Upon Slayer announcing that they are on their final world tour, I was left with mixed emotions. They have, and always will be, one of the greats of heavy metal, and the end of the band will be the end of an era. However, I’ve seen far too many bands I love lose their hunger and aggression as they age, and Slayer were teetering of the brink of that fate. The old saying goes ‘Always leave them wanting more’ and a final, blistering world tour with support from exciting and beloved acts seems like the perfect way to achieve that. For anyone unable to witness one of their final shows, Slayer are giving us The Repentless Killogy, a DVD featuring three music videos, a short film and a live set. Is this a fitting send off for the band?
The DVD starts with the three music videos. These are the same videos that were released for the singles from Slayer’s last album, Repentless. Whether you like You Against You, Repentless and Pride in Prejudice is probably determined by now. Personally, they feel a bit ‘Slayer By The Numbers’, but the addition of the music videos does very little to enhance the experience of listening to the songs. There is some pretence of an ongoing narrative between the music videos, but it is purely a vehicle for gory hyper-violence. This is exactly the sort of thing you’d want from a Slayer music video, but it’s delivered quite poorly. There’s little impact to the action. It’s not thrilling or exciting, there are frequent cuts that make the spatial dimension of the fights hard to follow. Everything just blurs together in to a mush of senseless, pointless violence that’s not even entertaining to watch.
These same issues are at the core of the short film that follows, which acts as a sequel to the threadbare narrative of the videos. In addition, the dialogue is fairly stilted and there is no attempt to develop any characters in any meaningful way. The only attempt at an emotional moment is undercut by the fact that the character involved has absolutely no visible reaction to something which triggers a flashback to what should be an incredibly traumatic event. The flashback feels unnecessary, as it’s a shot from the final music video, that the viewer would have seen roughly five minutes earlier. Slayer’s brief cameo in the film is also very jarring and really drags you out of the film, especially as the band just stand in a shot gormlessly. It’s just another vehicle for hyper-violence with no substance backing it up. This is more excusable when it’s a music video, but when it’s presented as a short film, it’s utterly disappointing.
The live set presented at the end of this DVD is also lacking. While all the expected Slayer classics are present and the setlist is beyond reproach, the sound isn’t up to par. Slayer’s normal sound is razor sharp and clean, but here the sound is muddy and cluttered. It sucks a lot of impact and clarity from these iconic songs. Further, songs alternate between sounding rushed and dragging due to lack of pace. Given the lack of energy that the band members put across in their performance- with the exception of Paul Bostaph, as I suppose it’s impossible to drum these songs with little energy- it all adds up to a disappointingly dull set from a famously edifying live band.
The Repentless Killogy doesn’t stand as a fitting epitaph for Slayer. It is mostly just dull, and never actively bad, but I prefer my entertainment to be laughable awful than just boring. This release is only significant for its position in Slayer’s career and only a worthwhile purchase for their most dedicated fans.
The Repentless Killogy is out now via Nuclear Blast and can be ordered here.