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Mosquitoes Dying Horrible Deaths - 72%

1stMetalheads, September 16th, 2008

When I first saw kids at my school with Slayer shirts, I initially blew them off, after all, how good could they be if you their shirts are on kids who listen to Lamb Of God and Trivium? Well, you’d be surprised if you were in the same situation as me, and at the time I hadn’t listened to more thrash than Megadeth and Metallica, so this was totally new to me. About a month later, I had heard a couple songs, and they sounded pretty badass, and the end result was me getting Reign In Blood.

Now, if you know me, you’ll know that I’m not particularly big on what people think the classics are, just what it actually sounds like, and Reign In Blood doesn’t sound like all it’s cracked up to be. This is just a gateway album, introducing people to fast music, and there's very little for a veteran to appreciate. There isn't even enough memorable tracks for a nostalgic replay.

First off, Kerry King, the God Of Random-Fret-Solos, sounded good on Show No Mercy, but what happened? (did your balls drop off?) Putting it a bit harshly, King's solos sound more like a swarm of mosquitoes dying horrible deaths than the cries of the damned (which I guess is what he’s going for). And with RIB, his solos are the most overarching problem. They're on every single song (often several of them), and always ends up sounding mediocre, with a slight tinge of wankery becoming apparent when you realize he's actually serious.

As for the other laurel-sucking pretend god, there's Dave Lombardo. What’s so special about him? Why does he get all the praise he does? I don’t know, because his drum fills are completely average. He has two basic beats, kinda-sorta fast beats, and the more atmospheric pounding and slow drums. Of the two, the latter is much better, but he uses the first almost exclusively. In his defense though, at least he didn’t descend as much as Kerry King did from SNM, and was much better on that album as well as this one.

Now for Tom Araya. Well he doesn’t keep much quality beyond his very first scream on Angel Of Death, save few select screeches after that. His vocals are about as varied as Lombardos drumming, and even more bland than Kings solos. And as to his bass, well, it just plods along, not really doing anything. Speaking of repetitive, the songwriting on this album could be reduced to a simple mathematical formula that likely wouldn’t even require anything above a 6th-grade education to evolve. All of the eight middle tracks sound exactly the same, except for the intro to Criminally Insane (Which is really similar to the intro for Raining Blood)

Now, you’ve probably looked at the score again by now, and you’re wondering why it’s so high when I’m pretty much tearing this album apart. Well, this album can be saved by two things, and the biggest of those is the indescribable quality of thrash that makes you want to headbang and scream until your neck and vocal chords feel like they've been put through a meat grinder. The main thing helping this album with that is that it is FAST, with most of the songs being under 3 minutes. Before you know it, all those 8 filler tracks will be over with, and instead of dragging all the half-assed riffs through the mud, they just briefly touch it. Because of this, the songs are much easier to deal with, and don’t seem nearly so boring.

Jeff Hanneman, the lone ranger for quality on here, really shines. Where Kerry King goes crazy-deep into his dumbass style, and Lombardo just does the same thing over and over, Hanneman gets what both are trying to do. He goes kind of technical without going into wankery, and provides the base-line for head banging that usually falls to the drums. Make no mistake, all the quality that’s here is because of Hanneman.

But really, the way to listen to this album is by not paying attention to it. If you ever think about what they’re actually playing, it will just seem subpar. This album is perfect if you just want some good rhythm to exercise to, and it does extremely well at that. Take it for what it is, but don’t expect something that will reveal anything to you over time, you hear all you need to the very first time.

Highlights: Angel Of Death, Raining Blood