It is considered to be Slayer's most experimental album with most of the album's content written by guitarist Jeff Hanneman. Hanneman described writing for the album as, "When we were writing this album I was looking for something to beat; I wanted something to beat, but nothing impresses me right now. Nothing sounded really aggressive or heavy enough to inspire me to beat it, so I just had to come up with my own shit."
Vocalist Tom Araya had concerns over the lyrics that guitarist Kerry King gave to the song "In the Name of God". King said; "It's like, 'C'mon, man, you're in Slayer. You're the antichrist — you said it yourself on the first album!' You can't draw the line like that. Whether he agrees with it or not, he didn't write it — I wrote it. So you have to say, 'Well, it's just a part of being in this band.' Now Jeff and I, we don't give a fuck. If Jeff wrote something I had a problem with, I would never even raise a fucking finger. I'd be like, 'Fuck yeah, let's do it! Gonna piss someone off? Alright!'"