Photos © 2018 by: Bill Fisher
Biography: In 1981 when Slayer first formed in Huntington Park, CA, bassist/vocalist Tom Araya was 20 years old and worked as a respiratory therapist, guitarist Jeff Hanneman, a rehearsal studio employee at the time, was 17, drummer Dave Lombardo was 16 and delivered pizza, and 17-year old Kerry King was a full-time guitarist. At that time, there were no blueprints, no set paths, no boundaries or steps to follow; Slayer’s new hybrid of metal and punk, heavier, faster and darker than the rest, assaulted the world and set a new standard, defining not only a genre, but an attitude.
Fast forward nearly 37-years and Slayer remains the preeminent punk-thrash-metal band that other heavy acts are measured against and aspire to, and up-and-coming metal heads continue to revere and emulate. Slayer is a metal juggernaut, with songs that are dark, aggressive and without mercy, mirroring the turmoil and aberrations of our society.
Their membership in “The Big Four” – Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax – the four bands that defined the thrash/metal genre – secures the band’s place in music history. The five-time nominated, two-time Grammy-winners have also accumulated an abundance of certified Gold Albums along with “Best…” awards from media outlets all over the world, including Kerrang!, SPIN, Metal Hammer, Revolver, and Esquire. Slayer even has its own exhibit in the Smithsonian Institute. Throughout Slayer’s history, the band has never faltered in unleashing its extreme and focused sonic assault, and repudiating temptations, Slayer has chosen to remain crushing and brutal, steadfastly refusing to cater to the mainstream. Jeff Hanneman passed in 2013, and Exodus guitarist Gary Holt has been filling in for him since. Paul Bostaph, Slayer’s drummer from 1992 – 1996, then 1997 – 2001, rejoined Araya and King in 2013 and remains behind the kit.
In September 2015, Slayer released Repentless, the band’s 12th studio album, the first without Hanneman, first with Holt on guitar, first with producer Terry Date, and first on Nuclear Blast Records, to widespread rave reviews and the highest chart debut of the band’s career. The band also teamed up with director BJ McDonnell for three high-concept and brutal music videos for the album’s title track, then for “You Against You,” and the most recent, “Pride in Prejudice,” racking up a combined 28+-million views. Dark Horse Comics published a three-issue comic book series in 2016, based on McDonnell’s original story concept for the videos and written by “Metalocalypse” director Jon Schnepp.
On January 22, 2018, after a remarkable three-and-a-half decades, Slayer announced its decision to do one last world tour and then move on. All Hail Slayer.