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Rockdetector Biography

YEARS 1981-1984, 1985-1986, 1987-1989, 1990-1995, 1996-2007

SLAYER are without question the most sinister of the acts to break out onto the world stage from the early eighties American thrash phenomenon. With an unwillingness to compromise they have seemingly defied all the odds to place themselves in the position of regular chart breakers.

The band's music is unrelentingly intense, initially fuelled by drummer DAVE LOMBARDO, often voted as the 'World's best drummer' in many Metal mags, the mainstay lethal twin guitars of Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman together with the almost inhuman vocals of bassist Tom Araya (a former hospital respiratory therapist). This union made SLAYER not only mould-breakers but an act faithfully plagiarized by countless lesser bands. The group has never come close to pandering to radio and lyrically they are unafraid to venture into the realms of the most despicable and overtly controversial. Satanism and Nazism are familiar territories for SLAYER.

Initial recordings were marred by inadequate production and thus universally dismissed as derisory by the world's rock media. Even hardened Thrash fans found SLAYER's inaugural bursts of speed noise, when compared with rising stars such as MEGADETH, ANTHRAX and METALLICA, difficult to stomach.

Founded in 1981 by uniting former SABOTAGE drummer Lombardo, King and Araya from QUITS and Hanneman SLAYER, originally titled DRAGONSLAYER after the 1981 movie of the same name. At first they pursued a traditional heavy metal stance musically, even sporting face make-up in early pictures, but debuting with the fast track 'Aggressive Perfector' on the 'Metal Massacre IV' compilation album on Metal Blade Records persuaded the band to adopt a more intense leaning. A three track rehearsal demo tape followed in May 1983 comprising of 'Fight 'Til Death', 'Black Magic' and 'The Antichrist', which rapidly became a much traded item on the underground metal scene. That August SLAYER demoed again, putting down 'Evil Has No Boundaries' and 'Crionics'.

King teamed up with fellow Los Angeles speed metal band MEGADETH performing live gigs on a temporary basis. During this period of flux Lombardo was briefly supplanted by drummer Bob Gourley, later to join DARK ANGEL then create POWERLORD. The former outfit would prove to be a huge influence on the band and, coincidentlly, SLAYER's then lighting technician Gene Hoglan enrolled into the ranks of DARK ANGEL as their drummer.

Brian Slagel, Metal Blade mentor, was quick to notice the reaction to SLAYER's 'Metal Massacre IV' inclusion and duly signed the band up putting them in the studio in November to record 'Show No Mercy' whilst Lombardo graduated from high school. These sessions would be financed by Kerry King's father and Tom Araya's employment as a respiratory therapist. 'Show No Mercy' was rush released in December 1983, emerging a matter of weeks after the band had completed the tracks. The mainstream Rock press hated the record, proclaiming it to be an unintelligible mess, but much to their dismay it still sold in legion.

The band got out on the road, even putting in an English appearance at London's Marquee club, before setting off on the 'Haunting North America' tour. This trek was backed by the issue of the EP 'Haunting The Chapel' in August 1984. SLAYER's no compromise approach saw them using inverted crosses onstage and King wearing leather armbands encrusted with nails.

In November Metal Blade put out the 'Live Undead' recording, not captured on the road but in actual fact recorded live in the studio.

Credit/s: Garry Sharpe-Young
Copyright: © 2001-2007 Musicdetector Websites
Last updated: 6 September 2006

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