Reign In Blood

by Slayer

Released October 17, 1986 via Def Jam Recordings

Reviewed October 5, 2021

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Angel of Death (91%), Raining Blood (46%), Postmortem (36%)

Reign in Blood is the epitome of thrash metal to its absolute core. At 28 minutes and 10 tracks, each song is a blistering demonstration of the mile-a-minute audio barrage that the genre became known for. What elevates this above most thrash releases is Rick Rubin’s production. A hip-hop producer might seem like an odd choice, but Rubin perfectly captured the elements that made each member so unique, while arranging what is perhaps the greatest produced thrash album ever. From the moment this album starts to its final rainfall, Slayer crafted a perfect metal album filled with some of the most iconic moments in the genre’s history. – Jared (10/10)

1986 marked the peak of thrash metal, spawning what are probably the genre’s two most popular records: Metallica’s Master of Puppets and Slayer’s Reign in Blood. While time, advancements in production equipment and techniques, and the development of heavier genres have lessened the bite that Reign in Blood has by today’s standard, context is crucial. This record spawned innumerable copycats, becoming the blueprint for thrash metal. It bridged a gap between hardcore punk and the early forms of thrash metal to define the budding sound of thrash, and it is the ultimate predecessor to death metal. Unfiltered aggression throughout, Slayer focuses on death, insanity, and anti-religious themes in their lyrics—marking a departure from the Satanic themes they previously explored, but still remaining just as dark and visceral. The four-piece of Tom Araya, Kerry King, Jeff Hanneman, and Dave Lombardo play their instruments at absolutely blistering speeds, as double-bass drumming and killer guitar riffs permeate every second of this record. And even as your ears are overloaded with the sheer speed and aggression the band plays with, it sounds undeniably crisp and clear. Thrash metal has to be fast and it has to be heavy, but no one ever said it had to be raw; Slayer’s Reign in Blood set the standard for the genre as one of the most refined pieces of extreme metal. – Dominick (9/10)

1986 proved to be the precipice of the entire thrash metal phenomenon with Reign in Blood, Metallica's Master of Puppets, and Megadeth's Peace Sells... all making an indelible mark on the scene. Intense musicianship and aphoristic social scriptures run through these works like no other. Reign in Blood reigns supreme however through its length––sitting at less than half an hour in runtime—and its non-stop sonic assault, playing out like a rollercoaster through Satan's summit. Slayer carves out their own style, sound, and relentless energy through irreverent riffery and a hard-to-find drummer in Dave Lombardo; there’s a reason his name turns up in pretty much every 'greatest of all-time' drummer debate. Slayer's Reign in Blood intravenously injects a sharp shock to the system. Taking an influence from the hardcore punk scene of the early 80s and combining it with metal’s impenetrable approach, Slayer turned the intensity up to 11. – Peter (8/10)


Jared: 10/10 | Dominick: 9/10 | DeVán: 8/10 | Peter: 8/10 | Cam: 7.8/10