Rick Rubin Says His ‘Lack of Experience’ Helped Slayer’s ‘Reign in Blood’

Tom Araya Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images / Rick Rubin Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Spotify
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Slayer‘s 1986 studio album Reign in Blood is, without a doubt, one of the most iconic albums in all of metal history. While in the studio, the band brought on Rick Rubin to help produce the record.

During a recent conversation with Channel 4 News, Rubin talked about working on the album with Slayer. Among the comments he shares while reflecting on that time, Rubin says his “lack of experience” ended up playing a role in shaping the Slayer album into the incredible work it is.

Speaking about his work with Slayer and helping to craft that record, Rubin shares the following (all quotes transcribed by Blabbermouth):

“When you treat everything the same, it waters down what it is.

“Speed metal was a new thing. The people who were recording speed metal up until ‘Reign In Blood’ recorded speed metal more like other hard rock or heavy metal. And it’s different. It’s all different. Everything we make is different.”

Rubin goes on to add, “If you look at it in hip-hop, if you make it like it’s an R&B record, it’s an R&B record with somebody rapping. If you make it like going to the hip-hop club, It’s hip-hop. With speed metal, if you treat it like Black Sabbath, it won’t do what Slayer does. In that case, Slayer is… They play very fast — super fast.

“And the nature of things that are fast is they come very close together, like the kick drums are, like, super fast. When you listen to Led Zeppelin records, the kick drum goes [at a much slower pace]. So if you have someone playing [fast], and you treat it like Led Zeppelin, it’s just gonna be a blur and noise; you won’t hear any of it. And that’s what was happening — up until ‘Reign In Blood’.

“And this is really… In each case, it comes from my lack of experience, lack of the ‘right way’ to do it. The ‘right way’ to record rock drums is the way Led Zeppelin did it. But in my mind, not if you’re Slayer.

“So in some ways, because I wasn’t experienced enough to know ‘this is how you do it’, I’m listening to it for what it is, and for what it is, is this very precise, tight thing. And you wanna hear the precise tightness of it.

“And up until that point, no one had recorded it that way, because that’s just not the way you record things.”

For you Slayer fans out there, where does Reign in Blood rank for you among the band’s discography? Is it your personal favorite Slayer album?

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