Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda recently sat down with Noisey during his tour supporting his solo debut to listen to and break down track-by-track Slayer's 1986 seminal thrash classic Reign In Blood. Despite sharing a hometown with Slayer, Los Angeles, not to mention his own admission that he's watched the band live and respected their legendary prowess, Shinoda has apparently never listened to the album in full, and told the site he was nervous to comment knowing his reactions could be mixed. He even went so far as to call the album's name "ridiculous."
Though he's admitted his own tastes were more shaped by hip hop influences like the Pharcyde and Public Enemy, it's hard to imagine a 41-year heavy metal veteran admitting he's never done a full listen of such an important record.
Throughout the interview, Shinoda repeatedly shares his appreciation for the music, but the singer takes issue with the heavy use of Nazi imagery. "They were like, 'well it's not glorifying Nazism.' But I'm reading the lyrics and my first impression is like, yes it 100 percent is. I'm not a fan of that at all." He quickly shifts away from that and mentions a favorite of his, Metallica's Master Of Puppets, and admits Reign "may be even better."
The interview continues with Shinoda reiterating that he loves the music and recording style of the album as he inquires about more facts concerning its release and the scope of metal at the time. In a meta moment where it's hard to differentiate his take on Slayer versus his own biggest project, nu metal stars Linkin Park, he mentions, "It's really hard when you're immersed in a movement of music in certain time where you can step away from it enough to notice that these little subtle elements of it, the performance or the recording, will be embarrassing later. It's hard to notice those things in the moment and remove them to make your art more timeless."
He then expounds on what he believes is his own aversion to Slayer's lyricism and ultra-Satanic image, relaying a story about an art school classmate of his who nailed a dead cat to a crucifix in at attempt to shock. "We looked at it and there were flies on it already and it was just disgusting. I don't think anyone was like, 'Cool bro. Rad piece!'" Shinoda continues relaying his binary opinion on the record, swaying from how much he enjoys listening to it versus how turned off he is at some of the thematic content. A few stories are peppered in from his own career, and the interview ends on a high note with him stating "I'm convinced. I think I came around."
Read the full interview at Noisey.