This 28-minute slab of noise ranks among the most aggressive, brutal, and bone-crushingly intense major label releases ever. After opening with the highly controversial blur-of-volume "Angel of Death," which tells of the grisly exploits of sadistic Nazi doctor Joseph Mengele, the album confronts Satanic rituals ("Altar of Sacrifice"), serial killing "Piece by Piece," and the apocalypse ("Raining Blood"), before ending abruptly with the sounds of falling rain (assumedly blood). But the band doesn't thrive on shock value alone. Reign in Blood
is packed with stop-on-a-dime tempo shifts, complex guitar riffs and daunting rhythms that verify that Slayer are skilled musicians as well as twisted human beings. --Jon Wiederhorn
After being offered a recording deal by Rick Rubin's Def Jam Recordings, Slayer signed and quickly began working on its third album with Rubin as co-producer. The result, 1986's Reign in Blood, has been called a "thrash metal masterpiece" and even credited with almost single-handedly inspiring the entire death metal genre, at least in North America.