PHILIP ANSELMO: SLAYER’s ‘Reign In Blood’ Killed Everything Else Even Considered ‘Heavy’

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the release of “Reign In Blood”, the third studio album and the major label debut by the American thrash metal kings SLAYER, Mark Eglinton of The Quietus spoke to Philip Anselmo (DOWN, PANTERA, ARSON ANTHEM, SUPERJOINT RITUAL) about the record’s tremendous impact and enduring influence. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

The Quietus: Do you remember when you first heard “Reign In Blood”? Set the scene and tell us what your first thoughts were…

Anselmo: I bought “Reign In Blood” on vinyl when it first came out. I really had no cash to do much of anything but getting that record was essential… Shit, I probably would have stolen it if it weren’t for a friend lending me the cash to buy it. Anyway, all I had to listen to it on was my buddy’s shitty turntable at the apartment I was living in and it skipped constantly — I was furious! But I eventually got the cassette and all was, well, crushing! There wasn’t a single show I’d go to where “Reign In Blood” wasn’t the talk of the night; it killed everything else even considered “heavy.”

The Quietus: Did you — consciously or otherwise — take any aspect of “Reign In Blood” forward to PANTERA material and if you did, which songs or feels are most heavily influenced?

Anselmo: Of course. But there was a bit of influential magic here. I was the SLAYER fan out of the PANTERA boys – they were into METALLICA, MOTÖRHEAD and DEF LEPPARD, etc., so I was a bit of an outcast. But there was no denying SLAYER‘s power and their popularity was growing, so it was tough for the fellas to ignore. SLAYER was playing on a Saturday night in Dallas on the “South Of Heaven” tour and they’d gotten into town the night before. My great friend and boxing coach, Mad Maxx Hammer at Z-Rock (who was a DJ at that time) suggested to the SLAYER guys that they should come to see us play on that Friday. Well, Tom [Araya], Kerry [King] and Jeff [Hanneman] came out, and to cut a very long story short, Kerry and I hit it off well. Kerry and Jeff even got up and jammed “Reign In Blood” with us that night. Several months later, Kerry called me and said that he wanted to come hang out (he was in between legs of touring) and jam with us. That jam session… teaching Dimebag SLAYER riffs and Dime teaching Kerry our stuff was stupendously influential. Look no further than the end of “Domination” to hear the SLAYER influence; it’s fucking obvious!

Read more from The Quietus.

Video footage of SLAYER‘s Kerry King performing the band’s song “South Of Heaven” with PANTERA in May 1989 can be seen below.