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Regardless of whether you like "Reign in Blood" or not, there's no denying its status. So when Slayer proposed the idea of playing the whole album live and releasing it on DVD, we got a little worried. But, like they always have, Slayer pulled through and released a hell of a live performance. Though the video quality is a bit more grainy and rough than War at the Warfield, this only helps to bring out the savage nature of the music.
The performance itself is a Slayer fanatic's wet dream come true. Not only do they play the whole album, but they play it damn well. Every chaotic solo is exactly in place, Tom's vocals seem re-energized, and Dave's drumming is merciless just as it was in '86. You would think that things would come to sound rusty with age, but Tom does indeed pull off that hellacious scream at the beginning of "Angel of Death." Even the tracks that most dismissed as boring are fucking vicious here: "Reborn" is played at an absurd speed, and "Epidemic" still has that kick-ass drum fill at the start.
I personally thought that this whole thing would come off as a mess, but the band are dead tight in their renditions of the classic songs. "Necrophobic" was definitely a shocker; I never thought that the band would pull off such an insanely fast song so flawlessly. Tom never misses a word, and his vocal deliverance on "Criminally Insane" and of course, the light-speed ending of "Postmortem," are nothing but godly. On the band's previous DVD, Tom pulled it off, but without balls or aggression. And believe me, there's plenty of both here, for the whole band. Dave's performance is nothing short of pummelling, and further proves to me that you don't really need technicality to be a good drummer. That famous double bass break in "Angel of Death" will literally melt your face off, especially with the fact that the drums have a sharp, biting edge to them the whole way through. The crowd during this show are fucking crazy, as they are at all Slayer shows: plenty of moshing and big, sweaty guys covered in blood. Good stuff. And of course, my personal favorite from this album, "Altar of Sacrifice," was true bliss. There is nothing that compares to hearing a classic song with new life in it.
The sound mix is a bit more rough than War at the Warfield, but helps things out in the long run. Kerry and Jeff still cut through with precision, and the intensity of their playing never lets up. For one of the first times, we can actually hear what Tom is playing. Of course, it's nothing spectacular, but it does add some more chunk to the overall sound.
It would be a sin to not mention the wall of blood that comes down on the band before raging into the classic "Raining Blood." It comes off wonderfully, and is almost intimidating. But one thing happens that kind of kills it: it drenches Dave's drums and kind of flattens the sound. It's no biggie, as I was still staring at the rest of the band covered in head to toe with blood. The same thing happens at the end of the song, right before the finally flurry of solos. It looks even better here, as you can watch the band in action get soaked in the stuff.
Though this is the main aspect of the DVD, there are also some other things that help out: There's a documentary that gives insight to the band's past and present, and offers intimate details of Dave's coming and going to the line-up. Also included is a set list of bonus material covering 6 songs. The band go through some material from their early 90's albums, which is executed with brutality to boot.
This is definitely a great purchase. If you're wanting a more well-rounded set list, get War at the Warfield. But if you love the classic album this is titled after, you can't go wrong.
Well, I just got done watching this DVD for the second time, and I am more impressed with this one than "War at the Warfield." First off, the sound quality is EXTREMELY better than Warfield. I think that the band, knowing this would not only document their classic, "REIGN IN BLOOD," but also kind of a homecoming for Dave, they wanted it to sound better. Second, it's filmed way better, also. At first, I found myself getting dizzy as the camera angles move around A HELL OF A LOT and switch between black & white/color. But after getting used to this, I settled in for what will be a monument to when I saw them on last year's Jaeger tour, and the first time I had ever heard REIGN IN BLOOD played in its' entirety. Sure did bring back a lot of memories from my youth hearing the old stand-bys like "Angel of Death" and "Altar of Sacrifice/Jesus Saves!!!" Having Dave back in the fold seems to have injected the band with new life, as they tear through each song as if it was still the REIGN IN PAIN TOUR '86!!! The blood effect at the end of "Post Mortem" is INCREDIBLE.......needs to be seen to be believed!!! I know there are some who'll say that's it's hackneyed and stupid, but ...WHO CARES?!?!? It's Slayer, it's their music, and especially, their damn DVD!!!! I like their reaction backstage afterwards. It's almost as if they don't believe how amazing it was until it was all said and done! The idea of putting the other songs on as "bonus tracks" is a little bewildering to me, but again, I'm not complaining.......it's SLAYER! This is the first time I have seen "Spill the Blood" played live, and the rest are classic SLAYER live tracks. The interview segment entitled "Slayer in Their Own Words" is awesome, too, as it briefly goes back into Slayer's history and talks with each band member about what they brought/bring to the table as far as the band is concerned. Then a little about how the blood effect was created, and where they can see themselves going in the not-to-distant future. The best part is when Kerry & Jeff are asked what they would say to God if they died and went to heaven!!! Hilarious! Overall, I think they should've put a better interview segemnt on Warfield (like the one here), and maybe show the concert in the correct order, like on the Jaeger tour, and let the build-up add to energy and explosiveness that is the REIGN IN BLOOD album played live by the best live band in my estimation, ............SLAYER!!!!! Excellent work, guys. I don't know how much longer this band plans to go on, but I'll be there for the ride as long as it's as intense as their music has been for me over the years!!! Long Live Metal!!!