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This is the be-all end-all of thrash? - 81%

UltraBoris, August 10th, 2002

Now this is not a bad album. In fact, it is a pretty good album, but why people consider this to be the greatest metal album of all time is beyond me. It's an above average album that definitely pushed the envelope of brutality, but it doesn't have the raw heaviness of Darkness Descends, or the sheer frightful evil factor of Seven Churches (or even Hell Awaits for that matter!).

There are quite a few great songs on here... not just the first and last song, which everyone remembers (Angel of Death and Raining Blood, for those that have spent the last 16 years listening to disco), but also Postmortem, Jesus Saves, and also the highly underrated Epidemic. Those are probably the most well-developed songs on there: Angel of Death with the monster thrash break in the middle. Postmortem and Raining Blood together are a 7 minute thrash epic. (The line between the two songs was forever blurred when the CD was mastered incorrectly and the last verse of Postmortem began the last track!) Jesus Saves has that nifty intro, and Epidemic has a great middle break, almost as good as that of Angel of Death.

The rest... Altar of Sacrifice is not bad, in fact quite good. Just not... GREAT. It's a song that would not have made it to Hell Awaits - add maybe 4 more riffs, and possible. But, it just feels incomplete - just when it really starts to pick up, it's over. That's the problem with some other songs on here. Criminally Insane has that cool middle break, but it's only a few seconds. Necrophobic, well, for lack of a better term, is pure crap. Sure, it's 253 beats per minute, but fast for fast's sake never works. (Besides, if you want FAST, check out the demo version of Kruiz's "The Last Dawn" from 1986... 318 beats per minute of pure fucking speed metal!) Reborn, well, just another kinda forgettable song. Piece by Piece... they left out a few pieces, it's another half a song.

The album really does suffer in the fact that 8 of the 10 songs are under 3 minutes long. It's only 28 minutes in total: an example of S.O.D. syndrome. Slayer are capable of writing full, and interesting songs: check out any of the other albums with Dave Lombardo. Reign in Blood has a lot of potential, but it just manages to come up short. It's a fun listen, but not nearly as classic as some of the other Slayer releases.