Slayer is one of the most significant and renowned heavy metal bands, not just in the USA but also in countries like Canada, Italy, Spain and UK. Their music genre can more specifically be classified as thrash metal or speed metal and it is needless to say that Slayer is actually pretty good at what it does.
The band was formed in 1981 by guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman who later met vocalist Tom Araya and Dave Lombardo. Slayer initially started playing covers of heavy metal bands like Iron Maiden at parties and clubs in California which is how they got discovered by music journalist ‘Brian Seagal’. Seagal approached the band and asked them to record a single for him. After the success of their first single "Aggressive Perfector", Seagal offered Slayer a recording contract and they went on to produce their own album ‘Show No Mercy’ in 1983.
Slayer’s success at the Grammies is an honest reflection of how well they have been doing. They got nominated for the ‘Best Metal Performance’ Grammy Award five times, of which they won twice; once in 2007 for their album ‘Eyes of the Insane’ and once in 2008 for their album ‘Final Six’. Slayer has managed to become so influential over the years that the birth of ‘death metal’ is owed to them. In addition to this, MTV ranked them as the 6th ‘Greatest Metal Band of All Time’, VH1 ranked them 50 on their ‘100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock’ list, Guitar World ranked King and Hanneman 10 on their list of ‘100 Greatest Metal Guitarists of All time’ and their drummer Lombardo was voted best drummer as well.
Although Slayer has managed to gain increasing popularity over the years amongst its devoted fans, the content and theme of their music has remained largely controversial. With most of their songs pertaining to topics like war, religion, Satanism, serial killers and other contentious subjects. Slayer has had to deal with law suits, bans and other forms of concern from religious groups as well as the general public. In most of their beginning performances, Slayer heavily incorporated satanic elements through images of pentagrams, use of makeup, inverted crosses and similar objects, which obviously stirred up serious public concern.
Amongst other controversies, Slayer has been known to have a Nazi inclination because of their eagle shaped logo which is very similar to the Nazi swastika and also because of their song called ‘Angel of Death’ which is how the German doctor in concentration camps was known by inmates. The band responded to these accusations by saying that they were merely interested in Nazism and did not actually condone it. Slayer has also been accused of white supremacist notions, anti-Christ ideas and focus on jihad, all of which were justified as objects of interest by the band.
To date, Slayer has produced a total of eleven albums. Starting with ‘Show no Mercy’ in 1983, they went on to produce their second album ‘Hell awaits’ in 1985, followed by ‘Reign in Blood’ (1986), ‘South of Heaven’ (1988), ‘Seasons in the Abyss’ (1990-1993), ‘Divine Intervention’ (1994), ‘Undisputed Attitude’ (1996), ‘Diabolus in Musica’ (1998), ‘God Hates Us All’(2001), ‘Christ illusion’ (2006-2008) and ‘World Painted Blood’ (2009-2011). The band has plans of making a new album soon; however, no time frame has been specified by them as yet.
In terms of its members, the band has had very few changes over the years. The vocalist, Tom Araya and both the guitarists, Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman, have continuously been with the band since 1981. The drummers, however, have kept changing off and on with Dave Lombardo leaving in 1986, coming back in 1987 and then leaving again in 1982 only to come back later in 2001. The band inducted Tony Scaglione, Paul Bostaph and Jon Dette during the times when Lombardo wasn’t around.
The band isn’t only famous for their unique lyrics but is also revered for their skilled music composition. King and Hanneman’s performances have been called ‘twisted genius’, owing to their solos and Lombardo’s is known as ‘the godfather of the double bass’ because of his use of dual bass drums. So to see the gods of death metal in action, get your Slayer Tickets now because witnessing Slayer perform is an opportunity not to be missed.
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