Slayer – “Reign in Blood”

Decibel Hall of Fame No. 1

Released: 1986

Label: Def Jam


In the early eighties, four LA boys in huge spiked wristbands and football greasepaint terrorized the rouged-up glam queens trolling the Sunset Strip for fake tits and lucrative recording contracts. Having already unleashed two merciless lo-fi shredding clinics via Show No Mercy and Hell Awaits, Slayer’s urban-Satanist lyrics and ultra-violent guitar acrobatics were far too inaccessible for West Hollywood’s coke-metal scene and way too sketchy for the Bay Area’s newly viable thrash contingency. But by 1985 the makeup was long gone, and Slayer entered the studio with Def Jam svengali Rick Rubin (at the time best known for producing the Beastie Boys and LL Cool J) to record their third album, Reign In Blood. Now widely regarded as thrash-metal’s definitive 28 minutes, it is as relentless today as when it scared the shit out of everybody back in ’86. Nearly two decades later, hesher classics like “Angel of Death” and “Raining Blood” still make other metal bands sound like frail pussies. With original drummer Dave Lombardo back at the pulpit and a recently released DVD (Reign In Blood Live: Still Reigning) documenting the band’s inclusion of the entire album in their live set, Decibel hunted down all four members of Slayer for a romantic stroll down memory lane.

—J. Bennett

To read the entire article, purchase this issue from our online store.