Recently, the venerable Rolling Stone published a list of its top 500 albums of all time. Slayer's Reign in Blood did not make it, nor did any of Slayer's ten other albums or EPs. Everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion/asshole, but honestly, no Reign in Blood? Peter Wolf (who?) slips in at number 432 for last year's Sleepless, but Slayer, pioneering thrash-metal titans, can't make the list. Insert your own Rolling Stone/old-fart joke here, because the mind reels at the omission.
Slayer released this massive, three-disc, one-DVD box set right around the time of Rolling Stone's Slayer-less list. Intentional or not, Apocalypse serves as yet another example of Slayer's persistent, ramrod-stiff middle finger thrust under the nose of the music business establishment: "The Man" makes a list of his friends' 500 favorite albums (a whole lotta Don Henley and James Taylor), while Slayer makes excellent, punishing, cathartic music. Soundtrack to the Apocalypse collects the finest moments of Slayer's 20-year career and packages them with all the bells and whistles of the modern box set.
On the downside, Soundtrack contains almost nothing from Slayer's Metal Blade albums, with the exception of a few live versions of songs from the early days. But this is a minor complaint. Old classics and new favorites are slashed through with a speed that surpasses the original album versions (hard to believe anything could be faster than the original "Angel of Death," but there you have it) without losing any of the vicious precision that Slayer prides itself on. Is this essential listening for the list-makers of Rolling Stone? It shoulda been, judging by their belief that the Smashing Pumpkins Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (number 487) matters. Their loss.
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