Album: "STILL REIGNING (DVD)"
- SLAYER Live in 2004! Feat. the Historic Complete Performance of the Album "Reign In Blood" + 6 Other Classic Slayer Songs! Bonus Feature "Slayer In Their Own Words" [!]
Cat. No.: WIZ00003697
Genre: Thrash Metal/ Speed
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Still Reigning is the third Slayer DVD release in the last two years. The 2003 box set Soundtrack to the Apocalypse contained a DVD of performances, and of course the same year saw the release of War at the Warfield. This begs the question of whether or not the fans need another Slayer DVD in 2004. We do. As you probably know, the band has recently included the Reign in Blood album in its entirety as the second half of their set on their recent tours. Rather than including the entire show, Still Reigning focuses on the performance of the legendary album, and adds bonus tracks of six other tracks performed during the evening, as well as a documentary. Reign in Blood in its entirety - does their really need to be any other discussion?
Some fans have voiced disappointment over the band’s last couple albums, complaining that the band has lost a step. I for one don’t think they are guilty of anything but repetition, but apparently some disagree. None of that amounts to a thing. When you hear the band launch into the intro to “Angel of Death” it is physically impossible not to have a physical reaction that erupts from the very core of your metal soul. No matter how many times I’ve heard the song, its performance live never fails to send me straight back to my bedroom circa 1986, as if I’m experiencing the energy for the first time. For a nearly twenty year history with a song, I can think of no higher praise. While one of the highlights of the show is the performance of rare live tracks from the album (“Epidemic”, “Piece By Piece”, etc.) these songs still cannot surpass incredible setlist regulars like “Postmortem”, “Angel of Death” and “Raining Blood.” The bonus material includes six songs performed earlier in the set, including the rare “Spill the Blood” and “Necrophiliac.” Songs performed that night that were not included on the DVD are “Disciple”, “Fight Til Death”, “Payback”, “Hell Awaits”, and “Dead Skin Mask.”
The band has aged (so have I - it’s been 18 years!), and Tom Araya can’t match his studio scream of 1986 in a 2004 live setting, but one can have very few complaints on the quality of the band’s performance. Slayer has always delivered as a live band and the guys clearly still love the material and performing it live. The finale includes a poorly kept surprise, as during “Raining Blood” the band is drenched with theatrical blood that is “rained” down from above. This seems a little hokey to me, but it’s something the band seems to find energizing. Araya in particular goes absolutely apeshit at this point in the show, and it seems obvious that the band is feeling the moment rather than just selling the performance.
Still Reigning was directed by Dean Karr and filmed on July 11 at the Civic Center in Augusta, Maine. There are multiple camera angles that switch rapidly and sometimes utilize black and white. The camera work is artistic and professional, but can be a bit too much at times. I found myself being far too aware of cinematography at the expense of the energy from the live experience. I would not have complained if the crew would have pointed one camera at the stage and another at drummer Dave Lombardo, and just left them still. The experience of the show is what is key here, and that suffers just a bit from photographic wankery. Camera angles aside, Still Reigning looks good and the sound is excellent.
The DVD also includes a seventeen minute documentary called Slayer in Their Own Words, that consists of the band members discussing the early development of the band. It’s not a complete history though, and after talking about the very early days, the focus shifts to the excitement of Dave Lombardo returning to the fold and the performance of Reign in Blood, including the raining blood effect. The feature supports the clear concept of this project - a celebration of the glory of this classic album and the reuniting of the original line up. Some will argue that the DVD should contain the entire concert in sequence, but I agree with the presentation of the performance of RIB as the star of the show.
It has been over three years since God Hates Us All was released (on 9/11/01 lest we forget). Hopefully the fans won’t have to wait much longer for new material with the original line up, as a new album should be released sometime next year. In the meantime, check out the DVD, (which you should be able to get for ten to fifteen bucks) and catch the band on tour with Mastodon and watch them perform RIB in the flesh.
01. Angel Of Death
02. Piece By Piece
04. Altar Of Sacrifice
05. Jesus Saves
06. Criminally Insane
10. Raining Blood
01. War Ensamble
02. Hallowed Point
04. Mandatory Suicide
05. Spill The Blood
06. South Of Heaven
+ SLAYER In Their Own Words ...