|Origin: Huntington Park, California, United States|
|Genres: thrash metal|
|Years Active: 1981-present|
|Labels: Metal Blade, Def Jam, American|
|Members: Tom Araya, Kerry King, Gary Holt, Paul Bostaph|
|Past members: Jeff Hanneman, Dave Lombardo, John Dette|
Slayer is an American thrash metal band formed in Huntington Park, California in 1981 by guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman. Slayer rose to mainstream 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. Slayer's sales are in the estimated high 20 millions, although they have never publicly announced their sales worldwide. However, between the years 1991 and 2004, Slayer sold over 3.5 million albums in the U.S.
Slayer's musical style involves fast tremolo picking, double bass drumming, riffs in irregular scales and shouted vocals. In the original line-up, King, bassist/vocalist Tom Araya and guitarist Jeff Hanneman contributed to the band's lyrics, and most of the band's music was created and arranged by King and Hanneman, with additional help from drummer Dave Lombardo and sometimes Araya. The band's lyrics and album art, which cover topics such as serial killers, necrophilia, satanism, religion, anti-religion and warfare, have generated album bans, delays, lawsuits and criticism from religious groups and the public. Their music has been highly influential, often being cited by many bands as an influence musically, visually and lyrically.
Since their debut album in 1983, the band has released two live albums, one box set, six videos, two extended plays, a covers album and ten studio albums, four of which have received gold certification in the United States. The band has received five Grammy nominations, winning 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.
Early days (1981-1982)
Slayer was founded in 1981, when guitarist Kerry King met drummer Dave Lombardo. Upon meeting, the two quickly discovered they had similar taste in music and in their aspirations. Kerry soon introduced guitarist Jeff Hanneman and recruited Chilean-born bassist and vocalist Tom Araya, who had played with King before in the band Quits (previously known as Tradewinds). 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." They played their first gig Halloween 1981 at a talent show in Southgate, California.
The band was invited to open for Bitch at the Woodstock Club in Anaheim, California, 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", 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.
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