Producer Rick Rubin discusses Slayer’s influence

Posted by on May 7, 2019

Producer Rick Rubin has been a staple of music production for decades, working on some of the most influential albums ever. One of those artists was Slayer, with whom he worked on their three most influential albums, Reign in Blood, South of Heaven, and Seasons In The Abyss.

On a recent episode of his Broken Record podcast featuring fellow producer T Bone Burnett, the two discussed how to produce a good album, saying that it is ultimately instinct and the artist being able to resonate with their fans. During the discussion, Rubin decided to use his work with Slayer as an example. Rubin introduced his statement saying:

“Something that I noticed relatively early, in working with different artists that was interesting was that one of the bands I worked with is called Slayer, heavy metal band. …One of the inventors of black metal… very aggressive metal, and the lyrics were very dark and heavy.”

Many would probably jump to argue on the semantics of this statement, as Slayer is not part of the black metal movement, but instead more of an influence on the subgenre.

He continued on about what makes the band special, saying:

“To some people, they would look at that as negative content, and then I would go to a concert and see an arena full of kids who were very much like the guys in Slayer, who were so filled with joy listening to this music. It was speaking directly to them. It completely was nourishing them. ‘Kumbaya‘ would not have reached them.”

He concluded the statement by expressing:

“It really is what entertains people, and whatever stuff happened in their life that led them to a place where this darker thing speaks to them. In their case it’s healing to hear it, they feel less alone.”

That connection with their fans has definitely worked in Slayer’s favor. The band has lasted for more than three decades and had the opportunity to release 12 studio albums because people find something within their music that they can relate to.

Slayer are currently on their North American leg of their farewell tour. Following the North American trek, these thrashers will head to Europe for a string of summer festival and arena dates. Slayer released their last studio album, Repentless, in 2015.


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