Slayer was an American thrash metal band from Huntington Park, California. The band was formed in 1981 by guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman, drummer Dave Lombardo, and bassist and vocalist Tom Araya. Slayer's fast and aggressive musical style made them one of the 'big four' founding groups of thrash metal, alongside Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax .

The final formation of Slayer included King, Araya, drummer Paul Bostaph and guitarist Gary Holt. Drummer Jon Dette was also a member of the group.



In the original lineup, King, Hanneman, and Araya contributed lyrics to the band, and all of the band's music was written by King and Hanneman.

The band's lyrics and album covers, which cover topics such as murder, serial killers, torture, genocide, politics, human experimentation, Satanism, hate crimes, terrorism, religion, anti-religion, Nazism, racism, war and prison, have generated album bans, delays, lawsuits, and criticism from religious groups and mainstream factions.

However, his music was very influential, often cited by many groups as a musical, visual and lyrical influence; the band's third album, Reign in Blood (1986), has been described as one of the heaviest and most influential thrash metal albums.

Slayer released twelve studio albums, two live albums, a box set, six music videos, two extended tracks and a cover album. Four of the group's studio albums have received gold certification in the United States.

The group received five Grammy nominations, including one in 2007 for the song "Eyes of the Insane" and one in 2008 for the song "Final Six", both from the album Christ Illusion (2006). Between 1991 and 2013, the group sold five million albums in the United States.

After more than three decades of recording and performing, Slayer announced in January 2018 that she would embark on her final world tour, which ran from May 2018 to November 2019, and the band disbanded. afterwards.




Early years (1981–1983)

Slayer was formed in 1981 by Kerry King, Jeff Hanneman, Dave Lombardo, and Tom Araya in Huntington Park, California.

The band began performing covers of songs from bands like Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Venom at parties and clubs in Southern California. The primitive image of the group relied heavily on satanic themes that included pentagrams, makeup, spikes, and inverted crosses.

Rumors that the group was originally known as the Dragonslayer, after the 1981 film of the same name, were denied by King, as he later stated: “We never were; it is a myth to this day. "

In 1983, Slayer was invited to open for the band Bitch at the Woodstock Club in Anaheim, California, to perform eight songs, six of which were covers. The group was spotted by Brian Slagel, a former music journalist who had recently founded Metal Blade Records .

Impressed with Slayer, he met the band backstage and asked them to record an original song for their upcoming compilation album Metal Massacre III. The band agreed and their song “Aggressive Perfector” created an underground buzz upon its release in mid-1983, which led Slagel to offer the band a recording deal with Metal Blade.



Show No Mercy, Haunting the Chapel and Hell Awaits (1983-1986)

Jeff Hanneman was Slayer's guitarist for 30 years, from 1981 to 2011, he was the lead songwriter with Kerry King, as well as a lyricist.

Without a recording budget, the group had to self-finance their first album. Combining the savings of Araya, who was employed as a respiratory therapist, and money borrowed from King's father, the group entered the studio in November 1983.

The album was rushed into release, stocking shelves three weeks after the tracks were finished.

Show No Mercy, released in December 1983 on Metal Blade Records, generated underground popularity for the group. The group began a club tour of California to promote the album.

The tour gave the group additional popularity and sales of Show No Mercy eventually reached over 20,000 in the United States and another 20,000 worldwide.

In February 1984, King briefly joined Dave Mustaine's new group, Megadeth. Hanneman was worried about King's decision, stating in an interview, “I guess we're going to have a new guitarist. "



While Mustaine wanted King to stay on a permanent basis, King left after five shows, stating that Mustaine's band "was taking too much of my time." The split sparked a rift between King and Mustaine, which evolved into a long-lasting feud between the two groups.

In June 1984, Slayer released a three-track EP titled Haunting the Chapel. The EP features a darker, more thrash-oriented style than Show No Mercy, and lays the foundation for the band's future direction.

In March 1985, Slayer began a nationwide tour with Venom and Exodus, resulting in their first home video dubbed Combat Tour: The Ultimate Revenge. The video featured footage filmed at the Studio 54 club. The group then made their European debut live at the Heavy Sound Festival in Belgium as the opening for UFO.

Also in 1985, Slayer toured or performed selected shows with bands like Megadeth, Destruction, DRI, Possessed , Agent Steel, SOD, Nasty Savage and Church of Metal.

Show No Mercy sells over 40,000 copies, which led the band to return to the studio to record their second album. Metal Blade funded a recording budget, which enabled the band to hire producer Ron Fair.

Released in March 1985, Slayer's second album, Hell Awaits, sprawled across the darkness of Haunting the Chapel, with Hell and Satan as common song subjects.



Reign in Blood, Lombardo's Brief Hiatus and South of Heaven (1986–1989)

Guitarist Kerry King was one of Slayer's two constant members.
Following the success of Hell Awaits, Slayer was offered a recording deal with Russell Simmons and the new Def Def Records from Rick Rubin, a largely hip hop label.

The group agreed with an experienced producer and a major label recording budget. the band underwent a sonic makeover for their third album Reign in Blood, resulting in shorter, faster songs with clearer output. The intricate arrangements and long titles of Hell Awaits were abandoned in favor of stripped-down song structures influenced by hardcore punk.

Def Jam distributor Columbia Records refused to release the album due to the song "Angel of Death" which details Holocaust concentration camps and human experiments carried out by Nazi physician Josef Mengele.

The album was released by Geffen Records on October 7, 1986. However, due to controversy, Reign in Blood did not appear on the Geffen Records release schedule. Although the album received virtually no radio broadcasts, it became the first group to enter the Billboard 200, debuting at number 94, and the group's first album to be certified gold in the United States.

Slayer began the Reign in Pain world tour, with Overkill in the United States from October to December 1986 and Malice in Europe in April and May 1987. They have also performed with other groups such as Agnostic Front, Testament, Metal Church , DRI, Dark Angel and Flotsam and Jetsam.

The band was added as a lead band for WASP's US tour, but just a month later drummer Lombardo left the band: “I wasn't making any money. I thought if we were going to be professional, I wanted my rent paid. To continue the tour, Slayer enlisted Tony Scaglione from Whiplash.





However, Lombardo was convinced by his wife to return in 1987. At Rubin's urging, Slayer recorded a cover version of Iron Butterfly's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" for the movie Less Than Zero. .

While the band weren't happy with the final product, with Hanneman deeming it “a bad portrayal of Slayer” and King calling it a “big piece of crap,” this was one of their first songs to get radio airplay.

At the end of 1987, Slayer returned to the studio to record his fourth studio album. To contrast the speed of Reign in Blood, the band consciously decided to slow down the tempos and incorporate a more melodic vocals.

According to Hanneman, “We knew we couldn't beat Reign in Blood, so we had to slow down. We knew everything we were doing was going to be compared to this album, and I remember we actually discussing the slowdown. It was weird - we've never done that on an album, before or since. "

Released in July 1988, South of Heaven received mixed responses from fans and critics alike, though it was Slayer's most successful release at the time, debuting at No. 57 on the Billboard 200, and their second album to receive gold certification in the United States.

The press response to the album has been mixed, with AllMusic citing the album as "disturbing and powerful", and Rolling Stone 's Kim Nelly calling it "a truly offensive satanic drivel".

King says that “this album was my dullest performance”, although Araya called it a “late bloomer” that eventually grew in people's heads. Slayer toured from August 1988 to January 1989 to promote South of Heaven, support Judas Priest in the United States on their Ram It Down tour, and visit Europe with Nuclear Assault and the United States with Motörhead and Overkill.



"Seasons in the Abyss" and Lombardo's second departure (1990–1993)

Bassist / singer Tom Araya was one of Slayer's two constant members.
Slayer returned to the studio in the early 1990s with co-producer Andy Wallace to record his fifth studio album. After the backlash created by South of Heaven, Slayer returned to "Reign in Blood's pounding speed, while retaining their new melodic sense."

Seasons in the Abyss, released October 9, 1990, is Slayer's first album to be released under Rubin's new Def American label, as he parted ways with Def Jam owner Russell Simmons for creative differences.

The album debuted at number 44 on the Billboard 200 and was certified gold in 1992.The album spawned Slayer's first music video for the album's title track, which was filmed in front of the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt.

Slayer returned live in September 1990 to co-title the European Clash of the Titans tour with Megadeth, Suicidal Tendencies and Testament .

During the sold-out European leg of this tour, tickets skyrocketed to 1,000 deutsche marks (680 $ US) on the black market. With the popularity of American thrash at its peak, the group toured again with Testament in early 1991 and on three tracks the North American version of the Clash of the Titans tour that summer with Megadeth, Anthrax and Alice in Chains. .

The group released a live double album, Decade of Aggression in 1991, to celebrate ten years of their formation. The compilation debuted at number 55 on the Billboard 200.

In May 1992, Lombardo left the group due to conflicts with the other members, as well as his desire not to be on tour for the birth of his first child. Lombardo formed his own band Grip Inc., with guitarist Voodoocult Waldemar Sorychta, and Slayer recruited former Forbidden drummer Paul Bostaph to take on the drummer position.

Slayer made his Bostaph debut at the 1992 Monsters of Rock festival in Castle Donington. Bostaph's first studio effort was a mix of three songs Exploited, “War”, “UK '82” and “Disorder”, with rapper Ice-T, for the soundtrack to the movie Judgment Night in 1993.


Divine Intervention, Undisputed Attitude and Diabolus in Musica (1994–2000)

In 1994, Slayer released Divine Intervention, the band's first album with Bostaph on drums. The album included songs about Reinhard Heydrich, a Holocaust architect, and Jeffrey Dahmer, an American serial killer and sex offender.

Other themes included murder, the evils of the church and the lengths at which governments would exercise power, Araya's interest in serial killers inspired much of the lyric content.

Slayer is preparing for a world tour in 1995, with Biohazard and Machine Head.

In 1996, Undisputed Attitude, a punk cover album, was released. The band covered songs from Minor Threat, TSOL, Dirty Rotten Imbeciles, DI, Verbal Abuse, Dr. Know and The Stooges. The album included three original tracks, "Gemini", "Can't Stand You", "Ddamm"; the latter two were written by Hanneman in 1984–1985 for a side project called Pap Smear.

Bostaph left Slayer shortly after recording the album to work on his own project, Truth About Seafood. With the departure of Bostaph, Slayer recruited Testament drummer Jon Dette and titled Ozzfest 1996 alongside Ozzy Osbourne, Danzig, Biohazard, Sepultura and Fear Factory.

Debt was laid off after a year, due to a fallout with the band members. After that, Bostaph returned to continue the tour.

Diabolus in Musica (Latin for "The Devil in Music") was released in 1998 and ranked No. 31 on the Billboard 200, selling over 46,000 copies in its first week. The album received contrasting critical reception. reviewer Borijov Krgin described the album as "a weak attempt to incorporate updated elements into the sound of the band, whose presence somewhat heightened the band's efforts and gave the hope that Slayer could refrain from endlessly rehashing their previous material for their future release ”

Ben Ratliff of the New York Times had similar sentiments, writing on June 22, 1998 that: “Eight of the eleven songs from Diabolus in Musica, a few of which were played on the show, are in the same gray key, and The group's rhythmic ideas have a tiring similarity too. "

Slayer teamed up with digital hardcore band Atari Teenage Riot to record a song for Spawn's soundtrack called "No Remorse (I Wanna Die)". The band paid homage to Black Sabbath by recording a cover of "Hand of Doom" for the second of two tribute albums, titled Nativity in Black II.

A world tour followed in support of the new album, with Slayer making an appearance at UK Ozzfest 1998.


God Hates Us All (2001-2005)

After delays with remixing and artwork, including slide covers created to cover the original artwork as it was deemed "too graphic", Slayer's next album, God Hates Us All, was released on September 11, 2001. .

The group received their first Grammy nomination for the title "Disciple", although the Grammy went to Tool, for "Schism".

The September 11 attacks on America put the 2001 Tattoo the Planet European Tour in jeopardy, which was originally set to feature Pantera, Static-X, Cradle of Filth, Biohazard, and Vision of Disorder.

UK dates have been postponed due to flight restrictions, with a majority of groups opting out, leaving Slayer and Cradle of Filth remaining for the European portion of the tour.

Pantera, Static-X, Vision of Disorder and Biohazard have been replaced by other groups; Amorphis, In Flames, Moonspell, Children of Bodom and Necrodeath. Biohazard finally decided to join the tour later, and booked new concerts in the countries, where they missed a few dates.

Drummer Bostaph left Slayer before Christmas in 2001, due to a chronic elbow injury, which would hamper his ability to play. With Slayer's “God Hates Us All” tour unfinished, director Rick Sales contacted Lombardo, and asked if he would like to complete the remainder of the tour. Lombardo accepted the offer and will remain a permanent member.






Christ Illusion (2006-2008)

Original Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo joined the band in 2001 after a nine-year hiatus and performed on the albums Christ Illusion (2006) and World Painted Blood (2009) before returning in 2013.

The next studio album, Christ Illusion, was originally scheduled for release on June 6, 2006 and would be the first album with original drummer Lombardo since 1990. However, the band decided to delay the record's release because they didn't want to be among the many, according to King, "half-ass, stupid fucking losers" releasing records on June 6.

BAlthough USA Today reported that the idea was thwarted because the band failed to secure enough recording time in the studio. Slayer released Eternal Pyre on June 6 as a limited edition EP.

Five thousand copies were published and sold exclusively through Hot Topic chain stores, and sold out within hours of release. On June 30, Nuclear Blast Records released a 7 "vinyl record version limited to one thousand copies.

Christ Illusion was released on August 8, 2006 and debuted at number 5 on the Billboard 200, selling over 62,000 copies in its first week. Slayer has been inducted into the Kerrang! Hall of Fame for their influence on the heavy metal scene.

A world tour dubbed The Unholy Alliance Tour was undertaken to support the new record. The tour was originally scheduled to start on June 6, but was postponed to June 10 because Araya had to undergo gallbladder surgery.

The tour made its way across America and Europe and the groups that participated, apart from Thine Eyes Bleed, came together to perform at the Loudpark Festival in Japan on October 15, 2006.

The video for the album's first single, "Eyes of the Insane", was released on October 30, 2006. The track was featured on the Saw III soundtrack, and won a Grammy-Award for "Best Metal Performance" at the 49th Grammy Awards, although the group was unable to attend due to touring obligations.

A week later, the group visited the 52nd Service Squadron based at the US Air Force base in Spangdahlem, Germany to perform. This was the group's very first visit to a military base.

The group made their first TV appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel Live! Show on January 19, playing the song "Eyes of the Insane," and four additional songs for fans after the show (although footage from "Jihad Were cut due to its controversial lyrical themes).

Slayer toured Australia and New Zealand in April with Mastodon, and appeared at the Download Festival, Rock Am Ring, and a summer tour with Marilyn Manson and Bleeding Through.


World Painted Blood (2009-2011)

In 2008, Araya declared his uncertainty about the future of the group, and that he could not see himself continuing the career at a later age. He said once the band finished their next album, which was the last record on their deal, the band would sit down and discuss their future.

King thought the band would produce at least two more albums before considering disbanding: “We're talking about going to the studio next February [2009] and releasing the next album so if we get it right on time I won't. see no reason why we can't release more than one album. "

Slayer, along with Trivium, Mastodon and Amon Amarth, then teamed up for a European tour called "The Unholy Alliance: Chapter III", in October and November 2008.

The group's eleventh studio album, World Painted Blood, has been released on American Recordings. It was available November 3 in North America and November 2 for the rest of the world.

The group said the album picks up elements from all of their previous works, including Seasons in the Abyss, South of Heaven and Reign in Blood. Megadeth and Slayer joined forces once again for the American Carnage Tour from July to October 2010, with Anthrax and Testament.

In early 2011, Hanneman was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis. Doctors said it was likely from a spider bite, according to the group.

Araya said of Hanneman's condition: “Jeff was seriously ill. Jeff ended up contracting a bacteria that was eating his flesh on his arm, so they opened his arm, from wrist to shoulder, and they did a skin graft on him, they cleaned up… It was a virus. eater of flesh, so he was really, really bad. So we'll wait for him to improve, and when he's one hundred percent, he'll come out and join us. "

The band decides to play their upcoming tour dates without Hanneman. Gary Holt of Exodus replaced Hanneman. On April 23, 2011, during the American Big 4 show in Indio, Calif., Hanneman joined his bandmates to perform the last two songs of their ensemble, "South of Heaven" and "Angel of Death".

This turned out to be Hanneman's last live performance with the band.


The death of Hanneman, the third split of Lombardo and Repentless (2011-2016)

When asked if Slayer would do another album, Lombardo replied “Yes absolutely; although there is nothing written, there are certainly plans. However, Araya said that Slayer wouldn't start writing a new album until Hanneman's condition improved.

To celebrate Reign In Blood's 25th anniversary, the band performed all tracks from the album at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival at Alexandra Palace in London.

In November 2011, Lombardo posted a tweet that the band was starting to write new music. This likely meant that Hanneman's condition had improved, and he was believed to be ready to enter the studio.


King had worked with Lombardo that year and they completed three songs. The group planned to enter the studio in March or April 2012 and hoped the album would be recorded before the group's US tour in late May and release it by the summer of that year.

However, King said at the time that the upcoming album wouldn't be finished until September and October of this year, making a 2013 release likely.

In July 2012, King revealed two song titles for the upcoming album, “Chasing Death” and “Implode”.

In February 2013, Lombardo was fired just before Slayer performed at the Australian Soundwave Festival due to an argument with band members over a salary dispute.

Slayer and American Recordings issue a statement, saying that “Mr. Lombardo came to the group less than a week before their scheduled departure for Australia to present an entirely new set of terms for his engagement which were contrary to those which had been previously. "

Lombardo was then officially out of Slayer for the third time, and in May, Bostaph joined the group.

Exodus guitarist Gary Holt joined Slayer in 2011, originally as a touring member, and later became an official replacement for Jeff Hanneman, who died in 2013.

On May 2, 2013, Hanneman died of liver failure at a local hospital near his home in the Inland Empire of southern California; the cause of death was then determined to be alcohol-related cirrhosis.

King confirmed that the group would continue, saying, “Jeff is going to be on everyone's mind for a long time. It is unfortunate that you cannot prevent unfortunate things from happening.

But we will continue - and it 'I'll be there in spirit. However, Araya felt more uncertain about the band's future, expressing her belief that "After 30 years [with Hanneman active in the band] it would literally be like starting over."

Despite the uncertainty about the group's future, Slayer has always worked on a follow-up to World Painted Blood. In addition, the new album would contain material written by Hanneman.

The band announced that they have signed with Nuclear Blast, and are planning to release a new album in 2015. It has been reported that Holt will take over the duties of fulltime hanneman guitar, although Holt was not involved in songwriting.

In February, Slayer announced a seventeen date US tour to begin in June with Suicidal Tendencies and Exodus. In 2015, Slayer titled the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival for the second time. Without Repentance, the group's twelfth studio album, was released on September 11, 2015.

Slayer has been on a two and a half year tour in support of Repentless. The group toured Europe with Anthrax and Kvelertak in October and November 2015 and embarked on three North American tours: one with Testament and Carcass in February and March 2016 then with Anthrax and Death Angel in September and October 2016. Only one date in South East Asia in 2017 took place in the Philippines.


Thirteenth studio album canceled, farewell tour and separation (2016-2019)

In August 2016, guitarist Kerry King was asked if Slayer would be releasing a Repentless sequel.

He replied, “We have a lot of leftovers from the last album, because we wrote so much, and we also recorded a lot.

If the lyrics don't musically change the song, those songs are over. So we have a head start on the game without even having to do anything for the next album. And I worked on stuff on my downtime.

Like, I'm going to warm up and a riff will come to my mind and I'll record it. I have a handful. So the wheels are still turning. I haven't worked on anything lyrically yet other than what was done on the last album, so it's something I have to do. But, yeah, Repentless isn't quite a year old yet. "

King also said that Slayer is not due to enter the studio until at least 2018. In an October interview on Hatebreed frontman Jamey Jasta's podcast, King said he was "completely open" to the fact that the guitarist Gary Holt (who didn't contribute songwriting on Repentless) is involved in the writing process for Slayer's next album.

He explained, “I'm quite open to Gary working on something. It doesn't mean it will or won't happen. But my ears are open. "


On January 22, 2018, Slayer announces his Farewell World Tour, which began in North America in May and June, supported by Anthrax, Behemoth and Testament. The second stop of the North American tour took place in July and August, with Napalm Death replacing Behemoth, followed in November and December by a European tour with Lamb of God, Anthrax and Obituary.

The farewell tour continued in 2019, with plans to visit places such as South America, Australia and Japan; In addition to European festivals such as Hellfest and Graspop, Slayer also performs in Mexico at Force Fest in October 2018.

On December 2, 2018, Holt announced that he would not be playing the rest of the group's European tour because his father was dying. As a result, Vio-lence and former Machine Head guitarist Phil Demmel will replace him.

Holt had stated that Slayer would not be releasing a new album until the farewell tour was over.

The final North American stop on the tour, dubbed “The Last Campaign,” took place in November 2019 and also included support from Primus, Ministry and Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals. Despite being labeled a farewell tour for Slayer, their manager Rick Sales has said the band is not going their separate ways, but have no plans to perform live again.

Kristen Mulderig, who works with Rick Sales Entertainment Group, has also reportedly said there will be Slayer-related activity after the tour ends. However, within two days of the tour's end, the King's wife Ayesha said on her Instagram page that there was "no chance" that Slayer would come together to perform more shows or come out of the hall. new music.

In March 2020, speaking to Guitar World about his latest endorsement with Dean Guitars, King hinted that he would continue to make music outside of Slayer, simply saying, “Dean didn't sign me for nothing! When asked by the Let There Be Talk podcast in June 2020 if a Slayer reunion would ever happen, Holt said, 'If it happens, if it happens, it has nothing to do with me.' .



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