ERIK HINDS: Reign in Blood: CD

Jun 29, 2007

The arpeggione is an instrument originally developed by a Viennese guitar maker/repairman named Johann Georg Staufer in 1823. Similar to a guitar, in that it has frets and its six strings are tuned in the same way as your standard guitar, it is held like a cello, meaning vertically rather than horizontally, and you use a bow. Although popular in the 19th century, its popularity waned over the years, with the cello more often being used when an arpeggione was called for. Erik Hinds is a proficient arpeggionist who apparently believes that Slayer’s Reign in Blood album and his instrument of choice are a complimentary match. He was wrong, not so much due to the limitations of the instrument, but rather the limitations of adapting what is essentially one of the definitive hardcore albums to a wholly instrumental format—you can’t make musical something that is essentially tuneless to begin with. Metallica, and even Black Sabbath, have enough melody infused into their songs to make previous classically inspired takes on their respective catalogues more successful, but—and this is not meant as a dig at Slayer, who remain a personal favorite—when you’re talking about a band whose primary mode of attack sounds like a plague of pissed-off hornets attacking a stronghold of locusts, you’re gonna be hard pressed to come up with something that doesn’t sound like a tuning session for a fourth grade string section. Maybe if he’d screamed the lyrics while he was playing he might’ve been onto something, but as it stands, Hinds could’ve covered the Neos or Siege and gotten the exact same results performance-wise as he got here. He also could’ve done it in 1/16 the time it took to listen to this, ’cause their songs are shorter.

 –jimmy (