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Album Review: Repentless by Slayer

Although it goes against the grain of the normal coverage of Alt Dialogue we thought we’d give the new Slayer album, Repentless, some attention. Why? Well you can’t really get that much more influential than Slayer, they’ve been pigeon holed as one of the big four of thrash metal, but their influence is far wider than that. They were pivotal in the emergence of Death Metal, their structure and tuning has influenced many guitar based bands and the speed and aggression has engrained itself in all forms of Hardcore.

Alongside Megadeth, Metallica and Anthrax they formed the ‘big 4’ thrash metal bands of the 1980s, but there’s something more to them than their contemporaries. They never had the cartoonish shtick of Megadeth; the arrogance and metal by the numbers of Metallica or the fall from grace and reliance on their legacy of Anthrax. Throughout their 12 album, 30 plus year career they’ve been able to develop, change and adapt. On Repentless Slayer sound as fresh and enthralling as the first time you heard Reign In Blood.

Dismissing and ignoring Metal is easy these days. The slew of Kerrang! friendly bands more concerned about image and appealing to teenagers than the quality music make it a genre open to derision. It’s taken the return of a bunch of men in their 50s to inject some life into the genre. Repentless is full of big killer songs like ‘Vices’ and ‘When The Stillness Comes’.

The tribulations of Slayer since 2009’s World Painted Blood have been well documented. The departure of drummer Dave Lombardo and the death of guitarist and founding member Jeff Hanneman could have destroyed other bands. The turbulence isn’t heard on Repentless is assured and commanding. It has the essence of the classic Slayer sound, marrying their most visceral moments with their more accessible period in the early 90s. ‘When The Stillness Comes’ is a prime example, for people who’ve lived under a stone and never hear the band it could be an ideal starting point. ‘Chasing Death’ beats to within a inch of your life while ‘Piano Wire’ goes down  the more accessible route.

Repentless isn’t Slayer’s finest piece of work, they’ll never be as good as they were in the early to mid eighties, but it does outshine modern metal.

AD Rating 7.5/10

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