2. It’s Not Even Slayer’s Best Album!
How can Reign In Blood be ‘The Greatest Thrash Album Of All Time’ when it’s not even the greatest Slayer album? That title, if we are being honest with ourselves, should go to Seasons In The Abyss.
Seasons has better songwriting, benefits from a better sound, it’s just better all round! By 1990, the band had realised that Thrash is not always all about incomprehensible speed and brought in haunting melody, as evidenced on the quite frankly outstanding “Dead Skin Mask”. The centrepiece of the album, “Dead Skin Mask” – and Seasons In The Abyss as a whole – benefitted greatly from an increase in melody and controlled tempo changes, their maturity adding multiple layers to their sound. Still need some blistering speed and full tilt Thrash? Just try “War Ensemble” or “Born Of Fire” on for size!
All told, by 1990 Slayer were a far superior band to the one that recorded Reign In Blood. The songs are simply better both lyrically and musically and the performances tower over what came before. Both Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman had fully developed into a devastating team with arrangements that allowed the songs room to breath, in turn making their albums sound more sinister and brutal.