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Slayer's big break...,
This review is from: Reign in Blood - Expanded Edition (Audio CD)
A lot has been written about 'Reign in Blood'. Is that the understatement of the Millenium? Most probably.
This album, Slayers third proper, does indeed contain elements that make it unique and peerless. I say 'elements', as any level headed person can see that the media hype, over time, has blown this album up to some kind of mythological beast from times yonder.
'Angel of Death', the opening track, is the track that sums up the feeling that most thrash and death metal fans and journos alike have about the album as a whole. Its aggressive, the lyrical content is genuinely disturbing (to your average granny or school teacher at least) and the riffs and druming is just nuts!
After that it boils down to your own interpretation of "legendary".
Reign in Blood doesn't quite make my grade. Hype and reality need to be compared, and if you are totally honest, this album is not the most "extreme" or infact "brutal" disk ever. If you think that go buy Any early Kreator albums if you want contemporary comparisons. And anything by Nile, or any other modern blast beating uber extreme death metal or grindcore outfit worth its salt.
'Necrophobic' introduced the world to some really fast guitar work and Tom Araya bursts a blood vessel screaming his lungs out.
The next 2 tracks seem to meld into one long thrash-fest, which, although great if you are a guitar nut, and know your stuff, as a music fan, it can get a little boring after time. And I've had "Reign in Blood" since 1988.
It really gets going again on the track "Criminally Insane", a well structured song, not as fast as the earlier tracks, but with a great middle and ending section, again with Araya's angry vocals driving it forward.
'Raining Blood' has a very memorable opening riff, coupled with thunder sound effects (a toilet being flushed some say), then really hammers the last minute or so of the album home like a bullet to the forehead.
Extra tracks on this edition 'Aggressive Perfector' & 'Criminally Insane' are nice touches, especially 'Aggressive Perfector', which shows, after the intense 29 minutes or so of Reign in Blood, the simpler riffs and solos of this track are really refreshing to hear.
If anything can be said about the real legendary status of this album, its the influence it had on the music scene after it was released. That is the true standing legacy of the band, as individuals and a unit. Reign in Blood spawned an even extremer music scene.
In conclusion I think the album is fantastic. But you need to listen to the best of its peers ('Master of Puppets', 'Bonded By Blood', 'Among the Living', 'Terrible Certainty', 'Live Without Sense', 'Seven Churches' etc...) to really make your mind up.
I've banged my head to it as much as the next man. Its intense, purposefully controversial, and typifies everything great about Slayer.
I suppose you'll have to listen to it yourself and make your mind up surrounding the hype.