Thursday, June 11, 2009

Slayer - Reign in Blood

7/10

This is an overrated album. That said, it's still good, just not quite as good as most would have you believe. It suffers from the "Who's Next" effect where the first and last tracks are so unbelievably good that people put it up on a pedestal when the material in between isn't nearly as strong. I wouldn't call any of the other tracks bad, but the only one which really sticks out in my mind is "Jesus Saves" (and that's more due to the lyrics than the music). The intermediate tracks are just too short; Reign in Blood goes by quickly at under half an hour (not counting the bonus tracks).
However, "Angel of Death" and "Raining Blood" deserve all the acclaim they get. The former is about as fast and as brutal as you can get, both musically and lyrically (unsurprisingly, writing a song about Josef Mengele didn't exactly do wonders for the band's mainstream reputation even when the album's producer is Jewish), and the latter makes the wise choice of letting up for just a little at the beginning before engaging in another full-out thrash assault. It's not exactly surprising that the other songs don't really match up to those two, but when your opener and closer are that strong, not matching up isn't really an insult.

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