Celebrating 37 Years of Reign in Blood

Death metal, like heavy metal itself, merged from murky origins that shoveled many influences into more of a classical style of through-composed music based on phrase and not harmony with vocals, basing the music around the guitar as a lead instrument, adding in lyrical tropes from Romantic poetry.

Since its inception, this approach has produced both revulsion and a strange addictive compulsion in the normie audience who secretly know that they live in a consensual symbolic hallucination arising from social pressures, and both crave and fear what exists outside of it.

In this way, metal provokes the question at the center of our switch to Abrahamic religions and morality, which asks whether we see the divine as a part of nature or a humanist opposition to it. The pagans saw nature as having its own law and humanity as subordinate to it.

Humanism makes people both selfish and self-destructive because by denying the patterns of nature, humans make themselves into isolated little worlds which encourage self-worship but demand reality-denial, which leads to humans doing what is illogical and damaging or destroying themselves.

Reign in Blood solidified the death metal movement that began in nascent form three years earlier with bands like Bathory, Hellhammer, and earlier Slayer pushing toward a mythological-historical view of humanity and a musical style that made ugliness into cryptic and esoteric beauty.

This showed us a philosophical shift in humanity. Normie music tried to be harmonious and edgy, but metal pushed beyond that into a primitive but realistic worldview, creating a sense of adventure that had become lost in the safety and uniformity of consumer society.

At a time when most music was becoming more navel-gazing and trivial, Slayer launched its audience into a world beyond what was being talked about in social groups or the media. They revealed the nature hiding beneath the chrome, pro-printed signs, endless rules, and easy money.

Clocking in at a bare half-hour, Reign in Blood sandwiches brutal hardcore-style fast and pummeling tracks between two epics, “Angel of Death” and “Raining Blood,” taking listeners on a wild ride through a world outside conventional morality and bourgeois materialism.

As a grimoire of technique, it became canon for the new death metal bands who practiced similar chromatic and angular riffs, epic song structures, and occasional use of melody to highlight themes which would emerge over the course of each song.

We live in the world that Slayer created, and we owe it to the future to carry on the spirit of this timeless and commanding release.

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67 thoughts on “Celebrating 37 Years of Reign in Blood

  1. SATAN says:


  2. Demon of Life says:

    We can be humanists and realists at the same time, it seems we always have been, it’s not a big deal. Also, Slayer.

    1. We can be humanists and realists at the same time

      Clear paradox there, plus historical evidence to the contrary.

      1. Demon of Life says:

        Use comforting illusion when approaching love and death, apply cold rationality when solving material problems. Quality people seem to know the proportions. Those who don’t tend to destroy themselves and others.

        1. In my view, the two converge. The mysteries of existence reveal patterning. However, we must always act toward the real, and any religion that diverges from that is control not deliverance.

          1. Demon of Life says:

            Full-on realism is counterintuitive to any being that isn’t God and, so, is probably also counterproductive. It seems we need complementary human-centric views that still the soul, because we don’t belong among the stars.

            1. I disagree entirely. Realism is the realm of all healthy animals. One does not need to be perfect, only befitting the position one occupies in the hierarchy of nature.

      2. But can sodomy be anal only?

        1. If done properly…

      3. Anarcum says:

        Existence is paradox and I think there’s a sweet spot where you’re not one kind of asshole (full of shit) or some other kind

        Seems to me that most people have a hard time staying in that spot if they ever find it at all

        Also I realized long ago that I am an idea, and that idea cannot exist without words, and words constitute much of human thought, and I’m not real convinced that thought, or that variety of thought at least, approximates life, and yet I keep thinking, which is pretty weird

        1. I do not agree that existence is paradox. It makes pure sense: if there is to be logic, there is to be existence. Atem. Om. Aum.

          1. Sick boy says:

            Everything is nothing, it’s all in your head but it isn’t, hard to describe, more something that needs to be experienced, and words become inadequate if not absurd

  3. Massage... From Beyond says:

    Jeff Hanneman says:

    “That Brett guy is an autistic homo and his site is pretty alright I guess.”

    1. “Autistic homo”… I like the sound of that.

      1. …there can be only one!

  4. Wolfcastle says:

    Arghoslent has a new album out.

    1. Do they actually finish songs on this one?

      1. Shellshocked says:

        It’s amazingly innocuous music even for trad heavy metal. A beginner would do better listening to old Newcastle heavies like Raven and Satan instead.

        1. Sounds… bouncy.

  5. Stephen Cefala says:

    Dear international death metal community. I have had my house burned down and three cars stolen since I moved to Fresno 3 years ago. I have suffered numerous physical attacks by the local gangs. Am harassed consider antly on a daily basis. Lately the harassment is incessant regarding that I smoke cigars. Everywhere I go. I am Lutheran. Tom Stays is christian too. My name is Steve Cefala of Dawning, Rotten Copper, and No God Only Pain. You may not be a fan of my music but please join me in can ndemning harassment of a UC Davis educated international death metal musician. My address is 8680 N Glenn Ave. Fresno CA in case you want to check out this harassment first hand. I live on the left side of the complex.

    1. Write more metal (IMHO).

  6. stephencefala@yahoo.com says:

    Sorry for the typos. Crappy phone.

  7. yes says:

    This and South of Heaven. Best metal of all time. Culmination of aggression and the dark melody. I’d say this with the knowledge that most will tell me no. FOAD.

    1. South of Heaven (Htuos fo Nevaeh) is my personal favorite of the Slayer albums, but Hell Awaits (Lleh Stiawa) is up there.

      1. stephencefala@yahoo.com says:

        Yes. I will make a new Dawning album within two years. But for the meanwhile Desecracy and the CroMags have put out some impressive releases and there is so much good new death metal to listen to already that a new Dawning album seems unnecessary this year.

      2. Yes says:

        Honestly you could say the first five are fantastic but like you South of Heaven is my favorite. The song writing, production and the lyrics(vocal delivery). It’s about perfect.

        1. Any of those first five — Show No Mercy, Hell Awaits, Haunting the Chapel (should be paired with Live Undead not Show No Mercy if they ever do a rerelease), Reign in Blood, and South of Heaven — stands head and shoulders above all but the top percent of a percent of music. In that elite company alone it has found its equals, rubbing shoulders with Beethoven and Kraftwerk.

          1. Moe's art says:


            When you bait a hoe
            With your swarthy birth


            But the hoe says no
            ‘Cause you lack the girth


            1. Erection-Frottage -Sodomy says:

              I’d rub dicks with Mozart.

              1. Guys… defending homosexuality and Ukraine was last month. This month we are doing Israeli carpet bombing and anti-fatphobia. Why do you hate fat obese oozing people, bigot? The other day a transwoman ate four whole pizzas while doing a naked pirouette in the town square. Now that is what I call stunning and brave. Now that is what I call… progress.

                1. Current events are GAY says:

                  Semites killing each other is soooooo 7th century BC. A fat blubbery tranny would be delicious however, just gotta watch that cholesterol.

                  1. People really give the Semites too much attention. Most of humanity is busy killing each other in intractable persistent conflicts. We just hear about very little of it because most people in the West absolutely do not care about what happens in Asia, Africa, Central America, South America, or Eastern Europe. What is going on in Israel is only going to stop when all the Palestinians get relocated to their lands of ethnic origin (LOEO) like Jordan, Egypt, and Syria. I favor ending the diaspora and relocating all the world’s Jews and only Jews to Israel. It is a thriving society that is overcoming problems that thwarted Jewish thriving even before the Romans arrived, and once this issue is settled, Arab countries can give up on jihad and go to work fixing their own fractured, corrupt, and inbred societies.

                    1. Indiscriminate aloofness says:

                      That’s a lot of wishful thinking, must be nice.

                    2. You either aim for what works or accept constant bleeding out from illogicality.

            2. It’s kind of funny how Beethoven was the peak of music. He brought it all together, based on the work of giants, and then it faded away. There were a handful of great late Romantics, a few good modernists, and now… le deluge. Glad to see Taylor Swift is selling billions of tickets for her robotic songs and Hollywood keeps churning out hip-hop with the imaginative power of a tomato.

              1. curio says:

                Beethoven and the decline afterwards is more proof of Plato’s cycles.

                1. Heartily agreed. He realized he was the peak and tried to capture all of the beauty and power, knowing that after him it was decline.

              2. Gnarly says:

                Never thought you’d be into any modernists. Noice.

                1. I enjoy some of the modernists or modernist-adjacent composers: Respighi, Saint-Saens, Bruckner, Sibelius, and Wagner. It would be unrealistic and dishonest to deny the power of this music. I think I never really appreciated Celtic Frost until I had heard Bruckner, although I have long appreciated Hellhammer.

                  1. curio says:

                    Do you have any Sibelius recommendations other than En Saga?

                    1. I would drop everything to get the BPO version of his second and fifth symphonies with Karajan conducting. If not, anything of his symphonies from Salonen.

                  2. Gnarly says:

                    Ah, modern in the chronological sense.

                    1. Modernist in the musicological sense. Beethoven was on the edge of the Romantics and what came after; by the time you get to Bruckner you have a full-on different style.

  8. Cat friend says:

    Brett, what is your stance on cats? Pentti Linkola terms them an inasive species since they kill off domestic wildlife. I get what he means, but then again, humans have behaved like an invasive species ever since the dawn of civilization, and cats made it possible by eliminating rodents.

    Plus, anyone who doesn’t instinctively like those little rascals is just a weirdo if you ask me.

    1. Toxoplasmotic Syphilitic says:


    2. Gorepot says:

      Subs love cats.Doms like dogs.

      1. Dorkbot says:

        Dogs will piss themselves if you’re angry enough at them while cats own you

        1. I find being angry at critters to be counterproductive. Firm, emotionless reinforcement — both positive and negative, through tone of spoken language and gestures — works a lot better than screaming, beating them, or making them watch Chronicles of Riddick.

      2. Subs love whatever their dom tells them to like. Slaves and masters theory again: the sub is lost without the dom, but the dom is nothing without the sub(s). Personally I think the ideal pet for a sub would be a candiru.

    3. Linda says:

      Great question that I would love Brett to answer. I love cats, but understand how invasive they can be. I believe cats, whether domesticated or wild kill 1 billion birds annually. That’s not a good thing in my eyes.

      1. We have to be careful with numbers from the environmental movement that has been politically co-opted. During my time there, it was seen as a badge of honor to inflate numbers in the hope of “waking up the sheeple” or some equivalent language. However, it is true that letting cats loose onto the world is not a good thing. Of course, I would also like to see Half Earth so that humanity gets reined in before we destroy absolutely everything green and good.

    4. I pretty much like all creatures, but if they are to be domesticated, there is a responsible way to do it. Keep your cats inside. I see the slaughter daily of poor moggies bashed flat on the road by fat equals in SUVs barreling down the yellow line on their way to Walmart or Taco Bell. If you let your cat out, it is gonna do what felines do, which is hunt, and then you are going to lose birds, toads, lizards, and snakes in addition to the vermin that we do not care if they eat. Even more, the little dear is going to sneak back in with something dead and drop it saliva-coated on your pillow. So I say again: keep your cats inside!

      1. Sodomize, Crucify, Profit! says:

        I was honored once with the back half of a female squirrel on my pillow. Lil squirrel holes were still intact!

      2. Why else have a cat, but to let it MURDERMURDERMURDER

        1. Scatastrophy says:

          OH NO!?

        2. The rush of death
          Killing is just the motivation
          Your dream of wealth
          is to murder murder murder
          Murder murder murder
          Please excuse my retribution
          Murder murder murder

    5. Brain disease says:

      Spoken like a true catlady.

  9. speed metal is better than everything except trad. says:

    People love this album because it did everything Metallica (even at that time) didn’t do. Fast the whole time, no singing, No slow songs, no clean guitars, no ballads, not even midpaced songs. It was very much an alternative to Metallica (much to Lars’ annoyance).

    Then they kind of went back on that with South Of Heaven and Seasons, adding all of those elements. I like those albums, but being everything Metallica wasn’t was the reason the funderground loved this album.

    1. Cynical says:

      “not even midpaced songs”

      Not true, Postmortem.

  10. Flying Kites says:

    Roman Vestal Virgins had sex with men, and probably women, who would partake of their mysteries. The Christians (Roman?) told women not have sex to be virgins. This affected men in a terrible way, and they may have begun to think of virginity as no-sex. Nowadays, nen proclaim virginity of their asses. Originally, virginity was for a woman to be without children. Men never made it into the equation except that which could preserve or end it, regardless of the act of sex. Have we moderns come full circle?

  11. Mustaine is no Hanneman says:

    I’m listening to Lucretia by Megadeth and – dare I say – it actually sounds like something Guns’n’Roses could’ve written. The verses are especially egregious – I can picture Axl dancing around on stage singing along in his headband.

    1. I’m watching Get Thrashed now in little bits (not much time) and have to say that I never could get into Megadeth past the teen years. Rust in Piece is great for what it is, but there was a little bit too much jazzy heavy metal in the rest, and it did not stay with me. Even Testament lasted longer, and I can still listen to Nuclear Assault and Prong, sometimes the peak of Exodus (Impact is Imminent), although I have no real inclination to listen to Anthrax despite appreciating Persistence of Time. Hell, I can even throw on some overkill. Stuff that bugged me back in the day like Forbidden, Metal Church, etc. I can appreciate but is still too stuck in the Led Zeppelin hybrid of Black Sabbath that became “heavy metal” in the late 1970s. The documentary itself has issues. It writes hardcore punk out of the equation for the most part, ignores the actual thrash movement entirely, and focuses too much on scene stuff and people saying the same thing five times in a row. Nostalgia is a brain rapist.

      1. Cynical says:

        “Impact is Imminent” over “Bonded by Blood”?

        1. I re-listened last night, and in retrospect, I just fuckin’ hate speed metal at this point. Too much heavy metal, too similar in the genre. I can still enjoy 1980s Prong, Nuclear Assault, and Toastymint, maybe the first couple Metallica albums, but really at this point the whole speed metal genre feels like diapers and lollipops to me. Thrash was better — DRI, COC, MDC, Cryptic Slaughter, Dead Horse, and FIFH are quite listenable — and some of the old HxC bands still appeal. I never really liked rock music, and most heavy metal, glam, NWOBHM, and speed metal seem to be too much in that world for me to like it. Of course, it is worth stating that hardcore inspired me before metal, back when I was still listening to heavy rock like AC/DC and thinking it offset the Muzak that at that time they still played in elevators.

  12. Gnarly says:

    Modernist in the musicological sense. Beethoven was on the edge of the Romantics and what came after; by the time you get to Bruckner you have a full-on different style.

    Different, yes, but I think few would classify those composers as modernists if they had to separate them. And compared to their contemporaries they were conservative or downright reactionary (with the exception of Wagner).

    1. Dunno what you have been reading, but anything past romanticism is modernism, which is different from “contemporary” and “postmodern.”

      1. Gnarly says:


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