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A Review of Reign in Blood the Best Album of American Thrash Metal Band Slayer

Updated on September 10, 2018

The Cover Of The Album Reign In Blood

Reign In Blood is Still an Outstanding Release Even 30 Years Later

Few heavy metal albums throughout the history of the genre have stood the test of time so much that even many years later, they are still a band’s finest work. Such is the case for Slayer’s Reign in Blood album. Released in 1986, the third studio album from this California thrash metal band is pure speed and aggression, lasting less than 30 minutes. However, the extended edition has two bonus tracks. They are the songs Aggressive Perfector and a remixed version of the song Criminally Insane. Pretty much every guitar solo in this album is FAST! Why is this album the band’s best work? For the simple reason that every song is good and it fits in with the theme of an album based exclusively on speed.

Tom Araya: A Fast and Aggressive Vocalist That May Be Underrated

This band has mostly members from the United States. The only exception is bassist and vocalist Tom Araya who is from Chile. He may be the most recognizable person in the band’s history, known for his fast vocals which are aggressive. They sometimes have screams in them too. This is particularly the case in the song “Postmortem” as Araya sings “fatality, reality, you await the final call.” He lets out the scream there at the end. Postmortem is one of the slower songs on the album having a catchy mid-tempo riff in the song. Once again, here is a song by song breakdown and analysis for those of you that are enthusiastic heavy metal fans. Note: I may only analyze some of them in the order presented on the album. Finishing off the album is another famous song called Raining Blood which has the sound effects of rainfall coming down in the song.

The Great Song of 1986: Angel of Death

A Song By Song Analysis (does not include all songs in the album)

  1. Angel of Death-perhaps the most famous song on the album and one of the best in Slayer’s history, the lyrical themes in the song focus on World War 2 and the horrors committed by Adolf Hitler. The two minute mark contains some of the catchiest riffs that Slayer has ever written.
  2. Piece by Piece- this song is fast, heavy, and is about a vicious killer whose face its victims cannot see as he rips them apart. Buffalo NY based band Cannibal Corpse may have been influenced by these guys as their lyrics would be similar to the lyrics in this song.
  3. Necrophobic-this is the shortest song on the album clocking in at 1:40 and it is one of the fastest in Slayer’s history.
  4. Jesus Saves-at first glance when you read the lyrics this may seem like the band is trying to mock Jesus. On the contrary, the band is trying to point out that the song is actually about some of the things that Jesus preached about during his lifetime, such as not being motivated by lust. He also said that those who believe in HIM shall have everlasting life.
  5. Criminally Insane-this song starts out slowly but in usual Slayer fashion it speeds up. The song is about someone who has gone insane and gone on a journey to make life miserable for his victims.
  6. Epidemic- this is a song that addresses the major issues of poverty and disease which is spreading fast in some communities.

This Album Was a Statement made by This Band and Here is How

I go back and try to put some perspective on what the heavy metal scene was like back in 1986. At this time, speed was one of the main qualities that bands had in their albums but there was melody as well such as in the album Master of Puppets. But with this album, Slayer tried to show that they were ready to make a statement with their speed. Not every fast thrash metal album works well but this one does for sure!

Favorite Song on Reign in Blood

What is Your Favorite Song on Reign in Blood?

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A List of a Few Other Notable Heavy Metal Albums Released in 1986

Metallica-Master of Puppets
Megadeth-Peace Sells But Who's Buying?
Holy Moses-Queen of Siam

The Very Good Mid-Tempo Song Postmortem

More Reasons To Consider Why Reign In Blood is So Great

If Finished With the Dogs is considered Holy Moses’ best album and Master of Puppets is considered Metallica’s finest work, Reign in Blood may be considered in the minds of many to be Slayer’s finest work considering how short the album is. Overall, Reign in Blood is not just one of the best albums of 1986. It is also one of the finest fast thrash metal albums even 30 years later. For those of you that love albums with pure speed, Reign in Blood is recommended. If however, you prefer thrash metal albums with melody in addition to speed, then you can check out albums such as Kreator’s Enemy of God.

Rate Slayer's 3rd Album Reign in Blood

Cast your vote for Slayer Reign in Blood

The Song Called Raining Blood

© 2016 Ara Vahanian


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