Erik Hinds

Reign in Blood

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In a nutshell, this is Erik Hinds' arrangement for solo h'arpeggione of Slayer's album Reign in Blood. People following Hinds' career may not know the original. Released in 1986, it is widely regarded as Slayer's best effort, the finest example of American speed metal, and the inspiration behind the whole death metal style. Now, metal fans most probably don't know what the h'arpeggione is. It is basically a very unusual guitar played upright, like a cello. Its plethora of strings (both played and resonating) gives it a range somewhere between a cello and an acoustic guitar. Its sound palette, on the other hand, touches the higher double-bass range (that muted fingery sound), cello, guitar, and sitar. On this album, Hinds focuses mostly on the percussive possibilities of the instrument, plucking wildly, tapping, and even knocking on the wooden frame to simulate the percussive intro to "Criminally Insane." Listeners unaware of Slayer's album will hear in Reign in Blood a more rhythmic side of Hinds or a theme-based form of contemporary music on an unusual instrument, with an obvious rock origin. Those who do know the model after which this album has been sculpted are in for quite a surprise. Hinds manages to deliver recognizable renditions, which is no mean feat by itself, throwing in some serious virtuosity. Most of all, he succeeds in presenting the material for what it is: complex, innovative music (lots of chromaticism involved). Some tracks have rather unexpectedly become ballads, like "Epidemic" and "Raining Blood"; others are reduced to mind-numbing riffs ("Piece by Piece," "Postmortem"). The arrangements are very resourceful and full of little surprises for the connoisseur to find. The whole thing is presented as a suite and clocks in slightly under half an hour, just like the original. Not that far removed from Hinds' own compositions, it sure is a long way from Slayer's opus, so please approach it with an open mind.

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