Slayer – The Repentless Killogy Review

Football is a game of two halves, and referred to as a gentleman’s sport played by thugs. There are surprisingly parallels to be drawn between the beautiful game and thrash metal. It’s an elegant and technically proficient sub-genre that requires a great amount of skill to perform properly and is more often than not played with a belligerent thuggery. Perhaps the kings of belligerence with unmatched speed and ferocity are Slayer. In the waking moments of 2018 the kings of thrash announced that they would be bowing out gracefully from live performance with one mammoth final tour. And so, with this impending ending nigh, Slayer treat us to their quintessential live performance captured in all its high resolution glory. But remember it’s a game of two halves.

The opening forty or so minutes of The Repentless Killogy attempt in vain to connect the loose threads of a poorly written story that emerged over the three videos released in support of Repentless – what was assumed to be the band’s final studio album. The whole thing is a mess of viscera, gore and plodding plot points poorly strung together with acts of violence. The portions in which we get to hear Repentless, You Against You and Pride in Prejudice are glorious because, well, it’s Slayer and what we signed up for. The rest of the short film is a deluge of passable acting, questionable motives, unanswered questions and senseless, directionless action. It’s the kind of thing that gives metal fans a bad name; random acts of gory violence loosely strung together by themes of extreme nationalism and revenge. It makes Slayer look every bit the knuckle-dragging oafs that the mainstream media would portray them as, rather than an exciting force of artistry that has created some of history’s finest music.

Mercifully, this aside comes to an end and we get what we all want; a torrential barrage of extremity in the form of the ultimate thrash quartet. In a rhapsody of hellfire and inverted crosses, the unheavenly foursome arrive to kill, crush and indeed, destroy everything in their wake with one last hurrah. Repentless, The Antichrist and Disciple sound every bit as arresting and vital as when they were first penned, though the erratic and slipshod editing doesn’t do justice to the grandeur of the band or their songs. Fortunately this issue is resolved as the set hammers home the point that Slayer are the Holy grail of thrash, however it is a jarring and lacklustre opening to what should be celebratory and blood soaked.

The audio quality lets the film down hugely. The intricacies of Gary Holt and Kerry King’s dexterous interplay is lost in a muddy mix, though Tom Araya is able to cut through the suffocating darkness with his screams of anguish on the likes of War Ensemble. It’s a great shame that the visually spectacular voyage should be hampered by such a weak sound mix, but it was given the Slayer stamp of approval and as such it is what is delivered.

Overall this last hurrah from thrash’s mightiest heroes is something of a damp squib. The visual performance is utterly stunning, as captivating as we have all come to know Slayer to be, but it is marred by a weak sound mix and a far weaker “story” the introduces the piece. It’s far from being a poor release and deserves a place on any metal fans DVD shelf, but doesn’t quite do justice to the blood drenched legacy of the quartet.

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