Angel of Death is the opening track of Slayer American thrash metal Reign in Blood released October 7, 1986. The lyrics and music were written by guitarist Jeff Hanneman and are based on the doctor Nazi Josef Mengele, who conducted human experiments at the Auschwitz concentration camp during the Second World War. "Angel of Death" led the group to face accusations of Nazi and racist sympathizers throughout their careers.
Despite the controversy surrounding the song and its contribution to the late release of Reign in Blood, "Angel of Death" is present on all the seltlists of the group and has appeared in several films. The song was well received by critics, Steve Huey of Allmusic described it as a "classic">.
Guitarist Jeff Hanneman wrote Angel of Death after reading books about Mengele touring with the band. "I remember stopping somewhere where I bought two books on Mengele. I thought, "It must be stupid crap." And when it came time to make the record, this thing was still in my head. And that's where the words of Angel of Death come from. "
The lyrics detail the surgical experiments on patients in the Auschwitz concentration camp during the Second World War >>>
Mengele's explorations were conducted on groups of individuals such as dwarves and twins, and included both physical and psychological examinations >>>.
Among the tests performed are mentioned in "Angel of Death" experimental surgery performed without anesthesia, blood transfusions between twins, body sutures, tests on endurance to isolation, gassing, injections of deadly germs, practice of sex reassignment, and removal of organs and limbs.