DAVE LOMBARDO On SLAYER's 'Reign In Blood': 'I Look At That Album As A Masterpiece'

DAVE LOMBARDO On SLAYER's 'Reign In Blood': 'I Look At That Album As A Masterpiece'

Dave Lombardo says that he misses the "energy" and the drumming "style" of SLAYER.

The 56-year-old drummer discussed his former band while commemorating the 35th anniversary of arguably the greatest and most influential thrash album of all time, "Reign In Blood".

Reflecting on the classic effort, Lombardo told Metal Injection: "I look at that album as a masterpiece. And it's one of those albums that will stand the test of time. It's brilliant. The fire, the energy that that album has. I don't hear that in other records. I don't know if it's because I'm listening to a band that I was part of that I have this perspective that's objective. But you know, it's brilliant and I'm very appreciative … I think that album will forever be like the epitome of thrash music and part of a historic time in music history.

"You know, that energy, I miss that and I miss that style of playing," he continued.

"SLAYER is different. SLAYER is different from MR. BUNGLE and the other thrash bands I played with. SLAYER had a certain energy that's unlike anything else. And so that definitely is for me one of the greatest metal records ever made."

"Reign In Blood" was released on October 7, 1986 through Def Jam Recordings. The album was the band's first collaboration with record producer Rick Rubin, whose input helped the band's sound evolve. Kerrang! magazine described the record as "the heaviest album of all time," and a breakthrough in thrash metal and speed metal.

"Reign In Blood"'s release was delayed because of concerns regarding its graphic artwork and lyrical subject matter. The opening track, "Angel Of Death", which refers to Josef Mengele and describes acts such as human experimentation that Mengele committed at the Auschwitz concentration camp, provoked allegations of Nazism. However, the bandmembers stated numerous times they do not condone Nazism, and are merely interested in the subject.

On the topic the controversy surrounding "Reign In Blood"'s lyrical content, SLAYER guitarist Jeff Hanneman previously said, "'Angel Of Death' was a big problem. I remember getting a phone call after the album was done: Sony wasn't going to release it. I remember being at home, pissed, throwing things. What the fuck? I didn't think anything was wrong with 'Angel Of Death' or anything else we did, it's a documentary! There's no 'Heil Hitler' or 'white people rule,' it's a documentary; grow up, people. It took months before they picked it up again. Finally, we got signed by a distributor."

"Reign In Blood" was SLAYER's first album to enter The Billboard 200 chart (at No. 94). The LP was certified gold by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association Of America) on November 20, 1992 for sales in excess of 500,000 copies.

In a 2009 interview with Filter magazine, SLAYER frontman Tom Araya stated about "Reign In Blood", "On that first album [together], Rubin made sure that he recorded. He wanted to duplicate what he was hearing." Guitarist Kerry King added, "It was the first time you actually heard SLAYER in its pure ferocity, and it made a big difference. One funny thing about that album is if it came out today, no one would give a shit. They'd say, 'That's cool.' But at the time it came out it made such a difference. People still reflect on that as a poignant time, where shit changed."

Lombardo, who splits most of his time between crossover pioneers SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, horror-punk icons MISFITS, hardcore supergroup DEAD CROSS and the aforementioned MR. BUNGLE, was effectively fired from SLAYER after sitting out the group's Australian tour in February/March 2013 due to a contract dispute with the other bandmembers. He has since been replaced by Paul Bostaph, who was previously SLAYER's drummer from 1992 until 2001.

Shortly after his dismissal, Lombardo said that he discovered that 90 percent of SLAYER's tour income was being deducted as expenses, including fees to management, costing the band millions and leaving them with about 10 percent to split four ways. While he and Araya hired auditors to figure out what had happened, Lombardo said he was never allowed to see any of the information obtained.

A few years ago, King said that "when Dave was in [SLAYER] this last time, I figured I'd be on the stage with him until one of us fell off the stage, dead. Things change. He got some bad advice and listened to some bad advice, gave us an ultimatum ten days before we went to Australia [to do the Soundwave festival tour]. And I said, 'I can't have this over my head.' And I feel bad for Dave to this day; I really feel bad for him because he shot himself in the foot. Maybe he thought he had the upper hand, but you ain't gonna get me."

SLAYER played its last-ever show on November 30, 2019 at The Forum in Los Angeles.

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