Thursday, December 10, 2015

Slayer - "Repentless"

After not listening to much Slayer in the last couple of decades, except for their first album a few times a year, Show No Mercy I was seeing this one all over some online shopping sites as new and as i was buying new CDs from other bands I’ve liked for a long time, I was thinking about the Slayer songs I know.  Last month I first got into Reign in Blood for a while, then I ordered this one, Repentless.

And I like this one.

It’s their first new album after the untimely death of founder and guitarist Jeff Hanneman.  His replacement had covered for the ill Hanneman for a few years on tour, so by the time they were recording this he was well integrated into the band.  And they got another former drummer of theirs, Paul Bostaph back in.

For the first half of the album they play at lightning speed, without sounding too noisy and without Arraya’s singing getting too much into merely screaming.

The second half gets a bit noisier, with their playing sounding more random, frantic and less like songs they planned out.

Throughout it, in between furiously fast guitar solos there’s a second here, a second there of music that I’d actually really like to hear more of.  They come and go, like “hey! what was that?  I want to hear more of that!” but they’re too fleeting, gone as fast as a Kerry King guitar solo.

I’d have to say the title track, “Repentless” is my favorite song on it, the one I keep singing in my head the most when I’m not listening to any music.

Overall, it’s really good if you like this sort of thing.  And if you don’t, you’d probably hate it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Chanukah Chase in the Subway

I got literally chased in the subway station this evening.  By two young, ultra-Orthodox Jewish men from the Chabad sect, the same one all of my current coworkers and our biggest clients belong to.

I was minding my own business, listening to some Rob Zombie remixes in my headphones, walking fast across the mezzanine to the 4th Avenue line, when I saw them on top of the steps, with a large cardboard box on a luggage cart.  They looked lost and indicated they wanted my attention, so I lifted on earpiece away from my head, thinking they were going to ask directions.

“Are you Jewish?  Do you have a menorah at home?” one asked.  “I don’t want one, thank you,” I replied and with the earpiece off heard a train arriving on the platform below.  Halfway on my quick dash down the clear steps I saw it was the N train, the one I wanted, so I sped up even more.

Since I always ride this one at the very front of the train, standing right behind the driver’s cab, I practically ran along the platform to get to the front of the first car, waited for people to exit and got on, comfortably leaning against the bulkhead, facing backward.

Then I looked out the open door next to me to see those two guys looking straight at me, following the same path I took on the platform.

They got to the end of the platform, right outside the open train door a few inches away from me and one asked, “are you Jewish?”

I said, “I choose not to participate!” and the conductor played the announcement “Stand Clear of the Closing Doors Please!” 

One reached into the box and the other said “we have a gift for you.”  

But they weren’t quick enough, the train doors closed, me inside, them outside.  I grinned to them through the window and the train rolled out of the station.  I settled back to listen to my music in peace.