Slayer
Reign in Blood


4.0
excellent

Review

by Matthijs van der Lee USER (219 Reviews)
September 1st, 2009 | 28 replies | 5,210 views


Release Date: 1986 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A bloody mess, that's what this is.

6 of 6 thought this review was well written

Part II of IV: Reign in Blood, by Slayer

*Also Part I of the Unholy Thrash Trinity

Prologue

Slayer’s origins can be traced back to the two ever-present guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman, who met while auditioning for a band. Bassist/vocalist Tom Araya, who had played with King earlier, was recruited to fill in the third position. And strange as it may seem, drummer Dave Lombardo was added to the formation when he met King during a pizza delivery.

Instead of writing material of their own, the band initially played Iron Maiden and Judas Priest covers, while their shows carried a Satanic theme. Their eventual low-budget debut Show No Mercy consisting of original material, and earned them some respect in the underground metal scene. Hell Awaits, it’s follow-up, was quite different, and contained progressive elements, creating longer songs with musically more complex arrangements.

This second album experienced much success, leading to a major label contract with Def Jam Records, which was just newly formed at the time by Rick Rubin. It was only then that Slayer really started playing music influenced by the thrash scene. The change of recording environment influenced their style, which became the opposite of Hell Awaits: short and simple. This led to their third and most successful record up to that (and this) point, Reign in Blood, which was released on October 7, 1986.

Reign in Blood

Reign in Blood’s Slayer was:
- Kerry Ray King ~ Lead Guitars
- Jeffrey John Hanneman ~ Lead Guitars
- Tomás Enrique Araya ~ Bass Guitar, Vocals
- David Lombardo ~ Drums

Artwork by Larry Carroll

Reign in Blood caused much controversy, even before its release, because of its violent cover art and lyrical subject matter. Angel of Death, for example, depicts the Holocaust in World War II, and led many to believe Slayer approved of Nazism. However, the album peaked quickly, despite or because its controversy, eventually even reaching Gold status in 1992.

Actually, it is also very easy to describe. It is a continuing onslaught of blood, gore and Armageddon, lasting for a mere 29 minutes. With titles such as Necrophobic, Criminally Insane and Raining Blood, it is almost a surprise its release was even continued at all back in ’86. Death, decay and aggression are literally all over the place, with the only track doing something different thematically is the aforementioned opener Angel of Death (though in fact, its subject matter is death and decay just as well).

On their third record, the punk influence in Slayer’s thrash came truly to life. Reign in Blood is by far the most punkish of the Four, containing the shortest tracks by far, the most punkish attitude by far, and the fastest riffs by far. The speed guitarists and bassist King, Hanneman and Araya play at is astounding (and was even more astounding back then), and Slayer is clearly not taking any prisoners. It’s not just the guitar though. Araya shouts those vocals so fast you often can barely hear what the man is actually willing to transfer to your hearing system, if that is his purpose at all, and Lombardo’s pounding drumming is pure terror and madness (it is with good reason, after all, that he is called the Godfather of Double Bass).

The complaint many had and will have about Reign in Blood is obvious. Track 2-8 fly you by the ears at such pace you hardly have the time to grasp a breath, let alone dig into their musical contents. Angel of Death just finished, and before you know it you’ve ended up at the Grand Finale Raining Blood. The repetitiveness of the major part of the album is obviously its weakest link, but considering what is being conveyed here, there may not be a better way to capture all bloody aggression on a compact disc. Relentless onslaught is what Reign in Blood is, in the simplest of summaries, and it has no intentions of excusing for that. Angel of Death and Raining Blood, both of which contain some interesting slower riffs and solos, are therefore wisely positioned at beginning and end.

And as closer Raining Blood thus concludes with the sound of falling, uh, blood, you’ll have little idea what you’ve just been through if this is your first listen, even if this review has prepared you for it. Fast, heavy, short and aggressive, Reign in Blood is exactly what its cover art depicts: a bloody mess. It’s an enjoyable mess though, but does not justify a full rating for the sole reason of lack of diversity. Not that that even matters, as what Slayer created here simply doesn’t give a damn about what anyone thinks of it.

Essential listening:

Angel of Death
Raining Blood

Epilogue

And what happened then to the boys? They released the slower and more melodic works South of Heaven and Seasons in the Abyss, which were both quite successful, although not received so well by all fans of their third. When Lombardo left after Seasons due to personal conflicts, Slayer’s quality work experienced a step down. Lombardo’s return and the new album Christ Illusion that followed much later, in 2006, were hailed by fans and critics alike, and now Slayer still maintains their classic line-up, working on their upcoming release World Painted Blood.

To be continued in Part III: Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying?...



Recent reviews by this author
Genesis Calling All StationsGenesis We Can't Dance
Genesis Invisible TouchGenesis Genesis
Genesis AbacabGenesis Duke
user ratings (3450)
Chart.
4.4
superb
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
Nagrarok
September 1st 2009



8170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

So yeah, here's part II.

lostforwords
September 1st 2009



445 Comments


So you'd say that "Made In Japan" by Deep Purple is a classic while Master of Puppets and Reign In Blood aren't?

FadeToBlack
September 1st 2009



10913 Comments


they're different genres

imo raining blood is overrated, I would take piece by piece or postmortem over it anyday. guitar hero 3 sure didn't help with the overrated-ness either

The speed guitarists and bassist King, Hanneman and Araya plod at is astounding
this is slightly paradoxical (or whatever the word is), should probably replace it with shred/play/something

oh and this albums 'reign' as like the fastest album ever didn't really last too long, cause Dark Angel released Darkness Descends a month later lol

charlesfishowitz
September 1st 2009



1794 Comments


peice by peice and jesus saves are awes saux

lostforwords
September 1st 2009



445 Comments


"they're different genres, don't be a dick"


Different genres, all classic albums

Oh.And sorry for being a dick I didn't mean to. It's just that I don't really understand Nagrarok's rating policy

charlesfishowitz
September 1st 2009



1794 Comments


all classic albums


rooofl

FadeToBlack
September 1st 2009



10913 Comments


well MoP and this are classic albums simply because of their influence, but that doesn't warrant an immediate 5; the rating should be based on the content of the album, and that is entirely opinion (well most of the time anyway)

charlesfishowitz
September 1st 2009



1794 Comments


classic lamer albums

lostforwords
September 1st 2009



445 Comments


I think influence and recognition can guarantee some objectivity. And that's exactly the difference between a classic album and a superb album.
Or that's the way I see it. I might as well be wrong

Nagrarok
September 1st 2009



8170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

well MoP and this are classic albums simply because of their influence, but that doesn't warrant an immediate 5; the rating should be based on the content of the album, and that is entirely opinion (well most of the time anyway)

My point exactly.


OllieS
September 1st 2009



2030 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I hate this album. Good review.

FadeToBlack
September 1st 2009



10913 Comments


nope, gtfo

I might lower my rating tbh, it's place as most br00tal thrash album has been usurped now that I've been digging deep into the genre

lostforwords
September 1st 2009



445 Comments


"it's place as most br00tal thrash album has been usurped now that I've been digging deep into the genre"

By whom?


FadeToBlack
September 1st 2009



10913 Comments


Dark Angel - Darkness Descends
Demolition Hammer - Epidemic Of Violence
Sadus - Chemical Exposure
Kreator - Pleasure To Kill
etc

Douchebag
September 1st 2009



3624 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Only slayer album I own. It's definitley fun and definitley cheesy (c'mon, the angel of death intro is cheesy as hell! but not bad)

great review, look foward to the megadeth one as I haven't heard that album bar 2 or 3 tracks.

BallsToTheWall
September 1st 2009



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Gets me all hot and bothered. Hail Satan!!!

Sodom-M-16

Desperados-The Dawn Of Dying. The greatest Western themed thrahs metal album fucking ever.

Dethtrasher
September 1st 2009



2211 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nagrarok. You need to check the Angel Of Death cover by Sins Of Omission.

Jesuslaves
September 1st 2009



4655 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I maintain that Jesus Saves is one of the better thrash songs ever. Shit drives me nuts each time I listen to it.

KILL
September 1st 2009



71087 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Sodom-M-16

Hell yes

Digging: David Axelrod - Song of Innocence

LepreCon
September 1st 2009



3801 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Awesome review Nag, as per usual.

Digging: Overkill - White Devil Armory



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy