Still Reigning

Still Reigning

Infobox music DVD
Name = Still Reigning
Type = Home video
Artist = Slayer


Released = October 26, 2004
Recorded = July 11, 2004
Genre = Thrash metal
Length = 1:16:03
Label = American
Producer = Dean Karr
Reviews = *Allmusic Rating|3.5|5 [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:be5ibks9dakb link]
*IGN Rating-10|6 [http://au.dvd.ign.com/articles/579/579116p1.html link]
Last album = "Soundtrack to the Apocalypse"
(2003)
This album = "Still Reigning"
(2004)
Next album = "Eternal Pyre"
(2006)|

"Still Reigning" is a live performance DVD by the thrash metal band Slayer, released in 2004 through American Recordings. Filmed at the Augusta Civic Center on July 11, 2004, the performance showcases Slayer's 1986 album, "Reign in Blood", played in its entirety with the four original band members on a set resembling their 1986 "Reign in Pain" tour. "Still Reigning" was voted "best live DVD" by the readers of "Revolver" magazine, and received gold certification in 2005.

The finale features Slayer covered in stage blood while performing the song "Raining Blood", which led to a demanding mixing process plagued by production and technical difficulties. The DVD's producer Kevin Shirley, spent hours replacing cymbal and drum hits one-by-one. He publicly aired financial disagreements he had with the band and criticized the quality of the recording, and as a result was allegedly subjected to threats and insults from people associated with the band.

Conception

"Reign in Blood" was released in 1986 and was Slayer's first album to enter the "Billboard" 200—at 94—cite web
title=Artist Chart History
publisher=Billboard.com
url=http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/retrieve_chart_history.do?model.chartFormatGroupName=Albums&model.vnuArtistId=5692&model.vnuAlbumId=789249
accessdate=2007-03-25
] and their first to be awarded gold certification.cite web| title = RIAA - Artist Slayer| publisher = RIAA.com| url = http://www.riaa.com/goldandplatinumdata.php?table=SEARCH| accessdate = 2007-02-14 ] Music critics praised the album; "Kerrang!" described it as the "heaviest album of all time",cite web| title = Lostprophets scoop rock honours | publisher = BBC News | date = 2006-08-25| url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/5282780.stm| accessdate = 2007-01-10 ] while Steve Huey of Allmusic wrote that the album was a "stone-cold classic".cite web
title = Reign In Blood - Slayer
author = Huey, Steve
publisher = Allmusicguide.com
url = http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:jbkzu3q5an5k
accessdate = 2007-01-05
] The positive reception led to the band's European agent John Jackson, to suggest that the band play "Reign in Blood" in its entirety on the Jagermeister tour of 2003 and 2004, under the tour banner "Still Reigning".cite web
title=A chat with Tom Araya of Slayer|author=Fortes, Michael|publisher=bullz-eye.com|date=2007-06-05|url=http://www.bullz-eye.com/music/interviews/2007/tom_araya.htm|accessdate=2007-06-11
] Original drummer Dave Lombardo, who recorded drums on the album, re-joined the band in 2001, after departing in 1991. This influenced the band's decision to play the album in its entirety, as they had the original members and all members regard the album as a high-point in their career.cite web| title = Riftrock Interviews — Slayer| author = Huffy, Dave | publisher = RIFTrock.com| date = 2004-09-19| url = http://www.riftrock.com/interviews.php?c=15| accessdate = 2007-01-26 ] The band was going to enter the recording studio to record their next album ("Christ Illusion"). However, the band's producer Rick Rubin insisted the band not enter the recording studio due to problems between himself and the band's record label, American Recordings. The band's manager suggested they record a performance of one of the Jagmiester shows and release it on a DVD — the band agreed.cite web| title = Knac.com interview with Jeff Hanneman| author = Davis, Brian | publisher = Knac.co| url = http://www.knac.com/article.asp?ArticleID=3153| accessdate = 2006-12-13 ]

The final track of the DVD, "Raining Blood", culminates with the band drenched by stage blood. Guitarist Jeff Hanneman came up with the idea of the blood two years after "Reign in Blood"'s release, but the band lacked the funding to do so. The beginning of the film "Blade" (released in 1998) features a "bloodbath" with vampires dancing in a club with blood coming from the roof via a sprinkler system. The scene revived Jeff Hanneman and guitarist Kerry King's interest, and since the band released a DVD the previous year — "War at the Warfield" — they decided to add something different for the new DVD — raining blood. King asserted that since Lombardo was not on the previous DVD, this one was going to be important. Due to the short length of the DVD, director Dean Karr chose an additional bonus six songs from the same show as he thought certain members excelled in the performances.King, Kerry. "South of Heaven" column. Guitar World. Holiday 2004.]

Recording

"Still Reigning" was recorded at the Augusta Civic Center in Augusta, Maine on July 11, 2004, prior to the 2004 Ozzfest. A ten-man camera crew under the direction of Dean Karr was on hand to document the show, backstage action, and exclusive interviews inside the band's tour bus. The interview, "Slayer: In their own words", is a seventeen-minute piece which features the band talking about their early years, influences, writing lyrics, Lombardo's return, and the band's eventual retirement. At one point Lombardo rejected the possibility of a future "good-bye tour" for Slayer, and states if the band realize they have "lost a step" they will "call it a day".

The stage was converted to resemble the band's 1986 "Reign in Pain" tour, which featured the Slayer eagle and inverted crosses as part of the lighting rig.cite web
title=Slayer To Document 'Reign in Blood' Performance On Upcoming DVD |publisher=Blabbermouth.net |date=2004-07-08 |url=http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/blabbermouth.net/news.aspx?mode=Article&newsitemID=24533
accessdate=2007-03-04
] The stage was modified to absorb the "blood" and have it recirculate back down upon the band, which allowed for easier clean-up and lowered the chance of injury by slipping.cite web |title= Slayer Still Reigning |author=Chillemi, Brian |publisher=Rockzone.com |url=http://www.rockzone.com/reviews/slayer-stillreign.shtml|accessdate=2007-03-09] The DVD was recorded in 1.85:1 video, which caused macro blocking errors such as aliasing and a murky stage when fully lit, and the audio featured English Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 stereo, with no subtitles.

Production controversy

Kevin Shirley, who has worked with the bands Iron Maiden and Dream Theater, produced the DVD. He issued a statement describing the demanding mixing process which took place at his New York Studio: "It's OK — some places it rocks hard, and others are a bit sloppy, but I'm sure they won't use the whole concert. It was tough to mix."cite web
title = Producer says new Slayer DVD was 'Tough To Mix' Due To Its Sloppiness
publisher = Blabbermouth.net
date =2004-08-15
url = http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/blabbermouth.net/news.aspx?mode=Article&newsitemID=25812
accessdate = 2007-02-04
] The following day Shirley apologized for his "unprofessional comment" towards the band, and altered his post on his personal website to read: "The rest of the week I finished mixing a live Slayer set for a DVD, in stereo and surround, and it's great — it rocks hard, but it was tough to mix."cite web
title = Producer Apologizes For 'Unprofessional Comment' About Slayer Live DVD
publisher = Blabbermouth.net
date = 2004-08-17
url = http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/blabbermouth.net/news.aspx?mode=Article&newsitemID=25853
accessdate = 2007-02-04
]

On September 30, 2006, Shirley issued a further statement claiming he had not been paid for his work, and had received threats and insults from people associated with the band: "I've just mixed a really wonderful band with one of the worst sounding recordings ever. It's kinda disgraceful that they won't spend anything on a decent recording! I won't say who, because last time I commented on a sloppy recording (on this page), they refused to pay me and I got all manner of threats and insults from people associated with the band, so I'd best be quiet!"

The stage blood caused technical difficulties as it soaked the microphone, guitars, and cymbals, which according to Shirley sounded like "coffee mugs being tapped with a spoon". A review of the DVD observed that "If it wasn't for guitarist Jeff Hanneman being out of position and missing all of the blood, the guitar might have sounded pretty bad." Hanneman missed the initial downpour due to a technical problem with his guitar, and was deluged by a light shower when coming back on-stage.cite web
title=Slayer to headline this fall's Jagermeister Music Tour; Slayer DVD 'Still Reigning' to be released October 26, 2004|publisher=Top40-charts.com |date=2004-09-08|url=http://top40-charts.com/news.php?nid=9392|accessdate=2007-03-08
] Shirley replaced thousands of cymbal and drum hits with those used on previous recordings; the process took several days to complete.cite web
title = Producer Kevin Shirley Comments On Slayer's 'Reign in Blood Live: Still Reigning' DVD| publisher = Blabbermouth.net| date = 2004-09-30| url = http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/blabbermouth.net/news.aspx?mode=Article&newsitemID=59485| accessdate = 2007-02-04
] After recording the DVD, the band used a sprinkler system with diluted water rather than a bucket with blood that was like tar when recording the DVD. King later remarked, "My guitar didn’t like it, that was the last time I played it," and he donated it to the Hard Rock Cafe after the show.cite web
title = Songs about God and Satan – Part 1: An Interview with Slayer's Kerry King
author = Atkinson, Peter
publisher = KNAC.com
date = 2006-04-24
url = http://www.knac.com/article.asp?ArticleID=4550
accessdate = 2007-02-09
] Vocalist Tom Araya felt the same and admitted; "It was messy. I couldn't play because the initial dump at the beginning of the song got all over me. I couldn't hold my pick. I was slapping my bass trying to get sound out of it."cite web
title=SlayerFrontman Talks About 'Wall Of Blood', Show Cancellations
publisher=Blabbermouth.net
date=2004-11-06
url=http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/blabbermouth.net/news.aspx?mode=Article&newsitemID=28856
accessdate=2007-03-04
]

In Joel McIver's 2008 book "The Bloody Reign Of Slayer", Shirley clarified the situation in an extensive interview with the author, saying: “The source material was totally raw – as in, it was an undoctored live recording – and there were some performance errors [in my opinion] sprinkled through the show. This is not at all uncommon, and generally I repair the glitches with notes from somewhere else in the show or otherwise. I’ve done this with many big bands, so there’s nothing unusual in that – but I need to see video to make sure I don’t fix glitches which don’t sync with the images featured in the video edit.

“I asked and asked, but as hard as I tried, I couldn’t get a copy of the video. Rick Sales had put me on an extremely tight and short deadline for delivery of the masters, so I had to start mixing and repairing, which I did. I had to send Rick Rubin copies of mixes so he could approve the general direction, which he did.”

Dave Lombardo called and explained to me that the song 'Raining Blood' was particularly gnarly, as the blood goop which rains on the set for the finale got all over the drums and cymbals and into the microphones, and they were basically unusable audio tracks. I told him I could fix them, which he was really happy about – but I had no video to see exactly what he was playing. Initially I fixed the essentials and sent him a rough mix, but he called and said there was much more playing – so in a very complicated procedure, I spent days replacing each and every cymbal and drum hit, and matched them so they rang over each other, or were caught. I still had no video to reference to.”

“I had said to Rick Sales that I had booked mastering time at Sony Mastering in New York, the day before the deadline was up – and they asked me to forward them, and Rick Rubin, the whole mixed show, stereo and 5.1 surround sound mixes. I said no, as I hadn’t been paid anything at all, despite them having been required to front some of the money. All studio and personnel costs were undertaken by me. I did send a selection of mixed tracks to be heard. During the mastering process, I got a call from Rick Sales stopping the mastering procedure, and requesting all the masters. I finally sent them. I still had received no video edit, nor any money. I was totally unprepared for the lack of professionalism they exhibited, and made a comment on my website about the quality of the recording and performances.”

“I was immediately harassed by what I guess were friends of the band. Rick Sales called and said I was totally out of line, and they wouldn’t pay me. I still hadn’t been paid anything. I retracted my comment, which was made in the heat of the moment, but not before it was picked up and plastered all over the web.

“The studio hadn’t been paid, and were harassing me for money, but I was suffering from a business manager who had swindled me, so the studio reported me to the New York police department and charged me with theft of services – this after I had done many high-profile albums at their studio. I was arrested and taken to the police station on 53rd Street and interviewed. I explained to both the police and the studio that I would pay as soon as Slayer had paid, but that wasn’t good enough for anyone. So I paid. Over a year later, after much asking, Slayer finally paid me the tiny budget, minus $5000 for what I can only think they considered ‘slander’. It cost me money to mix!”

“Does that sound like fun? It’s all true, and I hear there is some bad blood about – but I still have nothing but respect for the band. I think they are pioneers, and if the band knew how badly their agents had treated the situation, I’m sure they’d be really pissed. I love Slayer – but who knows if our paths will ever cross.” McIver, Joel. "The Bloody Reign Of Slayer", 2008.]

Reception

"Still Reigning" debuted on the "Billboard" DVD chart at number seven — selling 9,813 copies.cite web
title=Slayer's Still Reigning DVD Sells A Bloody Load of Copies In Its First Week
publisher=MetalUnderground.com
date=2004-11-15
url=http://www.metalunderground.com/news/details.cfm?newsid=10614
accessdate=2007-03-09
] It became the band's second DVD to receive gold certification on July 20, 2005, after "War at the Warfield", which received gold certification a year earlier for sales in excess of 50,000.cite web
title = RIAA - Artist Slayer
publisher = RIAA.com
url = http://www.riaa.com/gp/database/default.asp
accessdate = 2007-02-14
] The readers of "Revolver" magazine voted it "best live DVD" in 2005, making it the second consecutive year the band topped the category.cite web
title = Slayer's 'Still Reigning' DVD Certified Gold
publisher = Blabbermouth.net|date=2005-04-07
url = http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/blabbermouth.net/news.aspx?mode=Article&newsitemID=35148
accessdate = 2007-01-26
]

Slayer received a positive reception when performing at the Augusta Civic Center. On finishing half the set list, the band briefly left the stage and returned to play the 28 minute album, "Reign in Blood" as an encore. On the final song, "Raining Blood" the lights were turned off and Slayer members were deluged by two buckets of stage blood. According to King, the crowd went quiet for a few seconds until they realized the blood was part of the show. King thought Araya looked like a psychotic mass murderer, which contributed to the crowd's reaction. Following the two large drops, stage blood mixed with water was used so it looked like it was "raining blood".

Andy Patrizio of IGN awarded the DVD six out of ten commenting, "Tom Araya lost his piercing shriek that opens 'Angel of Death' and the end of 'Necrophobic'", praising Lombardo's return by saying the drummer "...hasn't lost a step at all. With barely any breathing time between songs, the underground drum legend shows that an impending 40th birthday (next month) isn't going to slow him down." Patrizio stated the production was not of the highest caliber, as the rapid "MTV-style" cuts were distracting, as was the switch from black and white to color shots. Patrizio ended the review with the comment, "This is what you get for letting Uwe Boll direct your music video", Boll being a heavily criticized film director.cite web
title = Slayer: Still Reigning The landmark metal album performed in its entirety.
author = Patrizio, Andy
publisher = IGN
date = 2005-01-11
url = http://au.dvd.ign.com/articles/579/579116p1.html
accessdate = 2007-02-05
]

Track listing

References


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