Isn’t it just the most wonderful thing that as a writer, a fan of music and especially a fan of metal, 23 years after releasing their first album, Slayer are still giving us reasons to talk about them? Fans will know that this time last year, the death metal legends were releasing their 12th studio album, ‘Repentless’ and although it did receive a decent reception generally, it was said by some that it wouldn’t be considered a classic Slayer album. Does that matter? Have they not done enough? Do Metallica not have the same shit said about them every time they release something new? Exactly, fuck it. Doesn’t mean that it doesn’t still feature some awesome new tracks and if nothing else it showcases that Tom Araya and Kerry King have still got it, after all of this time.
The really interesting part is how, a year later to the month they have finally released the third and apparently final instalment of what’s known as The Repentless series, a trio of music videos, each chronicling the same story. Beginning with the title track of the album and showing us a prison riot of the goriest kind. A lot of bloodshed, and heads a rolling all set to the thrash metal godliness of the California four piece. The second instalment is actually set a week before the riot and sees our eye patch wearing hero in a diner fighting off multiple would be assailants whilst a man on the ground does his best impression of a hedgehog… you’ll see what i mean, again with Slayer sound tracking the whole ordeal with ‘You against you’ which was the last single released from the album. Following the battle, our man ends up in jail, of course, referring back to the previous video. Then comes the third and newest video… oh man.
So this one is set two months after the prison riots apparently and I could of course describe what goes on but I urge you to just watch it. It’s gory, violent and just downright disturbing. All three music videos are from the mind of director BJ McDonnell and it works incredibly as a series as you can see and fully appreciate how each one has been shot very differently and with a different essence to it. The first one has the markings of any prison break thriller (but with much more blood and a lot more metal) whereas the second is a wonderful scene picked from any great action movie. The third one could sneak into the middle of a Saw or Hostel film without anybody noticing and definitely without daring to complain. It certainly has an air of the Netflix exclusive, Stranger things about it to which will certainly grab the attention of fans of the modern classic series. You’ll also notice that Danny Trejo features in the first and third parts, as a fellow prisoner and plays a bit part in the finale, which again, just watch it, but Danny Trejo is wonderful in everything and his participation is always a welcome point.
As incredible as the music video series is, the tracks in their own right are unreal and despite some saying it’ll never be regarded as a classic Slayer album, it’s pretty damn fine and after teaming up with McDonnell, it could go down as one of the most poignant modern, or dare I say latter albums, that Slayer ever recorded. From one big fan, I sure hope they got more left in the tank.
Words by Stuart Green (@mojo20_music)