Slayer is an American thrash metal band from Huntington Park, California, formed in 1981 by guitarist Kerry King and drummer Dave Lombardo. Slayer rose to fame with its 1986 release Reign in Blood, and is credited as one of the big four thrash metal bands, along with Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax. Since its debut album in 1983, the band has released studio albums. Four of the studio albums 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, Slayer has also played at several music festivals worldwide, including Unholy Alliance, Download and Ozzfest. Slayers musical style involves fast tremolo picking, double bass drumming, riffs in irregular scales, in the original line-up, King, Hanneman, and lead vocalist/bassist Tom Araya contributed to the bands lyrics, and all of the bands music was written by King, Hanneman and Lombardo. However, its music has been influential, often being cited by many bands as an influence musically, visually. Between 1991 and 2013, the band sold 4.9 million albums in the United States, Slayer was founded in 1981, when drummer Dave Lombardo met guitarist Kerry King. Upon meeting, the two discovered they had similar taste in music and in their aspirations. King soon introduced guitarist Jeff Hanneman and recruited Chilean-born bassist and vocalist Tom Araya, 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 known as Dragonslayer, after the 1981 movie of the same name, were denied by King, as he stated, We never were. The band was invited to open for Bitch at the Woodstock Club in Anaheim, California, performing eight songs, six of which were covers. While playing a gig, the band was spotted by Brian Slagel, impressed with Slayer, he 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 contract with Metal Blade. Without a recording budget, the band was forced to self-finance its debut album, combining the savings of Araya, who was employed as a respiratory therapist, and money borrowed from Kings father, the band entered the studio in November 1983. The album was rushed into release, hitting shelves three weeks after tracks were completed, the tour gave the band additional popularity, sales of Show No Mercy reached more than 20,000 in the US and another 20,000 worldwide. In August 1984, Slayer released a three song EP titled Haunting the Chapel, the EP featured a darker, more thrash-oriented style than its predecessor, and laid the groundwork for the future direction of the band
Image: Slayer Performing at Mayhem fest 2009
Jeff Hanneman was the guitarist of Slayer for 30 years, from 1981 to 2011. He was the main songwriter along with Kerry King, as well as a lyricist.
Guitarist Kerry King is one of the two constant members of Slayer.
Bassist/vocalist Tom Araya is one of the two constant members of Slayer.