An email pops through. “If you are interested in reviewing the latest Slayer release, The Repentless Killogy, please let me know so I can send you a screener link.” I apologise for any hospital treatment necessary as I bit the bloody hand off the PR person responsible and had the video streaming as soon as I could. I couldn’t make the cinema showing, and really wanted to see the extended three-video mini-movie as well as the live footage from Los Angeles back in 2017. Hell, I’ll take what Slayer I can now having seen them for the last time this year at Wacken. If I had a “regular” job where I could book holidays when I wanted, I’d have been on a flight to LA at the end of this month to see their last shows. Unfortunately I teach, so much as I get really long holidays I don’t get to choose when I have them!
The first forty minutes of the video comprise of the videos for “You Against You,” “Repentless,” and “Pride in Prejudice” which most of you will have seen before. They’re linked with a bit more filler video, and lead into an end sequence that features the band themselves – both on stage and as characters within the story. Seeing the concert footage being used within the video is great – it actually looks like the sequences were filmed during the show that follows on the Blu-Ray!
It’s definitely one for gore-hounds, and the gristle and blood-spatter (and the eye-gougings and evisceration and…) aren’t for the weak of stomach. The videos fit perfectly with Slayer’s legendary brand of brutal musical violence, and the overall story arc is a great addition to what would otherwise be just another live gig video.
Only it’s not. Because it’s Slayer. And Slayer don’t do “just another…” anything. The show is an all-out, blistering 90+ minutes of aural carnage. There’s very little interaction with the audience because Slayer don’t do that. They come on, they play like fuck, they destroy the place, Tom politely thanks everyone, they go home. That’s a Slayer show and it has been for years. And it doesn’t disappoint.
The opening light show with a pre-recorded “Delusions of Saviour” gets things going, and we’re launched straight into “Repentless”. It doesn’t let up until the end of “Hate Worldwide” – five tracks in when most bands pause after three – where Uncle Tom takes a second to soak up the chants and then screams “WAR ENSEMBLE!!!” kicking off the Seasons classic. Hell, if you want the setlist, you can find it on setlist.fm. You know the routine. A quality mix of tracks old and not-that-new-any more (Repentless came out four years ago…) played flawlessly by four musicians whose names will go down in history along with those who helped get the band to the peak of metal (Jeff Hanneman, obviously, being the most obvious).
The camerawork is great, with a nice mixture of viewpoints. It flicks around fast enough to fit the pace of the music without being headache-inducing, and includes plenty of audience shots as well as footage of the band themselves. My favourite bit is right at the end during “Angel of Death” where Kerry and Gary are stood next to each other playing that incredible twin-guitar section. Watching them side-by-side, banging those notes out brings goosebumps.
I’ve no idea if there are plans to release the actual final gig on video / LP, but if there isn’t then The Repentless Killogy makes for a more than acceptable swansong. For 28 years, Decade of Aggression has ranked as one of the best live albums out there and definitely the de facto Slayer one. I’m not going to say that this one tops it, it’s a different beast, but the pair complement each other perfectly with the band at two of their many peaks over their 38 year lifespan.
If there’s a downside to watching this video, it’s that it really hits home how much I’m going to miss seeing Slayer live. Rest In Peace (kind of) you wonderful bastards.
The Repentless Killogy is out now on Blu-Ray, CD and several varieties of vinyl