Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda recently sat down with Noisey to listen to Slayer’s 1986 classic album “Reign in Blood” in full for the first time ever.
Upon listening to the opening track, “Angel of Death,” the musician said:
“Have you ever seen an angry Slayer fan? They’re crazy.”
Yeah, you’re very brave for putting yourself out there like this.
“So this is a short record [under 29 minutes]. Are we going to gain some momentum and then lose that momentum?”
Not at all. This is a thrash record so it’s going to keep it going for the entire runtime.
“I will admit that I’ve probably heard most of the record at some point in my life, but it’s been so long. I don’t even remember and I don’t know anything about it except for the stuff I looked up before this interview.”
I brought the vinyl in case you like it.
“Oh wow, the lyrics are in here too. Reading this first one, man, what a way to start an album.”
The lyrics are bonkers. I have a feeling we’ll definitely be talking about them as this goes on.
“I like that I thought that opening scream was a guitar.”
The first time I heard it I thought it was a trumpet. It’s such a bonkers way to kick things off.
“Reading the lyrics here, I got to bring something up. I read a couple things coming into this. I didn’t research it or whatever but I did peek at a couple of things just to know what we’re dealing with.
“And the thing that I read, which may or may not be true overall, but I saw a piece where they were talking about the Nazi content in the first song and it felt like they were really backing off from saying it’s about Nazism.”
I didn’t read that one but it’s 100% about Josef Mengele and the Holocaust.
“It was almost like a cop-out. They were like, ‘Well, it’s not glorifying Nazism.’ But I’m reading the lyrics and my first impression is like, ‘Yes, it 100% is.’ I’m not a fan of that at all.”
Those accusations of [Nazi glorification] followed them throughout their whole career. They’ve consistently denied that they glorified neo-Nazis but in my opinion the fascist imagery definitely sucks. It shocked their then-distributor Columbia who refused to put out the record until Geffen stepped in to release. Even some of my favorite artists like David Bowie flirted with Nazi imagery and it doesn’t excuse it.
“Here’s the thing though. I love how the music came in and I love the way the record starts.”
I know you recognize this part right here.
“Public Enemy! Right away when you said that my mind was already there. Is that ‘She Watch Channel Zero’?”
“I knew it was something off ‘It Takes a Nation.’ This solo is gnarly.”
While listening to the album’s fourth track, “Altar of Sacrifice,” Mike said about the band’s lyrics:
“There’s no wink! There’s nothing to let me know that they’re having fun with these lyrics. I know there’s a humor or lightness or satire to the genre.
“I came into this feeling like there should be a little bit of a wink like Gwar or something. When I listen to this or music like this, I listen to it through this lens of like, ‘Oh, this is kind of funny.’
“But then I remember that there are actual horrible people who listen to this and yelling, ‘Fuck yeah, dude. Murder!’ Like, what the fuck?”
After listening to the whole record, Shinoda concluded:
“I’m convinced. I think I came around. In the beginning, I liked it, but I think the starting the record with Auschwitz really sent me on the wrong path.
“Look at all the absurd shit that artists are doing to like get people’s attention. Now it’d be too obvious. At the time, that was scary. People must’ve thought they were fucking nuts.
“What strikes me most about this is the consistency of the entire album. It’s ballsy to make a record this short. It’s ballsy to make a record that starts at an 11 and never lets up.
“From a production standpoint, in my head, you have to have a break from the speed and ferocity but they didn’t. They kept it insane the entire way.”