Unlike most people, my first introduction to Slayer was not the Reign in Blood album from 1986. The first song I ever heard by them was “Raining Blood” quickly followed by “Angel of Death.” I love that album to pieces, but it wasn’t the first one I heard.
The first Slayer album I’ve ever listened to in full was 2015’s Repentless, the 12th studio album from the legendary thrash metal gods. It was the first album in six years for Slayer and the first one since the death of guitarist and founding member Jeff Hanneman in 2013.
Repentless was met with mixed reviews, with some longtime fans saying that Slayer had lost their touch and the music wasn’t the same without Hanneman, who wrote a lot of the music for the band. But maybe it’s because this was my first Slayer album, but this is one of my most played albums over the last year or so.
Don’t get me wrong, this probably won’t go down as one of their classic albums next to Reign in Blood, Seasons in the Abyss and South of Heaven, but it’s full of some classic sounding Slayer thrash along with a touch of their newer, evolved sound. I really enjoy the songs where the band goes to a mid-tempo sound and the sound is a bit more calculated than some of the other chaotic songs, which is why I chose “Pride in Prejudice” off of this album.
The last track on the album may be one of the best, with a killer chorus and a steady tempo that makes you headbang in rhythm. It features some of the better lyrics on the album and is an admirable way to wrap up a really strong release.
On top of that, the band has released a trilogy of music videos that have somewhat of a connected story line, and they’re all pretty darn cool and full of violence you’d expect from the band. The video does have graphic imagery, so fair warning. That can be found HERE (WARNING: Music Video contains extreme representation of violence. View at own risk).
Slayer have quickly become one of my favorite bands, from Tom Araya’s trademark singing style to the chaotic yet genius guitar solos, and the insanely aggressive drumming originated by Dave Lombardo, Slayer have been extremely influential in the formation of extreme metal and death metal. While Repentless will not sit atop the band’s catalog for best album, it’s a release that stays true to their classic sound, has a lot of memorable songs and riffs, and marks a remarkable feat considering everything the band went through from 2009.
What’s your favorite Slayer album and song? What’s your favorite track from Repentless? Leave comments and let me know what your track of the day is.