Erik Hinds, an Athens, Georgia-based composer and performer, has just released his solo H'arpeggione version of SLAYER's classic "Reign In Blood" album on Solponticello Records. Audio samples from the CD can be heard at CDBaby.com.
Hinds plays quartertone electric guitar and the H'arpeggione, an upright acoustic instrument with 12 sympathetic strings. Erik focuses on the raw sound of his strings in all their microtonal glory; his style blends primitive folk, heavy metal, and sacred musics from around the world into a distinct voice.
Regarding his decision to record the album, Hinds wrote, "This project began a while back as a wink-wink challenge by a good friend: 'There's an upcoming new music 'folk' series in Athens and you should do something cool, like maybe cover SLAYER.' 'Yeah,' I said, 'I just might.' But yes, I knew immediately, I will. It's no exaggeration to say SLAYER helped sustain me through middle and high school. I nearly wore out the grooves of my 'Hell Awaits' LP, stared at 'Live Undead' until the corpses moved, and freaked the fuck out upon hearing 'Reign In Blood', one of the strongest artistic statements ever. It became a perpetual soundtrack to late night underage beer runs and failed attempts at suburban witchcraft. Those were the days. Twenty years ahead, the album has lost none of its integrity — still a powerful indictment of the evil that men do in a soundscape bordering on complete and transcendent anarchy. Translating this to a solo acoustic instrument, the H'arpeggione, without the benefit of lyrics, meant the music would have to take on its own character. I replayed the album again and again in my mind for clues on how to approach the material, relishing the compositional underpinning and the incredibly realized sense of pacing.
"What resulted draws from my background as a free improviser, and an attempt to highlight the contours of the original without imposing anything not suggested by SLAYER themselves. I take liberty with tempo, dynamics, color, key, and other attributes only to honor the initial spark that gave life to their brilliant collection of controlled entropy. Besides, of course, Araya, Hanneman, King, and Lombardo, I am indebted to the late Peter Kowald, who showed me what is possible through focus, and to Evan Parker for the inspiration throughout 'Altar of Sacrifice'."