|Slayer at the Mayhem Festival 2009|
I remember a bunch of friends talking about Slayer back in the 80s, but I never knew much about them.
A conversation with a guy today at a local restaurant prompted me to research and find out whatever happened to this controversial group.
Slayer's music was prominently featured in 1987's troubled-teen film River's Edge. A 1988 concert in New York's Felt Forum had to be stopped when fans rampaged, tearing up seats and pelting the stage with debris. And all five teens featured on the "Kids Who Kill" episode of Geraldo cited Slayer as one of their favorite bands, the magazine said.
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.
The band is still actively touring and just confirmed on the NovaRock Festival in Nicklesdorf Austria on June 13, 2014, according to their official website. They are doing this minus founding member, Jeff Hanneman. Hanneman contributed both lyrical and musical material to every Slayer album and wrote the songs "Raining Blood", "War Ensemble", "South of Heaven", "Mandatory Suicide", "Chemical Warfare", "Seasons in the Abyss" and "Angel of Death", which have been played at almost every live Slayer show.
He had his own signature guitar, the ESP Jeff Hanneman Signature model. In early 2011, Hanneman contracted necrotizing fasciitis. Reports linked this illness with a spider bite he claimed to have received while in a friend's hot tub. In light of his illness and Slayer's upcoming participation in the Australian Soundwave Festival tour that was set to begin on February 26, 2011, the band made the decision to play the dates without Hanneman, and on February 16, 2011, brought on Gary Holt (guitarist of the band Exodus) to fill in for him. Pat O'Brien joined as Slayer's temporary second guitarist when Holt left the tour to play with Exodus.
In 2012, bandmate Tom Araya announced a recovery from the disease. However, later in February 2013, Kerry King revealed continuing health problems that kept Hanneman from working. Hanneman died of liver failure on May 2, 2013, in a Southern California hospital near his home. On May 9, 2013, the official cause of death was announced as alcohol-related cirrhosis. Hanneman and his family had apparently been unaware of the extent of the condition until shortly before his death.
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.