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(DVD, American)

This oneís no frills: a Portland (Maine) audience, the original Slayer line-up, and the definitive Slayer album, 1986ís Reign in Blood, performed in its entirety and caught on film earlier this year. As tour keepsakes go, youíd probably rather have a concert-quality video from the í80s, but this is the next-best thing: their scorched-earth í80s set design unearthed; drummer Dave Lombardo back behind the kit, returned from the land of high-art Matthew Barney session work; singer/bassist Tom Arraya beginning to resemble Satanís answer to Tiny Tim but remaining in near-perfect voice; and guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman, despite an attack of silly sunglasses, hitting every evil note cluster. Itís amazing they can still play this stuff at top speed (Metallica, by comparison, have lost more than a step) and perhaps even more amazing that no one has topped it ó with the possible exception of themselves for about half of South of Heaven (American, 1988), a few songs of which ("South of Heaven," "Mandatory Suicide") are included here as bonus tracks.

The goofy selling point is a sub-Gwar gimmick, the "Wall of Blood," which turns out to be a rack of perforated hoses suspended from the ceiling. Yes, it now rains blood during "Raining Blood," but as you might expect, thatís a little anticlimactic: in the dark, between jump cuts (note to editor: time to cut back on the caffeine), it might as well be a death-metal Flashdance. The extras are slim: the interview footage is nothing you havenít read a dozen times in Terrorizer, and thereís less behind-the-scenes Slayermania than on last yearís attempt at a career-spanning live DVD, War at the Warfield. Still, Reigning offers a few tit flashes, bloody noses, pimple-popping teenagers yelling "Slaayaaaaahhh!", and one token philosopher kid wondering aloud how many more gold albums the band need before VH1 gives them a Behind the Music. Until someone makes Slaytanic Wehrmacht Parking Lot, thisíll have to do.

(Slayer perform this Saturday, November 13, at the Palladium, 241 Main Street in Worcester; call 800-477-6849.)


Issue Date: November 12 - 18, 2004
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