Last week, Slayer's 1986 album Reign In Blood turned 25 years old. We were so wrapped up in doing that dog-ass Pink Floyd facts blog - that we paid dearly for in the comments section - and getting ready for our high school reunion, that we forgot all about this anniversary. We apologize for letting down ourselves, all of you, and Tom Araya, Jeff Hanneman, Kerry King, and Dave Lombardo.
For that matter, Marilyn Manson's Antichrist Superstar turned 15 last week too, old enough for a learner's permit. When it came out it was one of the worst things you could bring to your school. Now it's all but a quaint moment in time.
Over 10 songs and just under 30 minutes (28:56), Reign In Blood managed to shock, awe, brutalize, and scare the living shit out of mainstream metal audiences. In 2011, as the world of metal becomes ever vast and varied, the album now holds a special spot next to other influential metal albums like Kill 'Em All, Paranoid, and Venom's Black Metal.
There is a groove to Reign In Blood, too. You can move to it. When things get shitty at the office and we need to buckle down, it's the first thing we seek out.
It works as a singular piece of music; well, at least in our eyes. The journey from "Angel of Death" to the closer "Raining Blood" is short and sweet, but every track is embedded in our brain. Mostly 210 beats per minute throughout. No breaks, no pauses, no power ballads.
Produced by Rick Rubin, the album was delayed because of fears over the artwork and the lyrical content. The album is really a history lesson in the brutality of man, through religion, Nazism, and other propaganda. Columbia Records, which distributed Rubin's then-Def Jam label, refused to distribute Slayer's album. Al Teller, then-president of Columbia, lost his parents in the Holocaust.
Geffen stepped in to release the album, but kept the release off official schedules in order to not attract attention. Still, kids found it, parents hated it, and the moral hordes seethed.
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- Tori Amos covered "Raining Blood" for her 2001 album Strange Little Girls, which was released a week after 9/11 and served as a chilling soundtrack for those hellish times. Slayer helped out too - their own God Hates Us All was actually released on Sept. 11, 2001.
- Guitarist Jeff Hanneman's father landed on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944, giving the band's anti-Nazi opening cut "Angel of Death" some historical background.
- Reign In Blood reached No. 94 on the Billboard 200 in October 1986. By 1992, it had only gone double-platinum. But most of the people who bought the album for those six years started their own metal bands anyway.
- Slayer's "Angel of Death" has been sampled by Public Enemy ("She Watch Channel Zero?!") and KMFDM ("Godlike"), and Lil' Jon sampled "Raining Blood" for the 2004 single "Stop Fuckin' Wit Me."
- Drummer Dave Lombardo quit the "Reign In Pain" tour after a month on the road, over money. He came back in 1987 at the urging of producer Rick Rubin.
- In 2004, Slayer went on tour performing Reign in its entirety nightly, with a shower of blood covering the band for "Raining Blood" at the end.
- The running time of "Angel of Death" is 4:51. The album is only 28:56 minutes long. It's the first, longest, and most conventional song on the album.
- The first time we heard "Angel of Death" in a film was while watching Gremlins 2: The New Batch, as the mean Mohawk gremlin was turning into a spider after drinking goo in the Clamp Enterprises science lab.
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- The follow-up to Reign, 1988's South of Heaven, came under fire from fans for not being as fast and loud as its predecessor. Imagine that.
- Slayer's Reign tour hit Houston on February 17, 1987 at the Maceba Theater at Main and Richmond/Wheeler, with W.A.S.P. and Raven in support.