Title: “Reign in Blood”
Format: Digital (Spotify)
Slayer’s “Reign in Blood,” considered one of the seminal thrash metal albums of all time, lives up to its billing.
With a running time under 30 minutes, it’s a glorified, 10-song EP. Seven of the 10 tracks are less than three minutes long, so the cuts are furious and unrelenting.
“Reign in Blood” kick starts with “Angel of Death,” what is undoubtedly one of the great album openers ever. The controversy starts here, too, as the band was criticized for the song’s references to Josef Mengele. The reference also inspired the shape of the “S” in the band’s name.
They’re musical polemicists, so Mengele and Satanic references are par for the course on “Reign in Blood,” which was released by Def Jam, a label then known for its hip-hop output far more than metal.
Because the songs are so short, there’s a punky quality to the compositions. “Necrophobic” and “Postmortem” are quick and plodding. The entire album shows no letting up, except stopping for the sound of rain in the closer, “Raining Blood.”
I’m a newcomer to Slayer, but this isn’t just one of their best. It’s one of the best thrash metal albums, bar none.
Our Music Year is Daily Republic popular culture writer Nick DeCicco’s yearlong online review in 2012 of albums he had previously not listened to. The reviews will appear in print on their corresponding days during 2013. Reach him at 427-6966 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ndeciccodr.