Continuum Books' "33 1/3: Reign in Blood", the first English-language book about SLAYER, is now on sale. The book made its world debut at Square Records in Akron, Ohio Saturday, May 31. The first three copies were signed by author D.X. Ferris, on sale for a special price of $6.66, and numbered 6, 66, and 666.
"33 1/3: Reign in Blood" explores the creation of the most universally respected metal album, its long road to stores, its ongoing influence, and the history of the greatest thrash band.
Ferris conducted dozens of interviews specifically for the book, talking to all members of SLAYER, producer Rick Rubin, engineer Andy Wallace, cover artist Larry Carroll, and Def Jam insiders from Russell Simmons to MC Serch. From Tori Amos to PANTERA's Phil Anselmo, a host of fans and artists discuss the record's ongoing impact and SLAYER's status in the small fraternity of rock's greatest groups.
SLAYER's controversial "Reign in Blood" set the gold standard for extreme heavy metal. The Los Angeles metal kings recorded their major-label debut with producer Rick Rubin (a future Grammy winner them known strictly for creating hip-hop) and engineer Andy Wallace (who would later produce JEFF BUCKLEY and mix NIRVANA).
Issued on America's premier rap label (Def Jam) at the pinnacle of the thrash movement, the album is a seamless 29-minute procession of 10 blindingly fast songs, delivered in furiously precise musical bursts, with apocalyptic lyrics so striking that Tori Amos was moved to record a cover. The improbable team behind the record permanently fused classic rock's technical proficiency, hardcore punk's speed, and metal's brute power.
"The book's about three things," says Ferris. "One, how 'Reign in Blood' came be, from Def Jam recruiting SLAYER to its recording.
"Two, it explores the songs, how they influenced extreme music, and what they mean from their creators to the band's diverse fans.
"Three, the book presents a short history of the group before and after the album, with profiles of all the record's major contributors the members of the band, Rick Rubin, Andy Wallace, and Larry Carroll."
Promises Ferris, "Even SLAYER's most hardcore fans should learn something new, from Kerry King's sorta-straight-edge past to Hanneman's original idea for 'Raining Blood'. And it's the first real profile of Wallace, who's one of the biggest names in mixing. It's a great story, and it'll get a hook in you if you like music, even if you've never lost a shoe in a mosh pit. Plus, it's probably the only time you'll find Matt Pike, Tori Amos, and Roger Miret at the same party.
"33 1/3: Reign in Blood" features previously unreleased pictures by Glen E. Friedman, the photographer who shot the "South of Heaven" group photo, and who's also known for recognizable images of the BEASTIE BOYS, PUBLIC ENEMY, FUGAZI, and the DOGTOWN/Z-BOYS skaters. It also includes photos by Andy Wallace and Kevin Estrada.
"The book is about 'Reign in Blood' and then some," says Ferris. "It's about metal and thrash and what it means to have those as an important part of your life. And it presents 'Reign' in the context of rock history. How does a band like SLAYER wind up on Def Jam and find fans all over the spectrum, from AGNOSTIC FRONT to SUM 41 to a rapper like ILL BILL? Like SABBATH before them, SLAYER transcends metal. The book argues for SLAYER as not just one of the best metal bands, but the greatest rock bands, period. Who's been that good for that long?"
To trace "Reign in Blood"'s ongoing impact in extreme music and beyond, the author interviewed dozens of artists and musicians, including:
Tori Amos (who covered Raining Blood)
Philip Anselmo (PANTERA)
Rob Arnold (CHIMAIRA)
Matt Bachand (SHADOWS FALL)
Kurt Ballou (CONVERGE)
Charlie Benante (ANTHRAX, S.O.D.)
Karl Buechner (EARTH CRISIS, FREYA, PATH OF RESISTANCE)
Corey Bing (FISTULA, KING TRAVOLTA)
Anders Bjrler (AT THE GATES, THE HAUNTED)
John Comprix (BEYOND FEAR, RINGWORM)
Brann Dailor (MASTODON)
Glenn Danzig (MISFITS, SAMHAIN, DANZIG)
Katon W. De Pena (HIRAX)
Dave Ellefson (ex-MEGADETH)
Jack Endino (producer of NIRVANA, HIGH OF FIRE, SOUNDGARDEN)
Rick Ernst (director of the documentary "Get Thrashed")
Tony Foresta (MUNICIPAL WASTE)
Angela Gossow (ARCH ENEMY)
Page Hamilton (HELMET)
Dwid Hellion (INTEGRITY)
Larry Herweg (PELICAN)
Killick Erik Hinds (a composer who recorded an instrumental version of the entire "Reign" LP, solo, on a H'arpeggione)
Gene Hoglan (DARK ANGEL, STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, PITCH BLACK FORECAST)
Gary Holt (EXODUS)
Eugene Htz (GOGOL BORDELLO)
Ill Bill (rapper-producer who wrote the song "The Unauthorized Biography of Slayer" in honor of his favorite band)
Bill Kelliher (MASTODON)
Dan Lilker (NUCLEAR ASSAULT, BRUTAL TRUTH, S.O.D.)
Roger Miret (AGNOSTIC FRONT)
Buzz Osborne (MELVINS, FANTOMAS)
Tim "Ripper" Owens (BEYOND FEAR, ex-JUDAS PRIEST)
Trevor Perez (OBITUARY)
Bill Peters (host of WJCU's "Metal on Metal" since 1982)
Dave Peters (THROWDOWN)
Lars Gran Petrov (ENTOMBED)
Trevor Phipps (UNEARTH)
Matt Pike (HIGH ON FIRE, SLEEP)
Henry Rollins (ROLLINS BAND, BLACK FLAG)
Paul Romano (visual artist best known for his MASTODON album covers)
Jim Root (SLIPKNOT)
Rat Skates (ex-OVERKILL, director of "Born in the Basement")
Devin Townsend (DEVIN TOWNSEND BAND, STRAPPING YOUNG LAD)
Kat Von D (tattoo artist, star of "L.A. Ink")
Andy Williams (EVERY TIME I DIE)
Deryck Whibley (SUM 41; SLAYER's Kerry King contributed a solo to SUM's "What We're All About")
Sean Yseult (WHITE ZOMBIE, ROCK CITY MORGUE)
In addition to conducting original interviews and reading over 25 years of SLAYER-related articles, Ferris tapped the band's fans to help shape the book. Through the book's website, fans sent questions to the author, telling him what they wanted to know about the record. The result, like the band itself, is a gripping story that will hold your attention whether or not you've ever spent an afternoon arguing about the relative merits of different MEGADETH lineups.
D.X. Ferris is an entertainment reporter for Cleveland Scene and Alternative Press. His writing has appeared in Decibel, OC Weekly, Ohio Magazine, and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, among other publications. As a teenager, he was tossed out of a SLAYER show when a misdirected crowd-surf landed him onstage.
The "33 1/3" series is an ongoing collection of books about and inspired by classic albums, from the BEACH BOYS to the BEASTIE BOYS.
For more details, visit www.myspace.com/rib333.