Ladies and gentlemen, the kings have returned. Just as Richard reclaimed his rightful place upon his return so has Slayer officially reclaimed its rightful place atop the metal pantheon with its new album Repentless. The album, which is currently slated to be released in stores and online this Friday, September 11th, is a welcome return for the band. That is especially the case considering everything that the band has faced since the release of its last album, 2009’s World Painted Blood. First the band parted ways with drummer Dave Lombardo early in 2013 due to a boiling over of internal tensions between himself and his then band mates. Then in May the band lost guitarist and founding member Jeff Hanneman when Hanneman passed away. Facing such a double whammy in one year would likely have been cause for any lesser band to call it quits. Slayer isn’t any lesser band, though. If anything facing such adversity has only made Slayer’s members stronger. That is clear in the twelve tracks that make up the body of Repentless. The album’s title track and first full song is one example of just how strong the band still remains. With its mix of full throttle thrash metal and thought-provoking lyrics that are supposedly about Hanneman, this song is certain to be a fan favorite. ‘Take Control is another example of what makes Repentless one of those rare albums that really lives up to the hype. Its mix of adrenaline-fueled musical content and seeming socio-political commentary in its lyrical content makes it just as hard-hitting as any of the album’s other compositions. Much the same can be said of ‘Implode’ save for its musical content. In regards to its musical content, it doesn’t come right out at audiences unlike ‘Take Control’ and ‘Repentless.’ Even with that progression, it still boasts a certain heaviness that when coupled with the song’s lyrical content still makes it one more example of just how much Slayer’s fans have to look forward to in this the band’s twelfth new full-length studio recording. It is hardly the only other song that could be used to exemplify why Repentless has been so highly anticipated. From one fan to the next, every fan will find his or her own example(s) of why this record more than lives up to its hype. Considering that, it can be justifiably said of Repentless that it is one of this year’s best new metal/hard rock albums.
One would think that having been making music and touring the world over countless times over the course of the past three decades plus, Slayer would have lost at least some of its strength since its original formation. But as the band’s new album Repentless proves quite the opposite. That is even with all of its lineup changes and other obstacles. This record shows from its short instrumental opener to its closer ‘Pride and Prejudice’ that the band hasn’t lost a step over that time. The album’s title track is just one example of how much Slayer still has to offer audiences. The song, which has been said to be about former guitarist Jeff Hanneman, takes the band’s signature full-throttle sound with some thought-provoking lyrical content to make it a song that is sure to make it a fan favorite. Front man Tom Araya screams over Kerry King’s razor-sharp shredding and drummer Paul Bostaph’s impeccable time keeping, “My songs relive the atrocities/Can’t take society any f*****’ more/Intensity, anarchy, hatred amplified/Playin’ this s*** is all that keeps me alive/I leave it all on the road/Livin’ on the stage/This is my life/Where I kill it every day/So take your shot/bottom’s up/This is no lie/I’ll be beating this guitar till the day I die.” This verse in whole makes easy to see how the song would be in reference to Hanneman as it perhaps attempts to capture his mentality as his personal struggles began to get the better of him. Araya notes in the song’s chorus, “I hate the life/Hate the fame/Hate the f*****’ scene/P****** match of egos/F*** their vanity/Aint’ got time/I don’t want anything from you/Feeding on my tolerance is all you f*****’ do/No looking back/No regrets/No apologies/What you get is what you see/We’re all killing ourselves a little more every day.” That line in which Araya notes, “I don’t want anything from you” strengthens the argument that the song is about Hanneman. The intensity of the song’s musical content set against that lyrical content solidifies it even more as it projects the seeming mentality of someone who was really angry at everyone and everything. Regardless of whether or not the song is in fact centered on Hanneman, it can be said that the song’s combination of musical and lyrical intensity makes it a hard-hitting work and in turn one example of why Repentless lives up to its expectations and then some.
Repentless’ title track is an excellent example of why it lives up to its expectations and then some. It is just one example of why the album proves so impressive, too. ‘Take Control’ is another example of what makes Slayer’s new LP such a solid new effort from one of metal’s elite. Speaking in terms of its musical content, it is another full throttle, balls to the walls thrash anthem that is just as sure to be a fan favorite as the album’s title track. King shows why he is one of the top axe men in the metal community here with his work on the guitar while Bostaph is once again flawless in his time keeping. One can’t ignore Araya’s vocal prowess here either. Araya puts to shame even some of the top names in the metal community with the power in his deivery. Of course the musical content is just one part of the whole of ‘Take Control.’ The song’s lyrical content plays just as much of a part in its overall enjoyment as its musical content. As Araya screams, “My voice is a weapon/The bombs are away/My mind is the trigger/So fire away/The world in a crossfire/Of panic and fear/The war is upon us/I say it starts here.” The bombs in question are the words to his voice being the weapon from which the bombs are discharged. And the bombs get quite powerful later in the song as Araya screams, “Why do they call it the land of the free/Political banter-that’s if you ask me/Diffusing the problem/The question is how/With imminent conflict/The answer starts now/I can’ say/We’re not the reason for the world’s decay/Here to stay/We’re just the ones who won’t go away.” It can be inferred from this verse alone that the song is a commentary about the current state of the world and Slayer’s place in the world especially considering the band’s reputation. That argument is made even stronger as he screams in the song’s chorus, “We will take control/Of this abortion called society/I despise the mediocrity/We are the torch that lights the fuse/A social terror with nothing to lose.” It is as if Araya is saying that the band, rather than being the band that so many have tagged it to be, is a force to motivate people to make a change. This is of course just this critic’s own interpretation. Others could have their own take on these lyrics. Regardless, the fact that the song’s lyrical content could potentially generate such discussion and thought is more than enough reason for listeners to hear this song. Together, the song’s musical and lyrical content make even clearer why ‘Take Control’ is one more solid representative of Repentless’ success. It still is not the last example of what makes Repentless such a solid new effort from Slayer. ‘Implode’ is one more example of why Repentless was well worth the wait.
‘Implode’ is one more way in which Repentless shows itself proves to have been worth the wait. The main reason for that is the same as that of the previously noted songs–the combination of its musical and lyrical content. ‘Implode’s’ musical content stands out against ‘Take Control’ and ‘Repentless’ primarily in that the band doesn’t just jump right into the song. Rather, it starts out with a somewhat slower tempo before eventually building into that all too familiar full throttle, adrenaline-fueled sound that makes up the majority of the songs on this record. What’s really impressive about this is the fact that the band doesn’t waste too much time in building up to that full-throttle sound. There are far too many bands out there that can’t seem to get that balance just right. Thankfully Slayer has not one of those bands as is exhibited here. Moving on to the song’s lyrical content, it is hardly the most optimistic piece. However, one can’t help but agree with Araya to a point as he screams, “sick of this s*** called policy/Life support for a dead economy/Brain dead leaders of the world conspire/Acting with malice only fuels the fire/No wonder people of religion obsess/All it wants a man to do is confess/Arrogance will never let the fools concede/You know you’re gonna have to stand and watch them bleed.” Araya’s commentary in the song’s lead verse is quite similar with him noting how the world is essentially doing itself in. While the sentiment presented within these verses is, again, not quite optimistic, it brings everything full circle, illustrating expertly Araya’s earlier statement in ‘Take Control’ of Slayer being that force that ignites the flame within listeners so as to get them to make a change. It could even be argued that it can be linked to the vantage point of ‘Repentless,’ too as it points out those negative things that drove that song’s subject so angry. Considering this, it is clear why ‘Implode’ is one more important and impressive addition to Repentless. Together with the likes of ‘Take Control,’ ‘Repentless,’ and the rest of the album’s songs, it is yet another example of why Repentless was well worth the wait. Together with the rest of the album’s songs, it serves that much more to show also why Repentless is one of this year’s best new metal/hard rock records.
Slayer’s fans have waited five years for the band to release its next album. in the world of the music industry, five years is an eternity. And considering the obstacles that the band had to overcome only a couple of years ago, fans couldn’t help but wonder if they would ever hear from Slayer again. Luckily for them, the band didn’t let said obstacles stop it. Instead, as fans will hear in the likes of ‘Implode,’ ‘Take Control’ and the album’s title track, the band obviously instead used its obstacles to create what is one of its strongest records to date. Those three tracks are collectively just a glimpse of why Repentless lives up to its expectations. Fans will agree in hearing the album for themselves that any of the album’s songs could be used as examples of why this record is such a success. Considering this, the album in whole can be said to be one of this year’s best new metal/hard rock records. It will be available this Friday, September 11th in stores and online. Fans can order Repentless online now and keep up with all of the band’s latest news online now at:
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