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Slayer Hits the Road with Fellow Thrash Legends

Slayer is still reigning after 30 years of metal majesty Slayer is still reigning after 30 years of metal majesty

Few musical acts in the history of music have inspired as frenzied and loyal a fanbase as Los Angeles thrash metal pioneers – Slayer. The quartet’s fans worship the band with a devotion to rival the likes of Grateful Dead, Phish, and Jimmy Buffett fans. Therefore, it is with great joy that Slayer fans received the news of this Fall’s U.S. tour, which unites the band with two of their fellow “Big Four” thrash acts – Anthrax and Megadeth.

Slayer has been relentless since forming almost three decades ago in 1981. They have released 11 full-length studio albums since their first release, 1983’s Show No Mercy. Their latest album, last year’s World Painted Blood continues the Slayer tradition of thundering metal.

But what makes Slayer so special is that they created the blueprint for extreme music, and they have never compromised. Unlike the other founding fathers of thrash – Anthrax, Megadeth, and Metallica – Slayer has never veered too far from the sound and themes of their first album. Some might decry their unwillingness to grow, but their hardcore fanbase appreciates them for staying true to them and the genre they helped invent.

When Show No Mercy hit the shelves in 1983, there was little precedent for what Slayer was up to. Britain’s Venom had begun playing faster, heavier metal with Satanic themes, but Slayer upped the ante by drawing even more influence from hardcore punk acts like Bad Brains and Minor Threat. The result was a punk and metal hybrid played at faster tempos than any previous metal band, but with more sophisticated musicianship than hardcore punk bands.

Their next recording, 1984’s Haunting the Chapel continued Slayer’s progression into the realm of fast-paced, technical, and dark music. 1985’s Hell Awaits picked up right where Haunting the Chapel left off, attracting still more fans in the underground, and laying the groundwork for one of heavy metal’s most important albums – 1986’s Reign in Blood.

Reign in Blood remains the gold standard of aggressive music to this day. No band, including Slayer themselves, has ever been able to recapture that pitch-perfect blend of insanity, barely contained chaos, technical execution, and macabre lyrical imagery.

Songs like “Raining Blood” and the iconic “Angel of Death” are indispensible components of the heavy metal canon. Reign in Blood not only defined the genre of thrash metal, it set the bar for every heavy band to come. It's impossible to overstate the influence and reach of that release.

Closing out their third decade of dark and heavy music, Slayer is still going strong. Their Fall tour of large venues around the U.S. with fellow metal pioneers Anthrax and Megadeth is a sign of fans’ irrepressible appetite for Slayer’s brand of aggression. They alone of the biggest ‘80s thrash metal bands have never softened, and that has earned them the devotion of some of the music world’s most rabid fans. Long live Slayer.

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Last modified on Friday, 17 June 2011 16:17

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