Autobiographical Order No. 233: Slayer – Reign in Blood

Earlier this year I made a very non-controversial statement in saying that if you love metal, you absolutely are required to love Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden. Those are the two prerequisites. Don’t like those bands? Get back to twee-folk or whatever, because metal clearly isn’t for you.

I’m very tempted to say the same thing for Slayer. But it’s more specific than that: If you love metal, you love Reign in Blood. I’ll admit that my journey into metal didn’t go through the canonical choices first. A lot of my education was kind of roundabout, picking up the classics on ROCK 102.1 back in the day (Sabbath, Judas Priest) along with some alt-metal stuff like Danzig and Alice in Chains and Faith No More, and then The Deftones, back to some newer stuff like Mastodon and Boris and then consuming everything I possibly could from there.

I had plenty of friends who loved Slayer when I was a teenager, and I think the first album of theirs I ever heard was Divine Intervention, which I thought was pretty cool but now realize that’s when things started their downward turn. But Slayer always appealed to me because they had more of a punk sensibility and tended to burn through their intense thrash tracks without wasting a moment. Reign In Blood is less than 30 minutes long, for instance, and it’s pretty much a perfect thrash album.

Because of how short some of the tracks are and how fast they are, there are sequences that blur by at high speeds, and the songs themselves aren’t always the most important thing. It’s the feeling and the intensity of it. But then again, there are some actually amazing songs, like “Raining Blood,” for instance, which is one of the greatest metal songs of all time. OF ALL TIME!

Reign in Blood is perfect. Slayer, however, is not, and they’ve released plenty of subpar albums. They’ve also done a lot that has made me cringe in recent years, from firing Dave Lombardo (and it ain’t Slayer without Dave) to Tom Araya’s political bullshit. (Kerry King was a Clinton supporter so I’m not sure if they just don’t talk about it or what, but c’mon Tom.) So yeah, Slayer ain’t perfect. But this slice of furious thrash metal (which I picked up on clear vinyl when Nuclear Blast reissued it)? You bet it is.

Rating: 10.0

Sound Quality: Great


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