By Brian Chillemi
Dave Lombardo is back behind Slayer's massive drum kit putting their original line-up in place. With this new beginning based on old inspiration Slayer has decided to revisit their classic 1986 release, "Reign in Blood". Without a new album to promote, Slayer has decided to play "Reign in Blood" from beginning to end every show on their new tour. However, the album is only 29 minutes long, leaving much room in their set for many other brutal classics to be heard from various points in their 20-year career. A DVD has also been released to promote the tour, "Still Reigning", which came into stores Nov. 2nd. This is their second live DVD release since last year's "War at the Warsaw". Perhaps metal's longest running unforgiving band is looking to finally cash in.
"Still Reigning" features the entire "Reign in Blood" album live at Augusta Civic Center, Maine on July 11th, 2004. The DVD also has bonus material in the form of 6 songs including "War Ensemble" and "South of Heaven", from the same show. The big shtick for this time around is the blood that rains from the ceiling above the stage onto the band during "Reign in Blood". A special stage had to be built in order to absorb the blood and have it recirculate back down upon the band. This allows for easier clean up as well as lowering the chance of injury while on a slippery stage.
Slayer is as tight, as unrelentless and as overwhelming as they have ever been. Giving a flawless performance from beginning to end there is not much more you can ask for. Now that's my opinion on the music. The DVD, however, was not all that impressive. With endless cutaways, close-ups and over-head shots one finds them self having trouble concentrating, let alone appreciating what is going on. I don't think the camera was left on band member for more then 8 seconds because it was too busy flying around above stage and cutting between slow-motion shots of the crowd. For a band that is known for being one of metal's darkest founders the production on the DVD is slick, polished and out right commercial.
However, one relinquishing factor this DVD has to offer is a special feature entitled, "Slayer In Their Own Words". This pseudo documentary features interviews with band members and footage from backstage during the tour. Each member speaks of their early punk influences, how they met and the song writing process, giving insight into who they are as people. Unfortunately, no early footage of Slayer is shown, performance or otherwise. Only a few still photographs of each member in their early get-ups. Overall, if you're a Slayer fan you will appreciate the music and the performance, but I would suggest going to the shows and continue listening to albums and not to waste your time with this DVD.
Slayer doesn't have any new material and is currently headlining the Jagermeister Music Tour with Killswitch Engage and Mastodon. For more information on the DVD visit www.americanrecordings.com/slayer .