Saturday, September 17, 2016

Slayer - Reign In Blood (1986)

After taking steady steps up the ladder of success, Slayer was finally ready to really hit it big time. Before they started working on their third album, they switched record labels, from the smaller Metal Blade records to the major label Def Jam Records. Yes, you read that right. Slayer, one of the greatest thrash metal bands of all time, was picked up by a record company that is most known for its roster of hip hop artists. Let us all just take a small gander of what artists they have today. we have Axwell/Ingrosso, Ludacris, Will Smith (yes, he apparently still makes music), Kanye West, and (gulp) Justin Bieber. In fact, Slayer is the only thrash band ever picked up by Def Jam. I don't know why, but I find that to be hilarious.

Anyway, the one who made it all happen was the producer, and co-founder of Def Jam, Rick Rubin, who quickly gained interest for the band, and not surprisingly, he ended up as the producer for their new album, entitled "Reign In Blood". Now, we all know what a resume Rick has today, producing albums like "13", "Death Magnetic", and "The Life of Pablo", and that he has a tendency to clean off every last corner of the production, making it spotless (both for the good and for the bad), but there was something with the connection between him and the band that was clicking. The production in "Reign In Blood" does have a lot of the same clean feeling as its predecessor, "Hell Awaits", but Rick manages to put in more power into this record, making it sound even heavier.

While "Reign In Blood" is still a pretty demonic record, the lyrics were not purely about satanism this time. Slayer wrote more about real world issues this time, like death, murder, and anti religious things. It certainly gives the album more depth in its lyrical content than its predecessors (even if it is still kind of primitive). Just take the start of the album for example, "Angel of Death", a brilliant song about Josef Mengele, a horrific doctor who experimented on humans during world war II, most of them on twins. Some things he tried to do was changing eye colors by injecting chemicals, transfusing blood, and amputating without any reason at all. Oh, and if one twin died, the other was killed too for postmortem examination purposes. Brutal.

The album may only be a half hour long, but it is filled to the brim with high class music. The already mentioned "Angel of Death" is just orgasmic for so many reasons, like Araya's screams, the insane riffing and solos, and the wild drumming of Dave Lombardo. Actually, now that I think of it, that description could more or less be put into every other song on this record. While the songs are not exactly the same, they all do have a formula that works incredibly well, making "Reign In Blood" a very action packed 30 minutes that is short, but incredibly sweet.

So unlike its predecessor, "Reign In Blood" focuses more on brute, quick force, which works really well. The longest song on this album is just under 5 minutes, and there are only 3 out of 10 songs that makes it over the 3 minute mark. The only break you get here is to the opening of "Raining Blood", and that is just the calm before the ultimate storm, unleashing one of the wildest barrages you will ever encounter. Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman brings out the most evil riffs possible, and the solo is complete insanity, it is so hard to take it all in, but you know that you just want more of it.

Many consider "Reign In Blood" to be the best thrash metal record ever made, maybe even the best overall metal record of all time. While I would not go that far, it is still clear to see that "Reign In Blood" is an incredible record, holding no real flaws, except maybe the short run time, but even that seems justified, because the bands makes the best out of every single second, making sure that everything is done with 110% commitment. And the songs here are just god damn awesome, extremely tasty thrash candy that will leave you with a sweet tooth for more. Needless to say, this is an amazing album, and if you have not heard of it before, go listen to it now, or suffer eternal damnation, you uncultured swine.

Songs worthy of recognition: Angel of Death, Raining Blood, and every other song

Rating: 10/10 Altars of Sacrifice

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