When thrash metal titans Slayer announced that they were going to play one last tour before breaking up, fans and critics started reminiscing over the band’s numerous accomplishments over the past 37 years. During that time, Slayer released 11 full-length studio albums, toured the world countless times and gone from feared pariahs to monumental anti-rock stars.
Perusing the triumphs and pitfalls of the band’s career, it’s impossible not to recognize their 1986 album Reign in Blood as, perhaps, their greatest and undoubtedly most controversial release. When it came out the albums was faster than any other thrash album, and while the Reign’s tempos have been surpassed by lots of death metal and black metal outfits, the record remains one of the heaviest and most brutal metal releases to date.
Slayer weren’t the first thrash metal band signed to a major label. That honor goes to Metallica, but with Reign in Blood Slayer became the most extreme. The album addressed Nazi war atrocities, Satanism, serial killing and Christianity bashing and bombardment was relentless, never slowing below breakneck speed. Considering its malignant aesthetic it’s surprising that it was distributed by a powerful record corporation – in this case Geffen. What’s even more surprising is that Reign in Blood went double-platinum and is now considered a metal classic.
Here are other wild facts you probably didn’t know about one of the greatest metal albums ever.