It's only fitting the greatest thrash album of all-time be crowned by a masterful album cover. Obviously inspired by the violent Hell On Earth ravings of Heironymous Bosch, Slayer's artwork for Reign in Blood is more Rococo-meets-Old Masters.
While Bosch utilized a brighter color palette in his mankind-doomed triptychs, Larry Carroll's dank color scheme and exaggerated figures on Reign in Blood was more indicative of the political cartooning he is more reknowned for. Who knows what figureheads Carroll had in mind while illustrating Reign in Blood?
One would have to assume the devil is Hitler in connection with Slayer's immortal Auschwitz protest, "Angel of Death." Pope John Paul II was still in the Vatican when Reign in Blood came out, still today one of the most revered religious leaders. There he (assumedly) cowers beneath the pagan goat who could be anyone from Reagan to Margaret Thatcher, if you're hearkening back to eighties politicos. Worse, the pope on this cover is actually a slave to evil as one of the throne carriers.
Slayer always did love to tweak their audiences, didn't they? No wonder Columbia/Def Jam tried to disown Reign in Blood, sending it along to Geffen to distribute. History shows who profited from the gutsy decision to mainstream release an album destined to surpass its controversies as an all-time music classic.