Review Summary: It's OK.
Most people will tell you that Reign in Blood
was and is one of the most influential metal albums of all time. And they'd be correct.
Unfortunately, that was actually a quite undesirable influence.
Taking a look back at 1986, I can imagine exactly what people were thinking upon their first spin of the record. The moment the final torrents of raining blood ceased to fall, they said to themselves: "This is it?? This is all that's required to be successful?!"
And so, inspired by the promise of easy success, a whole new generation of metal bands came to the rise, whose style included the ability to come up with infinite permutations of E-string tremolo riffs and...
..Anyway, a few bands did make it work and did put out some decent records with actually distinct songs on them. As for the hordes of other bands, I value my time and taste in music, so I didn't exercise the effort to listen closely and try to figure out which two notes in their songs differ. And neither should anyone. So yeah, ultimately Reign in Blood branched mostly into short-lived evolutionary cul-de-sacs which no one cool cares about.
The album in itself, not regarding the legacy it left, is decent. With a lot of boring and annoying filler, but still decent. Good songs are the closing 3-4 punch of "Postmortem" (those triplets...) + "Raining Blood" (in Slayer's top 3 songs for sure), as well as "Jesus Saves", whose verse riff is absolutely the tastiest nastiest meanest riff in thrash. And, with some hesitation, "Angel of Death". The rest is disposable, except for "Reborn", which is worth noticing due to the fact that it's the Slayer song with the best lyrics; its music doesn't impress, though.
("Raining Blood" holds the honor of being the first metal song to actually scare me, in a very... sweet and thrilling way. So there's the emotional link for me as well.)
Often you can hear the claim that this album should only be looked at as one coherent whole, and not piece by piece (pun unintended), but really, that's a terrible excuse for the half of it that just plain sucks.