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Still Reigning DVD

Review by Mike Korn

You can't escape a classic. That's what Slayer has learned over the last 15 years or so. Pink Floyd can't escape "Dark Side of the Moon", Motorhead can't escape "Ace of Spades" and Ozzy can't escape the stuff he did with Rhodes. So it is with Slayer and "Reign In Blood". As some 80's bands and their works gradually become forgotten, the legacy of "RIB" as the ULTIMATE thrash metal album only seems to increase as the years roll by. I'm sure that for a while Slayer tried to move ahead and forge a new classic. But in 2003, they pretty much threw in the towel and played "Reign In Blood" in its entirety during their Jagermeister Tour. Instead of escaping the legacy, they embraced it. And the result is this DVD, capturing their 2003 live recreation of the classic album, complete with the spectacular "rain of gore" effect during "Raining Blood".

This DVD throws a lot of the annoyingly spastic camera tricks we've come to expect from Headbanger's Ball/Uranium type videos. Jerky, quick cut camera angles, switches between black and white and color, speed ups and slow kind of hurts the head after a while. But again, the purity of the material conquers all. Listening and seeing "Reign In Blood" performed in sequence, in a live setting before rabid fans, reminds one how strong and ground-breaking the material is and how little it has dated over the years. Seldom heard stuff like "Necrophobic", "Criminally Insane" and "Epidemic" sounds as ruthlessly fresh as ever when compared to the formulaic patterns of most extreme metal today. It helps that the band itself is doing more than going through the motions...they seem to be boosted and energized by the relentless thrash. And it has to be said that the return of skinbeater Dave Lombardo proves a welcome one...hard to imagine anybody but Lombardo mastering these high speed drum rolls.

The live "Reign In Blood" set is just as brief and to the point as the album that is its inspiration, but the DVD is fleshed out with a bunch of non-RIB tracks like "War Ensemble", "Mandatory Suicide" and other Slayer favorites, each delivered with strong impact. There's also a mini-documentary where the members all share the Slayer experience with fans. This portion of the DVD ranges from mildly interesting to pretty pedestrian, but it's a rare chance to see all four of the veterans speaking out.

Needless to say, this belongs in every Slayer fan's collection. Get ready for the crimson rain!

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2004 Year Book Volume 2 at
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