What do you do when you get the opportunity to write a review for the new Slayer album, but with only three days to deadline? You don’t hesitate a second, skip a few hours sleep the next two days and call your work that you don’t feel well… O.k., the last I didn’t do, because there has to be some bread on the table, but one thing is sure; I couldn’t let this one slip by. Not expecting to get the opportunity to review the new Slayer album, I already did order it together with the new Iron Maiden and Faith No More albums, all of which I will receive in a few days, I think. For now, I have to listen to the mp3 files, but I’m sure the real CD will sound even heavier and better.
One big step ahead compared to the predecessor, ‘World Painted Blood’, is that the sound is much better. Terry Date did a good job. This better sound makes it a better album than ‘World’, although the songs on that album were OK also. After an intro, the title track “Repentless” immediately sounds familiar, fast and aggressive with the typical Araya singing style. On the entire album, Tom sounds very fresh and aggressive like aging didn’t have any influence yet. The riffing of Holt and King is excellent and the howling solos like in “You Against You” are Slayer all the way. Besides the fast tracks like the title track, “Take Control”, “Implode”, “Atrocity Vendor” and “You Against You” there are some tracks with mid-tempo pieces and more groove. These songs remind me a bit of the ‘South of Heaven’ album and perhaps the faster songs have a more punky thrash vibe with links to the ‘God Hates Us All’ times.
For a lot of Slayer fans, Dave Lombardo is still the ultimate drummer for the band, but I must say that Paul Bostaph really shines on this album with aggressive hits and lots of drum ruffles. “Piano Wire” is a short song which breathes the spirit of Jeff Hanneman. He had been working on this song before his unfortunate passing, the structure of the song is very recognizable. Just when “You Against You” starts to bore a bit, because it starts slow, the acceleration starts, and the band does that in quite a few songs, which keeps it interesting and really enjoyable. The closing track is one of the slowest ones, but due to the exciting build-up and variety, Slayer show that they are still capable of writing interesting slow songs.
Is this new album a real classic like ‘Reign in Blood’? No, I don’t think we should move the bar up that high, but I dare say that they have delivered a quality album that none of the other ‘big four’ produced in the last 10 years. Sure, we have to wait for the new Anthrax album, but so far Slayer showed how to do it.
Iron Maiden already showed that they are still capable of writing one of the better albums since years, Slayer did about the same and showed the thrash scene that they are still a band to reckon with. Perhaps some will conclude there are one too many of the slower parts, but it’s brutal all the way!
01. Delusions Of Saviour
03. Take Control
05. Cast the First Stone
06. When the Stillness Comes
07. Chasing Death
09. Piano Wire
10. Atrocity Vendor
11. You Against You
12. Pride In Prejudice
Playing time: 41:00
Release date: September 11th, 2015
Label: Nuclear Blast Records