Saturday, 10 March 2012



   Slayer is an American thrash metal band formed in Huntington Park, California, in 1981 by guitarists Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King. Slayer rose to fame with their 1986 release, Reign in Blood, and is credited as one of the "Big Four" thrash metal acts, along with Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax. Their album Reign in Blood is considered to be the foundation and inspiration of death metal.

   Slayer's musical traits involve fast tremolo picking, double bass drumming, and shouted (or chanted) vocals. Hanneman, King, and bassist/lead vocalist Tom Araya, contribute to the band's lyrics. King and Hanneman create and arrange the music with additional arrangement from drummer Dave Lombardo and sometimes Araya. The band's lyrics and album art, which cover topics such as serial killers, Satanism, religion and warfare, have generated album bans, delays, lawsuits and strong criticism from religious groups and the public.

   Since their debut album in 1983, the band has released two live albums, one box set, six videos, two extended plays, and eleven studio albums, four (Reign in Blood, South of Heaven, Seasons in the Abyss, and Divine Intervention in 1986, 1988, 1990, and 1994 respectively) of which have received gold certification in the United States. The band has received five Grammy nominations, winning two of them; one in 2007 for the song "Eyes of the Insane", and one in 2008 for the song "Final Six" (both from 2006's Christ Illusion). Slayer has played music festivals worldwide, including Unholy Alliance, Download, and Ozzfest. As of November 2011, Slayer has begun writing their next album.

   Slayer was founded in 1981, when guitarist Kerry King met Jeff Hanneman while auditioning for a band. They recruited Chilean bassist and vocalist Tom Araya, who had played with King before in the band Quits (previously known as Tradewinds). Drummer Dave Lombardo was recruited when he met King while delivering a pizza. The band played cover versions of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest songs at clubs and parties in Southern California. Early shows relied on a Satanic image, which featured pentagrams, make-up, spikes, and inverted crosses. Rumors that the band was originally known as Dragonslayer, after the 1981 movie of the same name, were denied by King, as he stated, "We never were; it's a myth to this day."

   The band was invited to open for Bitch at the Woodstock Club in Los Angeles, performing eight songs — six being covers. While playing Iron Maiden's "Phantom of the Opera" the band was spotted by Brian Slagel, a former music journalist who had, at the time, recently founded the label Metal Blade Records. Impressed with Slayer's performance, Slagel met with the band backstage and asked them to record an original song, "Aggressive Perfector" ( sample (help·info)), for his upcoming Metal Massacre III compilation. The band agreed and the song created underground "buzz", which led to Slagel offering the band a recording contract with Metal Blade.

Band members:


  • Tom Araya – lead vocals, bass guitar (1981–present)
  • Jeff Hanneman – guitars (1981–present)
  • Kerry King – guitars (1981–present)
  • Dave Lombardo – drums (1981–1986, 1987–1992, 2001–present)

  • Gary Holt – guitars (2011)
  • Pat O'Brien – guitars (2011)

  • Tony Scaglione – drums (1986–1987)
  • Paul Bostaph – drums (1992–1996, 1997–2001)
  • Jon Dette – drums (1996–1997)


   Show No Mercy is the debut album by American thrash metal band Slayer, released in December 1983 through Metal Blade Records. Brian Slagel signed the band to Metal Blade after watching the band perform the song "Phantom of the Opera" by Iron Maiden. The band was forced to self-finance their debut album, combining the savings of vocalist Tom Araya, who was employed as a respiratory therapist, and money borrowed from guitarist Kerry King's father.

   Touring extensively promoting the album, the band brought close friends and family members along the trip, who helped backstage with lighting and sound. Although criticized for poor production quality, it became Metal Blade Records highest selling release, also producing the songs "Die by the Sword", "The Antichrist" and "Black Magic", which are played at Slayer's live shows regularly.

   Although the band did not have enough time to sell any records while touring, the album became Metal Blade Records' highest selling release. Five thousand copies was the label's average. Show No Mercy went on to sell over 15,500 to 20,000 copies in the United States; it also went on to sell over 15,000 overseas, as Metal Blade had worldwide rights. The success of the album led to Slagel wanting the band to release a new record and an extended play.


   Hell Awaits is the second studio album by the American thrash metal band Slayer, released through Metal Blade Records in 1985. The band's previous release, Show No Mercy, became Metal Blade Records' highest selling release; as a result, producer Brian Slagel desired to release a second Slayer album. To that end, Slagel financed a recording budget (Show No Mercy was paid for by band members) and recruited several experienced producers to help in the studio.

   Lyrical themes on Hell Awaits are darker than on Show No Mercy, and included hell and Satan. The intro of the first track "Hell Awaits" played backwards reveals the repeated phrase "join us". Musically, the album features the band's most progressive and diverse work compared to their previous releases, and according to Kerry King, he and Jeff Hanneman were very into Mercyful Fate at the time, which then led to the longer and more progressive songs. Defined as "influential to future extreme metal acts," the most popular songs from Hell Awaits were re-recorded by various underground metal bands and have appeared on several tribute albums. Musicians such as singer Phil Anselmo and drummer Gene Hoglan cite Hell Awaits as an influence.

   To promote Hell Awaits, Slayer embarked on the Combat Tour with Venom and Exodus. Exodus guitarist Gary Holt commented, "We immediately bonded with the Slayer guys. It was two bands of friends playing with one band of heroes, you know? We were just star-struck."

   Inside Venom's tour bus (the first time Slayer had been in one) the band members got drunk with Venom, while listening to Hell Awaits. Araya entered the bus "hammered out of his mind," according to Lombardo, saying "I gotta take a piss! Where’s the bathroom in this thing?" Venom singer Conrad "Cronos" Lant responded, saying "Right here—right here in my mouth!" Araya took him literally and urinated on his hair. Cronos got up and punched him in the face, the two blamed each other all night, and Araya continued the tour with a black eye.


   Reign in Blood is the third studio album and the major label debut by the American thrash metal band Slayer. It was released on October 7, 1986 through Def Jam Recordings. The album was the band's first collaboration with record producer Rick Rubin, whose input helped the band's sound evolve. Reign in Blood was universally well received by both critics and fans, and was responsible for bringing Slayer to the attention of a mainstream metal audience. Kerrang! magazine described the record as "the heaviest album of all time," and a breakthrough in thrash metal and speed metal. Alongside Metallica's Master of Puppets, Anthrax's Among the Living and Megadeth's Peace Sells... but Who's Buying?, Reign in Blood is considered by critics one of the most influential heavy metal albums of all time, thrash metal in particular.

   Reign in Blood's release was delayed because of concerns regarding its graphic artwork and lyrical subject matter. The opening track, "Angel of Death", which refers to Josef Mengele and describes acts, such as human experimentation, that Mengele committed at the Auschwitz concentration camp, provoked allegations of Nazism. However, the band stated numerous times they do not condone Nazism, and are merely interested in the subject. The album was Slayer's first to enter the Billboard 200; the release peaked at number 94, and was certified Gold on November 20, 1992.

   Slayer embarked on the Reign in Pain tour with the bands Overkill in the United States and Malice in Europe; they also served as the opening act for W.A.S.P.'s US tour in 1987. After a month of touring drummer Lombardo quit the band; he said, "I wasn't making any money. I think I had just gotten married, and I figured if we were gonna be doing this professionally—on a major label—I wanted my rent and utilities paid." To continue the tour Slayer enlisted Whiplash drummer Tony Scaglione.

   Rubin called Lombardo daily to insist he return, telling him, "Dude, you gotta come back in the band." Rubin offered Lombardo a salary, but he was still hesitant about returning; at this point Lombardo had been out of the band for several months. Lombardo's wife convinced him to return in 1987; Rubin came to his house and picked him up in his Porsche, taking him to a Slayer rehearsal.


   South of Heaven is the fourth studio album by American thrash metal band Slayer. Released on July 5, 1988, the album was the band's second collaboration with record producer Rick Rubin, whose production skills on Slayer's previous album Reign in Blood had helped the band's sound evolve.

   South of Heaven was Slayer's second album to enter the Billboard 200, and its last to be released by Def Jam Recordings, although the album became an American Recordings album after Rick Rubin ended his partnership with Russell Simmons. It was one of only two Def Jam titles to be distributed by Geffen Records through Warner Bros. Records because of original distributor Columbia Records's refusal to release work by the band. The release peaked at number 57 and in 1992 was awarded a gold certification by the Recording Industry Association of America. In order to offset the pace of the group's previous album, Slayer deliberately slowed down the album's tempo. In contrast to their previous albums, the band utilized undistorted guitars and toned-down vocals. While some critics praised this musical change, others—more accustomed to the style of earlier releases—were disappointed. Despite this, the songs "Mandatory Suicide" and the title track became permanent features of the band's live setlist.

   Artist Larry Carroll designed the cover artwork for South of Heaven, having designed the artwork for Slayer's previous album Reign in Blood. Photographer Glen E. Friedman took the promotional shot which surfaced as the back cover of South of Heaven around the time of 1986's Reign in Blood. Lombardo felt it made Slayer seem as though they "had matured a little bit", while Friedman himself deemed it "a really cool back cover" and "one of the most classic shots of them [Slayer] ever."


   Seasons in the Abyss is the fifth studio album by the thrash metal band Slayer. It was released on October 9, 1990 through Def American Records, and later through American Recordings after the company changed its name. The album's recording sessions began in January 1990. The sessions began at Hit City West, Hollywood Sound, and in June, the sessions ended at Record Plant in Los Angeles, California.

   The musical style of the album is similar and was compared by critics to the band's previous two albums: South of Heaven and Reign In Blood. The album's reception was generally positive, with Allmusic rewarding the album with a rating of four and a half out of five stars and Entertainment Weekly gave the album a B+. It peaked number 18 in the United Kingdom and also charted on the Billboard 200 at number 40. It was certified gold in both the United States and Canada.


   Divine Intervention is the sixth studio album by American thrash metal band Slayer. Released on September 27, 1994 through American Recordings, it was their first album featuring Paul Bostaph, replacing the band's original drummer Dave Lombardo. Several of the songs on the album were inspired by television shows. The production posed as a challenge to the record company, as its marketing situation drew arguments over the album's explicitness. The band used the Decade of Aggression live album to give them time to decide the album's style. Since it was released nearly four years after Seasons in the Abyss, vocalist Tom Araya said that there was more time spent on production compared to the band's previous albums. The cover was painted and designed by Wes Benscoter.

   Even though so much time was spent on production, Kerry King said that the mixing and mastering should have had more attention. The song's origins not only come from television, but were also inspired by various other things, including Rush Limbaugh, serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, and Araya's wife. Araya concluded that the album "came out of the past four years of hating life."

   The album received mixed reviews by critics, with Allmusic giving it three out of five stars, and The Deseret News giving it a positive review. The album sold 193,000 copies in its first week, and on April 30, 2002, Nielsen SoundScan reported that it had sold over 3,405,092 copies. It peaked number eight on the Billboard 200 and charted at number 15 on UK Albums Chart. It was rewarded a Gold in the United States and in Canada. An extended play entitled Serenity in Murder was released shortly after the album.

   The album was issued in a clear jewel box with a die-cut cardboard O-card. It included sixteen pages, which fold out to be a poster, which displays the cover art. Both the disc and the disc tray feature — as described by Chris Morris — an "image reflective of the mania displayed by the group's fans. and exemplary of American frequently deployed shock tactics: a kid carving the band's name into his arms with a scalpel." The front cover was painted and designed by Wes Benscoter, an American artist who would later paint the covers for the other Slayer releases Undisputed Attitude and Live Intrusion. Mike Bone from American Recordings said that "we captured this not only by photography, but with video — him actually doing it." The album sleeve features for the first time the backronym Satan Laughs As You Eternally Rot.


   Undisputed Attitude is the seventh studio album by American thrash metal band Slayer. The album is a collection of punk covers of bands like Minor Threat, T.S.O.L., D.R.I. and The Stooges. Guitarist Jeff Hanneman used two of the four punk songs he had written in 1984 and 1985 as part of a side project called Pap Smear, while King and vocalist Tom Araya wrote an original song titled "Gemini".

   Released on May 28, 1996 through American Recordings, Undisputed Attitude peaked at number 34 on the Billboard 200.

   Undisputed Attitude was released on May 28, 1996, and peaked at number 34 on the Billboard 200 album chart. Paul Kott of Allmusic commented that "Undisputed Attitude, while not perfect, is a fitting tribute to the bands that inspired Slayer to break from the traditional metal mold." Sandy Masuo of Rolling Stone reasoned; "some punk purists will undoubtedly cry foul, but when the dust settles it's hard to argue with Slayer's metal." Entertainment Weekly's Chuck Eddy dubbed Slayer's cover interpretations "generic hardcore-punk", and observed that the group "seem to think that playing as fast and rigidly as possible makes for harder rock -- but it's just lazy shtick".

   Reviewing 2003 Slayer box set Soundtrack to the Apocalypse, Adrien Begrand of PopMatters dismissed the effort as "easily the weakest album in the Slayer catalogue", while Westword Online's Michael Roberts dubbed the record their "biggest mistake." Araya has since stated that he "knew it wouldn't do very well, people want to hear Slayer! The real die-hards picked up on it and that was expected."


   Diabolus in Musica is the eighth studio album by American thrash metal band Slayer. Released on June 9, 1998, it is the third studio album to feature drummer Paul Bostaph. Although receiving mixed critical reviews, the album sold 46,000 copies in its first week to peak at number 31 on the Billboard 200.

   Guitarist Jeff Hanneman wrote most of the album's content which has been described as Slayer's most experimental album. It is the band's first studio album to be played mostly in C# tuning. The album's title is a Latin term for "The Devil in Music", a musical interval known for its dissonance. Lyrical themes explored on the album include religion, deviants, death, maniacs, war, and serial killers.


   God Hates Us All is the ninth studio album by American thrash metal band Slayer. Released on September 11, 2001, the album received positive critical reviews, although it entered the Billboard 200 at number 28. It was recorded in three months at The Warehouse Studio in Canada, and includes the Grammy Award-nominated "Disciple". The album is the band's last to feature drummer Paul Bostaph.

   Guitarist Kerry King wrote the majority of the lyrics, taking a different approach from earlier recordings by exploring topics such as religion, murder, revenge and self-control. Limiting the lyrics to subject matter most could relate to, King wanted to tackle realistic themes. The band experimented; recording most of the album in C# tuning, with three songs in drop B, while two others were played with seven-string guitars in B♭. The album's release was delayed due to the explicit cover artwork -which led to alternative slip covers in some retail outlets- difficulties during audio mixing, and a change of distributor by the band's record label during the release period.


   Christ Illusion is the tenth studio album by the American thrash metal band Slayer. Released on August 8, 2006, the album received generally favorable critical reviews, and it entered the Billboard 200 at number 5—the band's highest U.S. chart position to date. Christ Illusion includes the Grammy Award-winning songs "Eyes of the Insane" and "Final Six", and is the band's first studio album to feature original drummer Dave Lombardo since 1990's Seasons in the Abyss.

   Depicting a mutilated Christ painted by longtime collaborator Larry Carroll, the album's graphic artwork courted controversy. An alternative cover was issued to conservative retailers who felt uncomfortable with the original. Lyrical themes, particularly in the song "Jihad" which describes the September 11 attacks from a terrorist perspective. A Mumbai-based Christian group, the Catholic Secular Forum, was outraged by this and thus demanded a recall. As a result, all Indian stocks of the album were recalled and destroyed by EMI India.


   World Painted Blood is the eleventh studio album by American thrash metal band Slayer. It was released through American Recordings and Sony Music on November 3, 2009 and was produced by Greg Fidelman and executively produced by Rick Rubin. It is the band's only album produced by Greg Fidelman. With much anticipation for the album after 2006's Christ Illusion, members of Slayer were revealing information about the album since early 2009. There were four different artworks released for the album, each which completed one-fourth of a map, that when put together, illustrates the earth painted with red. There are eleven tracks on the album, with origins illustrating death and destruction, war, serial killers, and the Apocalypse. It is the band's first studio album to be played in E-flat tuning since Divine Intervention.

   Three singles were released from the album: "Psychopathy Red", "Hate Worldwide", and "World Painted Blood". "Psychopathy Red" leaked onto the internet over a year before its release, and was released as a seven–inch single on April 18, 2009. The album received generally positive reviews from music critics. It was praised by The A.V. Club, who said that the "resounding success in that regard: It's eclectic, but never self-consciously so." "Hate Worldwide" and "World Painted Blood" were both nominated for Best Metal Performance at the 53rd Grammy Awards, and the album peaked at number two on the US Top Hard Rock Albums chart, as well as twelve on the Billboard 200 and forty-one on the United Kingdom album chart.

   In June 2009, it was announced that the album would be released in the late summer of 2009. The album was released on November 3, 2009. The album's artwork was revealed on September 15, 2009. Four different covers were equally shipped for a standard that when put together, they create a world map covered in blood. The album has four special collector's edition CD covers, and each of them "display one-fourth of a provocative continental map illustrated with human skulls and bones; when placed together, the four images form a complete and grisly map of the world." Each album has a blood-red, transparent top panel, with the map displayed beneath it. The full map is also seen in a sleeve of the double-digipak edition of World Painted Blood.

And now it's time for some real metal:

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