Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.
About Slayer Prior to the Repentless Release
Following 2009’s World Painted Blood album, Slayer faced lineup changes and the death of its former guitarist, Jeff Hanneman, due to liver failure in 2013. They had not released a new studio album until the release of Repentless in 2015. For this album, Gary Holt enters and decides to contribute as the other guitarist beside Kerry King. Paul Bostaph plays the drums on this album. He had previously played drums after Dave Lombardo’s first departure in the 1990s.
Many of the songs on this album try to raise awareness of the problems that exist in the US and the world today
"Delusions of Saviour" and "Repentless"
The opening track called "Delusions of Saviour" is just a less than 2-minute instrumental that leads into the song "Repentless." This isn’t even an actual word, but the band decided on this title for the album.
"Repentless" is a song that is about the arrogance, violent chaos and insanity that exists in the world today. There are so many social problems in the world that it is enough to drive people crazy. The song also attempts to address that people are killing themselves on the inside each day.
Take Control is a song about the vices of the American political system that has caused people in this country to become mediocre. The song criticizes the belief that our government tries to tell us that this country is the land of the free. The song states that the slogan is just a form of political banter. I know from my research and studies over the years that the US actually does not have the freest press in the world. Some may dislike the controversial nature of some of the band’s lyrics, but these first few songs raise awareness of the flaws of American politics.
These kinds of themes lead the listener into the next song, "Vices," which is about the fact that politicians promise peace but then many of them eventually succumb to greed and power as weaker individuals are brainwashed and become manipulated.
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"Cast the First Stone"
"Cast the First Stone," which is a song about dealing with the horrors and sacrifice of war, has a somewhat melodic solo. This is one of the weaker songs in this album.
"When the Stillness Comes"
When the Stillness Comes has a sort of atmospheric feel to it as there is a softer acoustic part but then the transition is made into a slower picking style song. The song is about a person that is so overcome with rage that he goes on a killing rampage. He feels that the violence he commits sets him free as demons come back to torture him.
"Implode" is a song that starts slow but then speeds up. The song is about the decline of the quality of life for humans on this planet called Earth. The song also criticizes the economies of many countries of the world for a dead economy. It tries to point out that many world leaders have no idea what they are doing. The song is about denying the existence of a godly figure and the fact that whatever happens in the world is due to the choices that people make.
"Piano Wire" is a short song that is average at best that again makes reference to wartime. What is the band’s obsession about such topics all about? One can only wonder what motivates them to write such lyrics.
"You Against You"
"You Against You" is a fast yet uninspiring song that features the aggressive vocals of Tom Araya.
"Pride in Prejudice"
The last song "Pride in Prejudice" is basically about what can happen in a society that embraces getting wealthy when it advocates getting that money through violent means.
Repentless Is a Decent Album, But It's Too One-Dimensional
However, as is usually the case, Slayer suffers from being a one-dimensional kind of band. Their main focus is about speed and aggression. Repentless is not as fast as Reign in Blood, but there is still a fair amount of speed that we hear in the album.
But between the release of World Painted Blood in 2009 and the release of Repentless in 2015, this writer believes that this newest effort from this veteran thrash band is weaker than their previous release and it has not enough variety in the songs to be considered an elite album.
Overall, Repentless is an average release from a band that was at its peak in the 1980s all the way through 1990. This writer will probably give the album a score of 75 out of 100 points after the first full listen.
© 2016 Ara Vahanian