A masterpiece in the speed metal genre, by Slayer. Released in 1986, this masterpiece opens and closes with two longer, now-standard tracks, Angel of Death and Raining Blood. Sandwiched in between are eight short, very fast bursts of aggression that change tempo or feel without warning, keeping the listener off balance and producing a very wild, disjointed, barely controlled effect. The short songs prevent the extreme graphic violence and paranoia in the lyrics from descending into self-parody. The album proved hugely influential in the evolution of the death metal style. Along with Metallica's Master of Puppets, the pinnacle of thrash.

Sometimes - not always, but sometimes - I get in exactly the right mood to listen to Slayer. Disregarding all social conventions on morality, on the downright don't do this nature of murder, necrophilia, satanic sacrifice, etc. etc. - sometimes I just want to let loose, reach out and kill someone, violently.

The very image of raining blood is potent to me - I love rain in any case, the feel of the water falling on my face, the process of letting go of all meaningful social mores and just appreciating life. To couple that with the basic primeval violence that I think we all feel, of basic ambition and Machievallian greed, makes me want to scream with sheer animalistic joy.

Reign in Blood is all about death and its exploitation, about the afterlife and how it may not be as perfect as we think, a rebellion against society and religion. Most of the time, I will tolerate Reign in Blood, or appreciate it as a work of art. But occasionally, circumstances in everyday life will lead me to revel in it, as a hymn to bloodletting, to that fundamental instinct of this kind of music - that of the letting out of extreme violence through a distorted guitar and Tom Araya-style lyrics.

And let me tell you - I love it.

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