Slayer: Repentless

Revamped line-up deliver the goods on 11th album.

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In a way, Slayer are America’s Motörhead, relentless in depicting their vision, untouched by external influences, somehow inimitable. Increasingly, their catalogue can only be judged against itself.

This singularity is especially important here, on their 11th studio album, for much has changed. Drummer Dave Lombardo left in 2013, founding guitarist Jeff Hanneman died a few months later and the band departed American Recordings, a label they had been with, in some shape or form, since their breakthrough album Reign In Blood in 1986.

That Repentless is coherent and persuasively powerful is a tribute to the identity of the band. Paul Bostaph, replacing Lombardo for the second time, is outstanding in the percussive fury he brings to the title track and Take Control, while the wonderful Chasing Death has the same weird swing that characterised songs like South Of Heaven and Seasons In The Abyss.

There’s some of the dark, gothic grandeur of the early records in When The Stillness Comes, and Tom Araya can still raise a chill as he screams, ‘The last thing you see is my eyes!’ – an echo here of the horrors of Dead Skin Mask.

Classic Rock 215: New Albums H-Z

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Jon Hotten

Jon Hotten is an English author and journalist. He is best known for the books Muscle: A Writer's Trip Through a Sport with No Boundaries and The Years of the Locust. In June 2015 he published a novel, My Life And The Beautiful Music (Cape), based on his time in LA in the late 80s reporting on the heavy metal scene. He was a contributor to Kerrang! magazine from 1987–92 and currently contributes to Classic Rock. Hotten is the author of the popular cricket blog, The Old Batsman, and since February 2013 is a frequent contributor to The Cordon cricket blog at Cricinfo. His most recent book, Bat, Ball & Field, was published in 2022.