Saturday, September 5, 2015
Slayer : "Repentless"
If we are going to be honest Slayer is as much Slayer as Kiss is Kiss at this point. We have two original members with Tom and Kerry playing the respective roles of Paul and Gene. So I went into this with trepidation considering how bad they were live this summer. My faith is wavered ever since I was a teen and they came out to evangelist Bob Larson saying they did not worship the devil and it was all a gimmick The opening instrumental is however decent but it leads to the title track which just sounds like the rapid fire punk snare of "God Hates Us All". At some point in time , more than likely "Divine Intervention" Slayer became the entry way for punks to get into metal, "Undisputed Attitude" furthered this , while that element is understandable considering the cross over of 80s thrash and hardcore at the time, in 2015 Slayer is still trying to serve to masters. They are a little more metal riff wise on "Take Control" , but when Lombardo who plays with more nuances is not on the throne they lean more towards punk.
Tom's vocal style makes him the metal Lou Reed, as he talks his way through the songs making to attempt to sing or scream. They do lock onto to a good groove in "Vices" . The moshy nature might be due to Gary Holt's contribution. Though I have to imagine is the pretty much the Kerry King show at this point. "Cast the First Stone" find the production thickening, but the song writing seem a little more dialed in than some of the fire working with Holt might have injected into the previous songs. This is not a good argument for Slayer's more mid-paced sound, which is in fact superior to when they are trying to rush the riffs past you.
The go into their more creepy serial killer "Dead Skin Mask" moments for "When the Stillness Comes" . Its one of those moment where you really see how bad Tom's voice has gotten as he makes no attempt to sing and this is the sort of song he would try to sing on. It's pretty color by numbers , but is marginally better than "Chasing Death" where the band recycles some of their better riffs. The opening groove to "Implode" is much better. They lead you to think it will finds Slayer doing what they do best...well post-Seasons in the Abyss, but devolves into racing off into the annoying break neck snare. "Piano Wire" starts off with what would seem like a classic Slayer , but has some spotty bridges that hold together the riffs in a less than inspired manner. Similar could be said about the thrashier "Atrocity Vendor" , but it is more mired down in the boring punk monotony. Slayer are old pros so even them dialing it in will bang the heads of more meat and potato metal heads who just want something loud to drink and sniff glue to. By the time we are at "You Vs You" I am hearing the blur of riffs going nowhere that I heard at Mayhem fest."Pride in Prejudice" closes out the album. This is a fuck the police sort of song, not really about white power more the racial tension in recent police news this which makes sense considering Hannemann was the nazi fan in the band.
When it comes to music time will tell and when you look at what stands the test of time it might not be fair when considering the bands legacy to compare Slayer to Kiss isn't fair to Kiss, because by Kiss' 11th album they were putting out "Lick It Up" which is a work of a prolific genius compared to "Repentless" , but then again Kiss are just better song writers than Slayer. I'll give this one a 6 and doubt I will ever feel the need to see if it grows on me. If I were to put on "South of Heaven" right now it would make me want to round this down.