Slayer – Repentless
Given how much upheaval there’s been for the band in the six years since their last full-length, World Painted Blood, it’s surprising how much – on the face of it at least – Repentless represents business as usual for Slayer.
The death of Jeff Hannemann in 2013 should ostensibly have left a creative void within the band, whilst the acrimonious departure of drummer Dave Lombardo the same year forced Kerry King and Tom Araya to readjust to playing with Paul Bostaph, who’s apparently shaken off the injury problems that forced his original departure in 2001.
Repentless, initially, comes off as classic Slayer – furious riffery and breakneck pace characterising the likes of Take Control and Cast the First Stone – but dig a little bit deeper and it’s clear that the creative responsibilities have shifted primarily to King, who has subtly retooled the band in his own image more than ever before.
The result largely stifles the introduction of fresh ideas, but does at least ensure that long-time fans will be happy; in the shape of the title track and closer Pride in Prejudice, meanwhile, Hannemann’s final contributions to the writing process manifest themselves quite triumphantly. [Joe Goggins]