from my point of view is its stale and un-grapping songwriting. Beside this we have highest-skilled musicians @ work delivering harsh and heavy Thrash Metal full of sawing and shredding guitars, absolutely outstanding vocals, and a thundering rhythm section. If just the songwriting would be (far) more grapping and really intense, then the world could be a so lovely place... My personal favorites are "REPENTLESS", "CAST THE FIRST STONE", "WHEN THE STILLNESS COMES", "ATROCITY VENDOR", and "PRIDE IN PREJUDICE". And in fact these are more or less really great songs, unfortunately you don't really anyhow need none of the other tracks in general... But what shines on more or less the whole record, beside the vocals: The Solos; to the Point great done, fact and period. (If just the arrangements of the songs and all the other suff would be on the same level or at least close to it.) If you still haven't listened to it, why ever, give it a try and if you know it already but haven't bought it so far because also to you it lacks too much then maybe overthink buying it after you get it these days for low prices of around five or six euro bucks and for such a low price the above mentioned five really damn strong songs are pretty sure worth to be integrated into your record collection; so would I say. After all @ the end of the day all in all SLAYER's 12th album "REPENTLESS" was and is a solid one, nothing more, nothing less, but too less for a band like SLAYER, still too less, but anyhow, who am I to judge... "just" let us maybe hope for a stronger and more grapping, a fresher next one in a few years, if they still come back anyhow. Cheers, and now I'll listen to some "SOUTH OF HEAVEN" and lift some weights.
(6,5 of 10 points)
https://www.slayer.net/ (-the link to the Homepage of the band; you know how to go there anyhow anyway even if blogger again refuses to post this as a direct link to the site)
Note: Below the now coming pictures you'll find three videos to songs of this very album, SLAYER's "REPENTLESS", so that you can rigt now and right here take a listen to some of the tracks of the album.
SLAYER - "REPENTLESS" (2015, "REPENTLESS")
SLAYER - "WHEN THE STILLNESS COMES" (2015, "REPENTLESS")
SLAYER - "YOU AGAINST YOU" (2015, "REPENTLESS")