The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Taking Out The Thrash: Scott Ian Of Anthrax's Top Albums From 1986
JR Moores , March 8th, 2016 10:22

To mark 30 years since 1986, a pivotal moment for metal, Anthrax main man Scott Ian talks JR Moores through his 13 top albums from that year, moving from thrash classics through to landmark hip-hop and pop releases


Slayer – Reign In Blood
I could surprise everybody and say, "I put it on this list because I thought it was shit." Can you imagine? I'm the dissenting opinion, worldwide. "This wasn't the greatest thrash metal album ever made." I mean, come on, I loved Show No Mercy, Hell Awaits and Haunting The Chapel. I remember thinking, as a fan, "Okay, there's going to be a new Slayer record. How could they ever top Hell Awaits?" Granted, I did hate the production on Hell Awaits. I thought it sounded terrible but you'd go see them live and it would sound awesome. [Like Master Of Puppets], I got to hear Reign In Blood before it was out and it just fucking tore my head off. The whole thing's 29 minutes, so there's no reason to not listen to the whole record. You don't just pick one song; you just listen to Reign In Blood. That's what I would do and I still do to this day. I can't just listen to 'Angel Of Death' or 'Jesus Saves' or whatever. I listen to the whole thing, always, in context, because it's meant to be heard that way. There's not a wasted moment on this record. It's just fucking brilliant. It's genius.

How did you feel about the lyrics to 'Angel Of Death', as someone from a Jewish background?

If I truly believed that Jeff Hanneman was a Nazi, then I might have had problems with it. But I knew Jeff, we were friends [with Slayer] and they were certainly aware that I was a Jewish kid from New York City, so I never once thought that Jeff was writing those lyrics because he hated Jews. Jeff was writing lyrics about history. I've written crazy shit in my life, too, and it's not because I hated somebody or something, it's because I was reporting. I wrote a song called 'The Enemy' on Spreading The Disease which was about the Holocaust as well, just from a different angle than 'Angel Of Death'. It's not something that I ever thought twice about. It's like asking, "Did I have a problem with the lyrics to 'Criminally Insane'?" Are they saying murder is good? No. I don't think they were out there saying there should be more serial killers. They're talking about the world we live in and a lot of the horrible things that exist on our planet. And what better lyrical fodder is there for the music they created on this record? It just goes hand-in-hand.

And they weren't doing the sort of strange things that Phil Anselmo did on stage recently.

No. That never happened back then. Not to my knowledge, anyway. But no. This is just a fucking slab of molten metal, that's what it is.