Reign in Blood
SLAYER

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4.41 | 132 ratings | 10 reviews
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Album · 1986

Filed under Thrash Metal

Tracklist

1. Angel of Death (4:51)
2. Piece by Piece (2:02)
3. Necrophobic (1:40)
4. Altar of Sacrifice (2:50)
5. Jesus Saves (2:54)
6. Criminally Insane (2:23)
7. Reborn (2:11)
8. Epidemic (2:23)
9. Postmortem (3:27)
10. Raining Blood (4:16)
11. Aggressive Perfector * (2:30)
12. Criminally Insane * (remix) (3:17)

* bonus tracks

Total Time (original release): 29:02
Total Time (1998 release): 34:49

Line-up/Musicians

- Tom Araya / bass, vocals
- Jeff Hanneman / guitar
- Kerry King / guitar
- Dave Lombardo / drums

About this release

Label: Def Jam Recordings, October 7th, 1986

Recorded in L.A., mixed at New Fresh, N.Y.C. Co-produced by Slayer.

Re-released in 1998 with 2 bonus tracks.

Expanded edition with bonus tracks ("Aggressive Perfector" and a remix of "Criminally Insane"). Songs were recorded for the Postmortem 12-inch single.

Def Jam/Geffen also released the album on red, purple and green vinyl, limited edition picture vinyl with a different cover (bloody logo) and regular picture vinyl.

Trivia: On all older versions of the CD and LP, "Postmortem" ends at 2:44 before the fast part. This error was corrected on the Expanded Edition reissue CD.

Three different versions of the outro to "Raining Blood" exist. On some LP versions, the sound of the storm is created by a looped groove which continues indefinitely until the stylus is lifted. On other LP versions, the storm just fades after about 15 seconds. On the CD and cassette version, the storm outro lasts for 50 seconds.

The lyrics here are taken from the booklet of the expanded edition.

Thanks to Stooge, Pekka, UMUR for the updates

SLAYER MP3, Free Download/Stream

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SLAYER REIGN IN BLOOD reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
Out of the big 4, SLAYER was always the one I liked the least. Not because of their intensity or taking aggression to the next level. Far from it. The weakness I have always found in them is in the songwriting department. But not on this release. This is the release where aggression and innovation cross paths producing one of the all time classics.

I gave this album a break for a few years and just got the remastered version and have been blown away like it never did upon first listen. Rick Rubin produced this album and surely made it even better than it would have been otherwise.

Although I didn't like this as much in the beginning because it doesn't sound like Metallica, Megadeth or Anthrax, i let go of all that! It's a masterpiece on its own terms! For this shining moment in their discography, SLAYER hit a home run. This didn't do it for me upon first encounter but after listening to it now – WOW!
Stephen
'Reign In Blood' is considered a groundbreaking release by SLAYER, the first album to enter Billboard 200 and highly praised by thrash fans all over the world as a pure five-stars album, but I honestly think this is one of the most overrated album in the history of thrash. Comparing this to 'Master of Puppets', 'Peace Sells', and 'Among The Living' which were released around that time, 'Reign In Blood' is definitely at the bottom list, but that doesn't mean that this is a horrible album.

It has its moment, but as an overall album, I'm not sure whether it's realistically can be valued above 70% because apart from the fact that it's too short of an album, exposing the fact that SLAYER writing capability is limited and half of these songs are basically felt the same. Outstanding tracks are no doubt, the legendary 'Angel of Death' and 'Raining Blood'. Other songs I like are 'Piece By Piece', 'Altar of Sacrifice', and 'Postmortem'.

Five other tracks are basically kinda disappointing, especially 'Necrophobic' and 'Jesus Saves'. With brutally fast tempo, I don't see any variation in the singing style and riffs pattern. 'Criminally Insane' and 'Reborn' are also felt too flat, probably only 'Epidemic' is a bit better. With only half great tracks in a 29 minutes album, I need to underline the weakness of the songwriting creativity and quality. This is an okay album, but definitely not a great one.
Warthur
The shining masterpiece of Slayer's discography, Reign In Blood is also the fastest and most brutal album ever released by the band, or indeed by any of the Big Four of thrash metal, and it has a good claim to being one of the most extreme thrash metal albums ever released. Slayer's faster style from Hell Awaits is brought to perfection on this disc, with excellent production by Rick Rubin which brings out all the different aspects of what's going on - in particular, the release features the clearest and meatiest drum sound of any of Slayer's first three albums - and the shift in the lyrical focus from Satan and demons to more wide-ranging musings on violent subject matter if anything makes the band sound even more sick and sinister than previously. A true classic.
bonnek
Despite their shortcomings and limitations, Slayer totally owns the Thrash metal genre, if only for this 30 minutes slab of furious intensity.

Back in 1986 "Reign in Blood" redefined the limits of musical aggression by a couple of miles and even though many have pushed those limits even further in the last 25 years, this album hasn't lost one bit of its freshness and bite. Credits for this should at least partially go to the stunning production, one of the best in Metal ever, you can play this one as quiet or loud as you wish, it just blasts!

Kicking off with one of the most exciting minutes in the entire metal history, "Angel of Death" is Slayer's trademark piece, bringing an ultra-aggressive version of Judas Priest at their most abrasive moments such as on "Dissident Aggressor", a song Slayer would duly cover on their next album. Just like its opening track, the remainder of the album continues shifting tempos and matching technicality and speed with coarse vocals.

There's not much that deviates from the formula so to speak, but in fact, I believe that's one of the album's strengths. With the intensity and quality never dropping for a single second, this album pretty much feels like one continuous 29 minute piece, despite being split into 10 separate tracks.

Slayer would deliver one more masterpiece before starting to disappoint me with repeating themselves too much on consecutive albums. But before they became a fan's band, Slayer was the most exciting thing around.
Certif1ed
Essential, landmark masterpiece of Thrash Metal.

There's not an ounce of fat here, yet there is the full album's complement of 10 songs, most clocking in at little over 2 minutes, yet replete with all verses, choruses and multiple guitar solos.

When this album came out, it was the equivalent of a nuclear blast across the music industry - the shockwaves were felt across the globe. It was such a dramatic increase in quality, notably in terms of production, thanks to Rick Rubin - but all this is well known now.

The first song, Angel of Death, is the longest - and I must admit I always felt it was a bit too long, until I saw them playing live at Hammersmith Odeon in 1986 on the Reign in Blood Tour, and truly, it couldn't go on long enough. My opinion of the album, which I already held in very high regard, changed for the better, witnessing them performing it for the first time in England.

There are criticisms that the music is "samey" - this is to miss the point. When the music sounds like this, you don't want it to stop sounding like this - you want to live in the nirvana of the "ball of spikes" forever. I swear that concert was the second shortest one I ever attended - after Metallica with Anthrax supporting in September of that same year.

It's all been reviewed so many times, it's difficult to know how to give a fresh perspective on this album, which set a benchmark that has never been surpassed - but here goes. If it's not fresh, who cares? Another masterpiece rating won't hurt this masterpiece. Grin.

The intro slams hard and heavy - the production allows everything to shine through, every hit to slam home, every plectrum stroke (if such a gentle word may be used) and every scream to pierce through in a sonic explosion.

From the opening lines, "Auschwitz, the meaning of pain, the way that I want you to die", we are acquainted with the subject matter - and although I feel that the lyrics are grossly overdone in places, they are as nothing compared to the sad attempts at shock lyrics you hear now.

There follows the middle section, breaking away from standard rock song format, Slayer breaking down the intense thrasherama into THAT riff, which you just want to go on for ever and ever. Another riff is chucked in for the vocal section, and more riffs and breaks are chucked across the mix - how can anyone say the music stays the same, and who cares if it does when it's this amazing?

The various riff sections are buzzed around again, until the twin guitar solos slam in suddenly over a frantic version of the chorus riff, King and Hanneman exchanging evil-sounding swoops and screams, painting a stunning picture of the Angel of Death.

This doesn't feel like nearly 5 minutes any more. I'm sure it was 10 seconds.

Piece By Piece starts with a slower, churning pair of riffs, before returning to Angel of Death speed. The multiple stops and starts rip your brains out piece by piece, and is incredibly catchy, despite having no tune to speak of. The breakdown features an uber-intense descending riff, followed by a Sabbath-inspired tritonic motif, before exiting abruptly with the final verse and chorus - blink and you miss it!

Necrophobic is one of the fastest songs on the album, and simply rips along, severing flesh, tearing limb from limb. Headbanging to this is sure to result in a brain hemorrhage, so dont try it - but try resisting the riff at the breakdown - it's killer. The double solo flies off atop another Sabbath inspired motif before the song makes it's return with an impressive scream and mega heavy ending. I think my fingers are bleeding from trying to listen and type at the same time. Great!

The band I was in, back in '88 used to cover the next two songs, but in reverse order, and they're two of my favourite Slayer songs. It's weird to me to hear them in the album order, but they have better flow in the context of the preceeding songs - and this album does flow magnificently.

Altar of Sacrifice changes key and tempo as a kind of brief respite - it's no slouch, as it fairly zips along, with some brilliant riffing and key changes, and that fantastic exit from the solo, with the awesome passage "Enter to the realm of Satan", whcih picks up almost immediately, with a slower version of the main riff, Priest-like chugging a-plenty (but way more intense), and more guitar solos - Slayer really play around with the structure of the song here.

Rounding off side one of the vinyl, the music segues straight into "Jesus Saves", another catchy ditty from the friendly Slayer guys.

This is kicked off with a dark, explosive riff that's Sabbath-like, another riff follows, and another, you can really feel the build-up, then more explosions before the tempo rockets again, and the music frantically whirls around you - thrashing like a maniac, you might say. There's a guitar solo, another verse, another guitar solo, with some speedy shredding, another chorus, and another shred-fest and BANG! Side 1 ends with real flair. If you listen to the CD, you miss out on this experience, and lose some of why the album is so utterly compelling.

Side 2 starts with Criminally Insane, another of my favourite tracks - hell, they're all my favourite tracks.

Lombardo kills with an impressive recycling of the slow drum beat from Angel of Death - effectively turning the structure of that song upside down, as the verse/choruses return to the fast tempo - we like. More breakdowns and soloing, with wild shredding, and the slow beat is returned to in magnificent style. This never fails to give me goosebumps, especially with the spidery, doomy riff that snakes itself around everything. This song is over waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too soon.

Reborn has a kind of Priest vibe - but there's absolutely no doubt that Slayer have stamped their own, unique personality over every song on this album - it's incredibly rare to find a band that has a truly unique sound, but Slayer managed it. It's more of the same - but more of the same is exactly what we want - especially that mad thrashing that kicks off the guitar solo. Slayer really had the knack of knowing when to time breakdowns and build ups to perfection.

Epidemic has an odd, kind of reigned in feel to start with, which is attacked mercilessly by Slayer's many ultra-short semi-stops. This song has a kind of feel which Sacred Reich built a career on - check out the breakdown to the slow riff, although note that Slayer sneak in some little thrashy motifs to decorate the riffs. Every riff seems to have a long tongue hanging out and drooling - just when you think you know the riff, you hear a tiny detail that you missed before.

Postmortem you just know is going to be unleashed and wild - but again, Slayer tease and tantalise, holding the tempo back until the last possible minute. The riffs describe an amazing, captivating melody that stretches entire phrases rather than simple bar-by-bar work. The whole of the song up to the guitar solo is one evolving organism of a melody. Just when you think the song is slowing, it chekkily speeds up, then is taken back again, speeds up, and ends up in a completely unexpected place, like a new song has started at the unleashed tempo we were waiting for - "Do you want to die?". The song structuring here is astonishing, and it segues straight into "Raining Blood", in a similar manner to the final songs of side one - showing clearly the attention which was paid to structuring not just the songs, but the entire album.

Raining Blood is, of course, the best song in the world ever - this is surely common knowledge /grin.

It's 4 and a bit minutes of musical perfection. Those howling screaming axes shining through the thunderstorm, the thundering drums, the massive columns of riff that threaten to tear your head off - then carry out that threat with no mercy. At this speed, it's a tad messy - but it is what it is. Genuine boundary-pushing from one of the ultimate boundary-pushing bands. The breakdown here is another goosebump moment, and should be about 20 times longer before that scream of "Raining blood from a lacerated sky". The impossible buzzing of the guitars, thrashed within inches of their lives and howling, soaring demons that end in cacophony and the thunderstorm that continues in the run-out (see, you really miss out with CD) is a beautiful, predictable (in a very welcome sort of way) ending to an album that, once heard, feels like a life-changing experience.

Utter Masterpiece.
Pekka
All genres have some defining albums, Nevermind the Bollocks and Thick as a Brick coming to mind among the first, albums that always come up when discussing key works of each music style. Along with Master of Puppets, Slayer's Reign in Blood is the defining thrash metal album, and perhaps even the most definitive thrash album alone, if we must choose one.

Almost 30 years ago when thrash as a music form started coming up, it was the most extreme thing around, unleashing aggression and speed never know in the world of music, but as years go the standards change and there's always the bigger and badder thing coming around the corner. But in its 24 years Reign in Blood has lost none of its devastating fury and blinding drive. Even today this album sounds incredibly brutal, insane, and just barely under control, which gives it a dangerous edge rarely heard in music especially today when everything can be made perfect by studio trickery. There are real people playing this music, right on the edge, all the time.

Usually I look for some versatility in the music I listen to, but while this album is a total one trick pony, it does the one trick it has better than anybody anywhere. Or perhaps there are two: the brutal fast track and the just as brutal faster and shorter track. Dave Lombardo is a monster behind the kit, the anti-guitar solos of King and Hanneman are the only thing that could work over such ferocious riffs and Tom Araya has the perfect thrash voice, even making the falsetto screams work for his benefit, which many other bands tried and failed. "Do you want to die?!" he screams towards the end of the album, and I see that as a rhetorical question as every single being under the sun has already been murdered, sacrificed and mutilated during the first 25 minutes of this 30 minute ball of insane aggression.

Switch off your brain, clear the furniture away and let this wave of madness wash over you. It's a humbling experience to take a beating like this once in a while. Absolutely essential.
The Angry Scotsman
The epitome of Thrash Metal.

There is no other way to describe. Sure there are albums more technical, complex, progressive and all that jazz. However, the fact is in the genre of THRASH Metal there is no album that is more thrash than this. Reign in Blood was unprecedented in its speed, intensity, and outright insanity. I wish I could've been 16 in 1986 to hear this monster when it first came out.

This album packs 10 songs into 29 minutes. It begins with Angel of Death, which is close to 5 minutes. The middle section is actually a bit slower and more riffy. The song goes out like a blitzkrieg though.

The next 8 songs are all under 3 and a half minutes, (with 7 under 3!) and are unrelenting chaos. However, they are not all the same. In fact there is quite some variation. Necrophobic is a 1 minute 40 second long tornado that literally does not let up, (only for the briefest of moments).

Jesus Saves starts of slower and with more riffing and actually mixes it up a bit and progresses before the thrash begins. In fact all the songs do sound different, even if they are more or less the same style.

The album then ends with the famous Raining Blood. Really no need to describe this song, but if you havn't heard I'll just say it has slow, really groovy riffing, some of the fastest riffing you'll hear and flat out chaos.

OK, so the music is pure, pedal to the metal thrash metal. I do want to say this is not like Metallica with long tremolo picked riffs. The riffs are inhumanly fast but quite wild as well, and change often, and quickly. That is what adds to this album. It is more than speed, more than jamming the hell out of their instruments, but also its chaotic feel, which is driven by its constantly changing maddening riffs, blistering double bass and fills, Dave's breakneck thrash tempo, and of course those atonal, completely off the wall solos.

Frankly, they are not that really that "good" but certainly fit the album perfectly. Tom's vocals are his usual non pitched yelling. To top things off are the twisted, in depth lyrics dealing with Auschwitz, it's human experiments, and war. Oh, and Hail Satan! Of course.

As I said, there may be more technical, complex and well constructed albums but this is the thrashiest metal that has ever been made. Reign in Blood is the undisputed king of thrash metal.

Five Stars

Members reviews

CCVP
Let me kick off this review by saying that I am no fan of Slayer and that this album has all the reasons that cause me not to like this band.

Slayer's third studio album became quite notorius for its unprecedented aggression, power and speed in the heavy metal circles and exactly for that it became quite influential in heavy metal in general. Wile all that is true (the album really excels in all those characteristics), I find that it does nothing but that and that the band forgot to do everything else there is to do. In other words, they were more worried with being agressive, evil, fast and powerful than they are with their actual music.

During all the 29 minutes of the album, I can sense little change in Slayer's music, little variation, a real lack of new ideas. In short, they basically repeat themselves a lot, even during the short length of Reign in Blood. The songs have almost the same structure, a similar development and they do not change their expression and tone through the album. Yes, the album is agressive, evil, etc, but if you take that out of the way and simply listen to the music they play, there isn't much else to offer.

That lack of variation and creative inertia is, however, an ever-present feature in Slayer's music and the real strengh of Reign in Blood is balancing that with being markedly short. Besides the aggression and power, the short length is the biggest quality Reign in Blood has to offer, because that keeps you from getting tired of listening to an album that constantly repeats the same thing over and over again. Said repetition is something that actually keeps me from actually finishing most of Slayer's other albums, even though most of their albums clock below 40 minutes.

Grade and Final Thoughts

In spite of having all of the characteristical Slayer problems, Reign in Blood still manages to be an enjoyable album just for being very a short album. That actually restrain the listener from losing interest in the album. That unquestionably shows that it is only a good album and not a perfect masterpiece.
1967/ 1976
SLAUGHTER... TERRIFYING... IMPOSSIBLE TO CONCEIVE FROM A NORMAL PEOPLE... IN TWO WORDS...: REIGN IN BLOOD!!!

With "Reign In Blood" the bood is in the World! Simple! My brain explodes with the atomic bomb that "Reign In Blood" fire! And just because this is the last stage of R'n'R!!!

It is difficult if you don't know the evolution of American Rock to understand "Reign In Blood", a pure devastation atomic bomb of a culture. Opposite to "Reign In Blood" I see Rolling Stones. Stones are the fathers of Metal, not only for me. Is this insignificant? Maybe! Sure that "Reign In Blood" is terrifying album, also, at the era, some Stones albums. "Reign In Blood" is the final stage of Rock, because "Reign In Blood" is an album of pure Rock! Ok, the speed of songs are the speed of Indianapolis 500 or Daytona 500 but in my opinion "Reign In Blood" is also an album of Blues, Jazz, Classic Music, Progressive Rock. No Question! "Reign In Blood" is The definitive album of Rock. Heavy Metalis his kingdom. Nothing to say. Thrash Death Metal ago to be precise. For me, "Reign in Blood" is a timeless album and without musical genre!

If I think in musical field, "Reign In Blood" is a simply album: a tons of noise in melodic version. But this is simplistic. Just because "reign In Blood" is a nuclear sound assault this sentence is not perfect. "Reign In Blood" is the reign of complexity and not only an album of accords and arpeggios played at 2000000 Miles per hours but a terrifying house of virtuosisms. Virtuosisms that are synonym of naturally! Not only because this is the only form for expression of ideas of King, Hanneman, Araya and Lombardo, four kings of music. But because this is the final step of American Rock.

In definitive: "reign In Blood" is a pure Thrash album, a pure Death Metal album and sure a simple Rock album. In a pure essence... A Masterpiece without musical genre!
Beekeeper
As a thrash fan many would say it's sacrilege not to declare this the greatest album of the genre. After loving them, hating them, seeing them live, not listening to them for a few years and coming back with a much more mature and rounded musical perspective, I can safely declare that Slayer and this album in particular are overrated.

Sure it's fast, aggressive and well produced but it has a lot of flaws, some of which are inherent to the band - namely mediocre vocals and unforgivably bad guitar solos. The song writing which I believe is very important in this genre is fairly primitive, particularly when you compare it to contemporaries such as master of puppets.

It just seems like Slayer have a handful of riffs and ideas and have sought to build a career by extrapolating those ideas as far as possible. This album is a pretty good demonstration of this, the only real change between songs is how fast they are and what order the notes are played in. It's accesible and for many people it's just their cup of tea when it comes to thrash, personally I prefer the more elaborate and intelligent songwriting of bands like Kreator, Coroner and Voivod.

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