Slayer: A Retrospective

OMG it’s the Hash-slinging Slayer! Sorry, I had to.

By Christian Decker

News Co-Editor

On Monday, Slayer announced on their official Instagram that they would be performing one last world tour. Starting in May in California, Slayer will embark on their final North American tour. The news has shocked the metal community. There were even rumors, perpetuated by lead guitarist, Kerry King, that a new album was in the works. Needless to say, the news has surprised and saddened metal fans across the world. Slayer isn’t the only band announcing their retirement either. Norwegian black metal titans Satyricon, and progressive rock legends Rush, also announced their final tours this week. Slayer will welcome groove metal aficionados Lamb of God, fellow thrash pioneer Anthrax, blackened thrash demons Behemoth and thrash metal lords Testament, to accompany them on this legendary final tour.

Slayer started headbanging in the early 1980s as the glam metal acts were out being disgraces to music. Its members have remained mostly constant in their almost 40-year career. The line-up consisted of vocalist and bassist Tom Araya, guitarist Kerry King, guitarist Jeff Hanneman, and drummer Dave Lombardo, until Jeff Hanneman’s heartbreaking death in the late 2000’s. Hanneman was replaced by Gary Holt, a founding member of the thrash metal band Exodus. Slayer quickly grew to popularity and has been melting faces and opening pits to hell in all of their mosh pits and outdoor venues.

With their debut album “Show No Mercy”, Slayer introduced lyrical themes of Satanism, demonic entities, and otherwise stuff that people didn’t normally discuss in music in the 80’s. This caused an insane amount of controversy. Various religious groups tried to get the band banned or to boycott their music. Remember, this was also around the time that Tipper Gore led the crusade for the Parental Warning labels for music that the government deem, offensive, or inappropriate. Nevertheless, Slayer carried on and amidst the adversity,and  managed to have one hell of a career.

Slayer have had their share of excellent and critically acclaimed albums, their most famous being “Reign in Blood,” an undisputed thrash masterpiece according to most metal enthusiasts, with their signature tracks “Raining Blood,” with is literally about overthrowing heaven, and “Angel of Death” about a notorious Nazi doctor of the same nickname, which as you can imagine caused a lot of controversy. Other noteworthy albums include “God Hates Us All” with the blood-pumping track “Disciple” and “South of Heaven” in which Slayer slowed down a lot of their sound with classics like their title track, “Seasons in the Abyss”. This track contains my favorite song “Dead Skin Mask,” a song about notorious serial killer Ed Gein, who the movie “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” was based off.

Slayer is also one of the “The Big Four”, along with Megadeth, Metallica, and Anthrax, who are all credited with creating and developing the thrash metal sound. Slayer’s accomplishments are numerous, and it is with a heavy heart that we must say goodbye to this band. Slayer was actually one of the bands that got me into heavier music in the first place. Hopefully many of the metal-heads who read this article, including myself, get a chance to see them before they end their performing careers for good. Their closest tours to New York are in New Jersey and in Connecticut in June, and I would hurry up and get tickets because I can’t imagine there will be a lot left very soon!

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