By the time 1994 had come along, extreme metal had reached the pinnacle of extremity. Revolting lyrics, objectionable artwork and band behavior couldn't have conceivably and would not get any worse.
Slayer, one of the earliest and most influential pioneers of the genre were beginning to lose relative credibility, that is untill they released this album. In my opinion, the mood or tone of this album is dangerously subversive. While the music was not heavy by the standards of the day, there was an immense subliminal aggression hidden inside the music. Unlike any other band I have ever heard, this aggressive nihilistic tone had an unsettling reality to it. This illusion of reality was heigthened by the inlay card which demonstrated real life examples of fictional portrayals of violence becoming real actual physical violence.
Life was imitating art, Slayer knew it and most of them lived with that fact quite comfortably. This is all the more unsettling when one considers the prevailing subject matter here: murder (213, ..murder art, killing fields). Perhaps fortunately for society, Slayer wouldn't fuel the fire so vigourously in their later albums. Musically, this is top quality, heavy, fast slayer. In my opinion it is the last true descendant from 'Reign in Blood' and in many ways the quality here supercedes that found on that record. 'Dittohead' and 'Killing fields' are by far more heavy than anything the band had released before and, dare I say it, Dittohead is a more powerfull song than 'Angel of Death'. This is a much more real, disturbing and violent Slayer than on any of their previous records and from what I see this album is still underappreciated.