Beware of bleeding corpses and sacred souls begging violently for mercy as extreme metal unveils 30 minutes of its most unbridled thrash metal within. Seasoned warrior drop to their knees by the mere mention of its name and small children explode by stepping within miles of it. Its sound causes women to be subject to mental insanity and spontaneous abortions. Priests from worldwide flock to its resonance to perform exorcisms in desperation, but to no avail. Blood seeps from every orifice of every unsuspecting victim who travels within earshot of it. Hearts beat furiously to keep up with its furious pace causing uncontrollable heart failure. The solos defile virgins while the harsh vocals sodomize all that is decent and good. Yes my friends, this is Reign in Blood
, a testament to extreme metal’s progression into sheer brutality as well as an undeniable thrash metal classic.
Due to Reign in Blood
’s high punk influence, songs are lightning fast, often containing little or no repetition or predictable structure. Because of this, the album flows seamlessly from one song to another forming one solid half hour of thrash. 30 minutes is short for any genre of music, but rest assured that your neck will never get such a rigorous thirty-minute workout anywhere else. Heads bang uncontrollably while Reign in Blood
plays from the opening pounding of Angel of Death
to the demonic sound of rain closing Raining Blood
. In between, listeners are treated to some of the fastest, most aggressive riffs and drumming ever heard in metal. Solos shred beyond the lifespan of any cheese. Necrophobi
, clocking in at a mere 1:40, along with Jesus Saves
, define speed in music at a chaotic level. Going beyond the sheer extremities of the music, the two heavy metal classics on the album coupled with tracks such as Reborn
and the mid-paced songs Piece by Piece
deliver catchy, listenable thrash riffgasms without sacrificing an ounce of aggression.
The band itself was (and in recent times has gathered together once again) comprised of now legendary metal musicians and songwriters. Fronted by Tom Araya, Slayer features some of the most distinguishable and unique thrash shouts ever. Hell hath no fury like Tom Araya screaming “Angel of Death; Monarch to the kingdom of the dead” or “My sinful glare at nothing holds thoughts of death behind it; Skeletons in my mind commence tearing at my sanity”. Needless to say, Slayer lyrics are 90” violence and hatred and 10% Jesus Saves
-style religious dispute. While adding the notorious voice of Slayer, Araya also adds the basslines, a feature that too often goes unnoticed in Slayer’s chaotic buffet of death. Backing Araya is the guitar duo of Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King, a twosome that knows no musical bounds. It would take an intense amount of musical insanity to match the speed of Angel of Death
’s riffs – the brutality and catchiness are a prerequisite on Reign in Blood
. To add further lunacy and sadism to Reign in Blood
, Hanneman and King trade off solos in nearly every song, solidifying themselves as some of metal’s most potent and unruly shredders. See Necrophobic
and Criminally Insane
(to name a mere few) for details. Finally, the drums. Oh, the drums. Dave Lombardo was ahead of his time as a metal drummer, as he produced some of the fastest thrash and blast beats one could possibly hear in 1986. There’s no point in singling out songs as Lombardo delivers a full body percussive assault for a solid half hour.
For anyone interested in thrash metal, let alone the extreme form of it displayed here, Reign in Blood
is an absolute must. It is obvious that the album has stood the test of time since it has been two full decades since its release and metalheads still hail it a thrash classic. Classic, it is indeed in every sense of the word. Thrash metal really came together as an unstoppable force thanks to Slayer and this is the pinnacle of their sound. The production and songwriting took a clear-cut step forward from the undeveloped Hell Awaits
. Had it not been for the severe lack of length, this album would never deserve anything less than a perfect score. But as it stands, Reign in Blood
is a demonstration of sadistic violence set to music with the talent to match.
- EXTREME thrash metal
- Excessive speeds make the album short but seet
- Damn fine riffs and solos with evil thrash vocals
- A damn thrash classic!
As the entire album is like a solid slab of thrash metal, it’s nearly impossible to single out songs, but Angel of Death
and Raining Blood
are completely indispensable.