Awesome Totally Awesome Slayer Reign in Blood

Making “Reign in Blood” — Slayer’s Timeless Classic

Suffice it to say 1986 was a game-changing year for thrash music and heavy metal, with Slayer’s masterpiece “Reign in Blood” becoming the standard-bearer as one of the greatest thrash albums of all time.

Released by Def Jam records on Oct. 7, 1986, Slayer’s third studio album came out seven months after Metallica’s “Master of Puppets”, and, while “Master of Puppets” was fast and heavy, Kerry King, Jeff Hanneman, Tom Araya and Dave Lombardo made sure “Reign in Blood” took heavy and fast to a whole new level.

At just 28:58 in length, it was one of the shortest records ever made (it could fit onto one side of a cassette tape), but that was all by design.

“If we do a verse two or three times, we’re already bored with it,” said Hanneman, who died in 2013 after dying from alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver. “So we weren’t trying to make the songs shorter—that’s just what we were into.”

While the songs were shorter than on Slayer’s hugely-underrated sophomore Hell Awaits, the furiously fast riffs, controversial and violent song matter, as well as Lombardo’s frantic drumming were still there.

The key difference was producer Rick Rubin.

Rubin, who owned Def Jam Records, was well-known at the time as a top-notch rap producer for acts like LL Cool J and Run DMC. He met with the band in Europe and convinced them to join his label and let him produce the record (even though he’d never worked with a metal band before), while giving the Slayer full license to write whatever they wanted.

Awesome Totally Awesome Slayer 1986

Through his official account on Genius, a music annotation site, Rubin gives some insight into recording Reign in Blood.

“In terms of writing, I’d say the Reign In Blood album was pretty close to complete when they came in,” said Rubin. “I think we just stepped up the recording from what they had done independently before that. It was really more the engineering.”

Renowned engineer Andy Wallace, who later produced Nirvana’s Nevermind, had a huge hand in creating that crisp, clear, in-your-face thrash sound, which had way less reverb than on Slayer’s previous two albums.

“Andy Wallace did it, which is what later got him in with Nirvana, absolutely. A hundred percent. It was insane. It was punk energy but with a precision that punk rarely ever had. It was much tighter than punk,” said Rubin about Reign in Blood.

Most of the songs on Reign in Blood were brutal, morbid and disturbing for many people back in 1986, but none more so than “Angel of Death”, a Hanneman track about Nazi SS officer Dr. Josef Mengele, who performed sickening experiments on Jews at Auschwitz, the Nazis most infamous concentration camp.

With it’s no-holds barred look at Mengele’s work, Columbia records (Def Jam’s distributor) refused to distribute the record. Many of the record label owners were Jewish, so this shouldn’t have come as a surprise. However, Geffen Records did distribute it, but because of the controversy, Reign in Blood was not on the their release schedule.

It should be noted what a key contributor the late Hanneman was for Slayer back then.

He wrote the music for every track on Reign except for “Piece by Piece”, a King composition. Hanneman also contributed lyrics the intense lyrics for “Angel of Death” as well as “Necrophobic”. He also had a hand in the words to “Criminally Insane” and “Raining Blood”. There was a massive hole in Slayer when he died in 2013 of liver failure.

Check out more of Cam Maxwell’s Rock ‘N Roll Insight.

Awesome Totally Awesome - Freaks & Weirdos Boutique
ATA - DTK

Awesome Dropping

Awesome Totally Awesome - Where Is My Mind

Where is My Mind; Or ****, I Ate The Whole Brownie

I was in a small spaceship, galaxies away from home when I realized I had lost my mind.
Awesome Totally Awesome Greatest Halloween Songs

Six Greatest Halloween Metal Songs

With All Hallows' Eve quickly approaching, we thought we'd compile a list of the greatest metal tracks with a spooky Halloween spirit to them.
Awesome Totally Awesome - Class of Seventy-Four

The 10: Red Black and Green

I was in the process of writing a follow up to my article on Saturday Cartoons of the 80's when I had to make a detour. I've made it known that music is life for me. I was in the mood for some head-nod Hip-Hop. My go-to for that is a 90's group that was pretty much the soundtrack to my teenage years. To this day, I still feel their first three albums are perfect.

Awesome Features

Awesome Totally Awesome - Lupe Fiasco

Why Lupe Fiasco is Still My Favorite Rapper?

We get into Lupe Fiasco more closely especially after his most recent release, Drogas Wave.

Grails - Photoshoot Featuring @ymanibarbee and @adore.eu in Streetwear Grails by Supreme and Diamond Supply Co. X Collabo NY

Ymani and Natalie looking fine in streetwear grails by Supreme and Diamond Supply Co. x Collabo NY.  Ymani is wearing a Supreme grail from 2008 (tags still on) featuring JFK and Jackie in 1963, just minutes before JFK was assassinated.  Natalie is wearing another grail: Diamond Supply Co. x Collabo NY's 2006 flipped Misfits skull logo with grills.

Awesome Trending

Awesome Totally Awesome - Dom Kennedy

Gotta Love Dom: The Underrated Rapper has Built a Cult Following Without Selling Out

With the continuous influx of soulless, mumble rap, many of us are yearning for the good old days. Fortunately, there are a few rappers out there restoring our faith in the genre.
Awesome Totally Awesome - Supreme Box Hoodie Legit Check 101Four-Pins

Legit Check 101 Supreme: Box Logo Hoodies

The Supreme Box Logo (“BOGO”) Hoodie is one of the most iconic and sought Supreme pieces year in and year out. We’re here to provide you with a basic checklist that should apply to any BOGO Hoodie within the past 10 years.
Awesome Totally Awesome Beastie Boys Check Your Head

Why Check Your Head By the Beasties Will Always Be My Favorite Album

Check Your Head was named after a random occurrence wherein Ad Rock had purchased a pack of Desert Storm trading cards and brought them to the studio.