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If there was ever a time for me to forgo any witty, intriguing opening, now would be the time. Because no matter what I say, the message will still be the same: “Reign in Blood” will beat the living shit out of you, your family, your neighbors, and anyone you know. In exactly 29 minutes and 1 second, the clear-cut message of hatred will be sewn into your mind, and love it or hate it, you’ll learn a lesson in true malice.
Oh yes, and this kicks "Master of Puppets" square in the balls.
Released upon the unsuspecting masses in 1986, “Reign in Blood” embarked upon a path that was left desolate by other thrash metal acts such as Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax. Metallica and Megadeth choose to deepen their sound with more intricate playing and (seemingly) more meaningful lyrics, and Anthrax became even more of a comic-relief Thrash band, but not Slayer. They looked upon the scene and determined it was time to show the world just what a hideous, vile-spewing monster thrash could be.
"Enter to the realm of Satan..."
All it takes is the first pulverizing riff off the infamous “Angel of Death” for those to comprehend that this is certainly the album of the apocalypse. It’s the dual oppressive guitars, the thunderous drums, and Tom’s savage voice that will knock you off your feet. And it never lets up after that. “Necrophobic” and “Altar of Sacrifice” are the bastard offspring of Kerry and Jeff’s cruel intentions, with blazing speed and an intent to kill. Tom’s psychotic voice brings “Criminally Insane” to life, fulfilling its purpose to implant the image of an asylum patient poised to kill. With ease, Dave unloads savage fills all over “Epidemic” and “Piece By Piece”. But combine these deranged musicians together, and you get harrowing masterpieces such as the wailing “Raining Blood”, a bi-polar diagnosed “Jesus Saves”, and “Angel of Death”, whose ruthless riffs have caused ungodly amounts of physical violence.
Each member brings something to the table that benefits this album. Tom’s voice is purely sadistic, and while there isn’t much variation in it, he doesn’t need it. He sounds possessed throughout this whole album, as he spits out his lines faster than you can absorb them. On the Holocaust themed “Angel of Death”, he unleashes a furious scream that’s very often mistaken for an actual guitar because it’s so high. While he doesn’t write most of the lyrics (King does), he delivers them as if they were his own. They’re disgusting, gore-infested, anti-God, and aim to hand you one of the most spiteful Metal trips you’ll ever take. Listening to Tom shout out “Ripping apart, Severing flesh, Gouging eyes, Tearing limb from limb!” could cause your mother to faint. To perfectly match him, Kerry and Jeff create some of the cruelest riffs and solos the world has ever heard. The glorified omniscient intro riff to “Raining Blood” is a stone-cold testament to their riff writing power. And while their solos are painfully mindless by themselves, they give a true frenzied feel when put together with the music. They tend to trade off, such as on “Angel of Death” and “Criminally Insane”. But it’s Dave Lombardo who is the greatest here, as always. One of the most breathtaking drummers in the whole genre of Metal, Dave never disappoints. The tempo and precision that which he is able to play, especially live, has gained him immense respect and God-status. His double-bass will obliterate your speakers, and his fills on tracks like “Postmortem” will leave your head spinning.
There are only three flaws that this album really has. For starters, as many know, this album is the definition of repetitive. Everything will sound the same all in one sitting, but then again, that’s the point of the album. It was made to never let up on its attack, and while it certainly accomplishes this, it could make some heads hurt. Another problem is that it’s a little too short. This album is over so fast that you won’t know what to do next. And finally, while others may hail it, I do not find "Postmortem" to be all that interesting. While it’s got a great fluctuation in tempo, it just feels sub-par compared to the rest on this album.
It’s all here folks: the satanic and gore-filled lyrics, the insane drumming, demented vocals, and searing guitars. I can’t stress to you enough how much of a Thrash classic “Reign in Blood” is. If I was about to get into a serious fight with someone, I would make sure I brought this album along with me. But then again, this isn’t for everyone. “Reign in Blood” is simply a straight-shot of aggression and adrenaline, and all of those who want some of that will find more than their fill here.
Overall – 5/5 (100)
Angel of Death