Boasting curdled vocals, apocalyptic riffs, and an unrelenting sense of doom, Slayer spent four decades as one of thrash metal’s premier bands. Vocalist/bassist Tom Araya, guitarists Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King, and drummer Dave Lombardo came together in Huntington Park, CA, in 1981, taking inspiration from metal pioneers and the local punk scene while drawing on Satanism for lyrical imagery. Slayer’s 1983 debut, Show No Mercy, was a watershed moment in thrash, setting the stage for the genre of death metal. Live Undead then introduced their intense live show to the world, and its follow-up, Hell Awaits, expanded on the band’s fundamentals, with sprawling arrangements and road-honed musicianship. Their next album, Reign In Blood, was a breakthrough; produced by Def Jam guru Rick Rubin and stuffed with gruesome tracks like the lyrically controversial “Angel of Death,” it catapulted Slayer to the forefront of the thrash scene and placed them solidly in thrash’s Big Four alongside Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax. Subsequent LPs South of Heaven (1988), Seasons In the Abyss (1990), and Divine Intervention (1994) capture Slayer at their fast and loud peak, blending Araya’s bleak caterwauls with mind-bending solos and punishing rhythms. Slayer paid tribute to their punk roots with the 1996 covers album Undisputed Attitude; in the 2000s, they probed issues such as envy and self-control on God Hates Us All and Christ Illusion. Hanneman passed away in 2013, and two years later the band released Repentless, their final album and only recording without the guitarist. After a farewell tour, Slayer disbanded in 2019, leaving a legacy of bludgeoning riffs, pummeling drums, and a vision of metal that took its darkest elements to the extreme.
ORIGINHuntington Park, CA