Archives For slayer

I first started working on this series about four years ago. It has been through many revisions, rewrites, and re-visitations since then.

But here’s the thing: metal history doesn’t stop!

So let us consider this coverage of more “recent” events (since 2010 or so) as a bonus.

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“If you released Reign In Blood today, no one would give a shit.” – Kerry King

I remember the first time I heard the tenth and final track on this album, on the Grand Theft Auto Vice City soundtrack. Just the title alone was so violent and intense that I wondered if I really “should” be listening to this: “Raining Blood.”

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After the 1990s, which saw the rise of experimentation away from thrash metal with varying degrees of success, the genre was due for another sea change. New sounds were cropping up everywhere in the music world (not all of them good by any means), and in the midst of it all the old guards felt compelled to rediscover their original brazen sound. Just as all good things must come to an end, so must all bad things as well.

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It’s incredible how mass tastes in music can change so quickly. 1991 was a year of absolute sea change in this regard, and metal wasn’t immune. Some would argue that the genre came of age in the 1990s, giving rise to a beautiful time of rich experimentation. 80s synths and big hair were out; grunge and plaid were in. For metal, thrash, British, and other “classic” metal were out (temporarily), and more extreme/advanced subgenres like death metal, black metal, and prog metal were in.

So, what exactly happened to thrash?

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With Jeff’s back to the camera, he held out his arms in a Christ-like pose, as though trying to embrace this entire crowd into his heart. He was a silhouette in the fading sun that had taken on a new meaning. Surreal.

It couldn’t have been planned…but it does make you want to pause the screen, and wonder.

Dead at 49. RIP.

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“The Big Four” is a name given to a group of four of the most popular and influential thrash metal groups, all of whom started in the United States in the 1980s: Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer. Between them, they have sold about 200 million albums worldwide, a true juggernaut. For many mainstream listeners, thrash metal performed by one of these groups is likely their first exposure to heavy metal of any kind. So many are their collective sales and accolades that some fans complain that they took attention away from other excellent, but lesser-known thrash bands (which is why I’m writing a separate section for those bands beyond the Big Four).

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