October 7, 2023 is the 37th anniversary of Reign in Blood, the seminal album that kicked off the metal underground. Spinoza Ray Prozak over at Death Metal Underground gave it the following commemoration:
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.
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.
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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