(Thrash/Speed Metal) Slayer – Reign in Blood
Kerry King –Guitars
Jeff Hanneman –Guitars
Tom Araya – Bass, Vocals
Dave Lombardo – Drums
Slayer is the premier speed metal band. This is clearly highlighted on this album. Though very brief, at under 30 minutes, it is a complete onslaught of machine-gun paced riffs, blazing solos and bashing drums. There are no ballads on track 4 to save your soul. When you listen to this CD you are plunged into the depths of Slayer’s hell, the only way out is to turn your stereo off. This album was mainly responsible for the creation of death metal. This album was initially banned on release, due to its graphic nature (such lyrics as ‘Seas of blood, bury life/Smell your death as it burns’), which of course gave the band the best publicity, bad publicity, and of course contributed to the creation of death metal. This is widely considered the best thrash album of all time; the only other album to receive this accolade was Metallica’s Master of Puppets
The record opens with ‘Angel of Death’ (4:51) with an insanely fast riff, one of the fastest that I’ve heard, which is followed by an unnatural scream by Araya. The drumming on the album is superb, mainly the double bass. This is probably the best song on the album. The slower riff in the middle shows some sense of melody by the group, a rare occasion. The lyrics are quite horrific in this song, like ‘Surgery, with no anaesthesia/Feel the knife pierce you intensely’. The solo is one huge massive shredfest by King, one of the most amazing thrash solos I’ve ever heard. Overall, a top song, and a great way to open the album.
‘Piece by Piece’ (2:02) kicks off next. After the intro, you will notice the verse sounds similar to ‘Angel of Death’. Get used to it now, or you won’t enjoy this album. Again it delves into the controversial lyrics, like ‘Bones and blood lie on the ground/Rotten limbs lie dead/Decapitated bodies found/On my wall, your head!’ The riff between verses is an onslaught, one of the fastest on the record. A great song, but unfortunately the length of it, or lack thereof, and the pace of the song, let it down, and you will be wondering where the hell the song went when it finishes.
The next song is ‘Necrophobic’ (1:40), the shortest song on the album. Like the last song, it is pretty quick and is over before you know it. I think this is a very good song. It is a high paced thrash-a-thon which will leave your neck sore, but the solo is a bit of a letdown though (at least the end bit), but the drumming is amazing. It contains splendidly horrific lyrics – ‘Experimentation, slow infection, internal decay/Execution, need transfusion, body rots away’.
The nest song, ‘Altar of Sacrifice’ (2:50), starts off simply enough; chords over a snare drum. This is quickly over though, proceeded by another riff at breakneck speed. Though the riff is quick, it is not used much (only really for the first half of the song), and it is one of the slower songs on the album. Again, like the former song, I don’t like it too much, the speed isn’t there and I don’t really like the solos much (apart from the first one).
Slayer take a break from the speed side of thrash in the next song, ‘Jesus Saves’ (2:54), and opt for a slower, killer riff saturated with distortion (even with a time signature change!). For a while, anyway. From the end of the slow bit, to the end of the song, is speed-mania, the guitar solos especially being superb in this song. I especially love the drum into the speed phrase, the (snare, snare, snare, floor tom) bit. This song had Slayer labelled as Satanists, which the band has repeatedly denied. This is another great song, one of the better ones on the album.
‘Criminally Insane’ (2:23) begins with a simple ride cymbal drum beat. It is another slow-ish song at the start, and explodes into the ‘Reign in Blood’ sound (fast riff, drum bashing). This song is one of the better ones; an unreal solo over a well-composed album, with great lyrics.
The next song is ‘Reborn’ (2:11) and it starts off like half of the other songs do: a quick riff on the guitar, with the band coming in shortly. Again, nothing really new about this song, except the fact that while Araya gives a decent effort on the vocals, and they sound splendid, he tries to fit too many words into some of the song. But he makes it sound good. A decent solo, but not really a memorable song.
‘Epidermic’ (2:23) begins with a quick drum roll, and then delves into the tested and tried method of riffs and drum pounding. Not really a bad song, but not an overly good one either. There is a very decent guitar solo in it as well.
‘Postmortem’ (3:39) kicks off with a slower, yet killer riff, one of the best on the album. And unlike other songs on the album, this song remains at the slowish speed all the way through the song. Araya’s vocals are outstanding throughout, and produces a hellish scream about halfway through the song. An awesome bridge speeds up a bit, and the ending is probably one of Slayer’s most recognisable moments, an onslaught of power chords and fast as hell lyrics.
The final song, ‘Raining Blood’ (4:02) is one of Slayer’s most recognisable songs, it was even on GTA Vice City :D Starts with an eerie storm, then a slower bit, then interchanges between speed and heavy all the way through the song, and it all fits perfectly. The solo is a total attack of the whammy, and sounds amazing. It ends with the raining at the end, a quiet way to end a great album.
Rating: one of speed’s finest albums, but it all sounds the same, and while that’s good, it can get a bit repetitive after all those listens. It is also incredibly short, at almost EP length. But, it is exceedingly good, so: 4.5/5. Get it NOW if you like thrash, if you don’t like thrash, this is a cool way to start the collection :thumb: