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Slayer

Slayer

Rock group

"There is nothing in all modern pop like the moment Slayer takes a stage," wrote Mikal Gilmore in a 1991 Rolling Stone article about the "Clash of the Titans" heavy metal tour. Slayer's fans are known for their frenzied, often violent reactions to the music. The band's songs are rife with depictions of satanism, murder, and mayhem; the mere mention of albums like Reign in Blood raises the hackles of parents' groups and religious organizations. Television talk show host Geraldo Rivera's notorious "Kids Who Kill" segment featured a group of young murderers linked by, among other things, their adoration of Slayer. But the group's speedmetal stylings were more than just hip to the homicidal; its thundering arrangements and disturbing lyrics offered an alternative to the image-obsessed and commercially focused glam-rock that dominated the metal scene. "Slayer is about the dark cloud that hangs over the world," explained bassist-singer-lyricist Tom Araya in a Def American Records publicity release, "and that's the image and intensity that I want people to understand."

The group was formed in southern California in 1981 when guitarists Kerry King—then 14 years old—and Jeff Hanneman met at an audition. King met drummer Dave Lombardo when the latter was delivering a pizza

to his neighborhood. Tom Araya's family had fled political unrest in their native Chile and settled in the Huntington Beach area; Araya was a health care worker studying to become a nurse when he was invited to join the band. The quartet came up with their menacing moniker and began playing gigs. Araya's brother was the group's all-purpose technical assistant when Slayer made its inauspicious debut in a rented high school gymnasium.

It wasn't long before the band had built itself a following as a result of touring up and down the West Coast. By 1983 they had scraped together a few thousand dollars to record the independent album Show No Mercy. Featuring such songs as "The Antichrist," it sold an astonishing 60,000 copies and proved to the major labels that Slayer's bombastic approach had access to a lucrative market.

It wasn't until 1986, however, that the band released its first big-label effort, Reign in Blood, on Def Jam Records. With a mix of devil songs by King and more secular songs of evil and discontent from Araya, the album demonstrated that metal could achieve mass popularity without sacrificing its threatening content. Producer and Def Jam co-owner Rick Rubin encouraged the band to push the limits of acceptability in its songs while using the studio to capture the big-guitar intensity of the music, which he described to the Voice Rock & Roll Quarterly as "quintessential speed metal." Def Jam's distributor, CBS, did not want to handle Reign due to its content, and Rubin's subsequent distribution deal with Geffen Records contributed to his eventual departure from Def Jam. Meanwhile, increasing mayhem at Slayer concerts climaxed in the death of a fan at a 1987 Hollywood Palladium show.

Rubin nonetheless urged the band to increase the satanic references in its songs for the 1988 album South of Heaven. That record included "Mandatory Suicide" and the antiabortion anthem "Silent Scream," the title of which comes from a propaganda film vilifying abortion. The record sold impressively, despite—or perhaps with the help of—not-so-silent screams from parents' groups and others shocked by Slayer's material. The band's unflinching focus, however, appealed to fans as much as did the propulsive force of the music. As a fan mused in Esquire, "Have you ever wondered why it's evil you're attracted to?. … There's just so many people out there that are supposed to be on the good side, but they're not for real. Politicians, teachers, parents, ministers, Christians, everybody."

The band has remained philosophical about the apparent excesses of its fans. "Obviously, a lot of our fans do identify with evil—or at least they think they do," guitarist Hanneman told Rolling Stone. But usually, he ventured, satanism is only "cool because it's evil, and evil is rebellion." Furthermore, "if some kid goes overboard, I can't take responsibility for that." Even so, as Gilmore noted, Slayer's songwriters "are amazingly adept at depicting terrible deeds without giving any indication of how they view the moral dimensions of those deeds." This, according to their loudest critics, makes the band partially culpable for the violence committed by their fans. In the Voice Rock & Roll Quarterly piece on Rick Rubin, the producer referred admiringly to the "nothing-to-live-for Slayer audience," joking with a companion that the group ought to sell nooses at concerts so "two or three kids could hang themselves every show."

For the Record …

Members include: Tom Araya (born in Chile, 1962), bass, vocals; Paul Bostaph (replaced Dave Lombardo, 1993), drums; Jeff Hanneman , guitar; Kerry King (born in Los Angeles, CA, c. 1967), guitar; Dave Lombardo , drums (left the band in 1993).

Group formed in Los Angeles, 1981; released first album, Show No Mercy, Restless Records, 1983; released first Def Jam album, Reign in Blood, 1986; signed with Def American Records c. 1988, and released Seasons in the Abyss, 1990; appeared at the Monsters of Rock festival, 1992; issued Divine Intervention, 1994, and Undisputed Attitude, 1996; released Diabolus in Musica and appeared at United Kingdom Ozzfest, 1998; released God Hates Us All, 2001, and Christ Illusion, 2006.

Addresses: Record company—Def American Recordings, Inc., 3500 West Olive Ave., Ste. 1550, Burbank, CA 91505.

Musical Versatility

The year 1990 saw the release of Seasons in the Abyss on Rubin's Def American Recordings. It sold well and further demonstrated the band's musical versatility. Stereo Review noted, "The elemental impact of this music … never lets up," while Entertainment Weekly called the record "very heavy metal of the thrash kind" and awarded it a B+. Slayer continued playing around the world, joining fellow headbangers Anthrax and Megadeth for the 1991 Clash of the Titans tour. Rolling Stone's Gilmore described the "dense, pummelling quality" of the band's live sound, adding that "it's all played with a remarkable precision and deftness." Other musicians shared this admiration. "I think that Slayer is, without a doubt, probably one of the best live bands in the world—I can't overstate that," Megadeth leader Dave Mustaine remarked during the Titans tour.

The double live disc Decade of Aggression hit stores in 1991. It consisted of material performed at Wembley Arena in London and shows in Florida and California, including a version of the notorious "Dead Skin Mask," a song about serial killer Ed Gein. The record was recorded without overdubs or other refinements. "The riffs will trample your body, the solos will split your skull, there's never been a live album like it," enthused John Duke in Rock Power. The group began work in 1992 on an album slated for release the following year. They also announced in 1992 that Lombardo would sit out the band's summer tour due to his wife's pregnancy. Drummer Paul Bostaph of the band Forbidden sat in for the tour.

Slayer stormed the heavy metal scene in the 1980s by pushing the limits of acceptability and flouting the glamorously dark conventions of the form. Controversy notwithstanding, Lombardo may have best summed up Slayer's appeal when he told Esquire, "I'm more of a fan than I am a player in the band. … I enjoy listening to the music. I get into it so much. … I know every kid in that arena would love to be doing the exact same thing if they could. I'm just one of the lucky ones."

Controversies Continued

Bostaph eventually became a full member of the band, and made his first live appearance with Slayer at the Monsters of Rock festival in 1992. The band also recorded three songs for the Judgment Night movie soundtrack, including "Disorder" with Ice-T in 1993. Slayer continued to pursue controversial themes on its next full-length release, Divine Intervention, in 1994. The song "213" apparently referred to the apartment number where serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer had tortured and murdered his victims. Other songs referred to Reinhard Heydrich, a key figure in the design of the Jewish Holocaust in Germany during World War II. Album sales, however, seemed unaffected by these controversies, and the album reached number eight on the Billboard 200. Undisputed Attitude followed in 1996, an album featuring covers of classic punk songs, along with three originals.

Controversy erupted once again around Slayer in 1996. The body of 15-year-old Elyse Pahler had been found in March of 1996, the victim of a crime committed by three heavy metal fans eight months earlier. Pahler's parents brought suit against the band, noting the encouragement of similar crimes in "Postmortem" and "Dead Skin Mask." While the suit was dropped in 2001, the parents filed a second lawsuit against the band and its record label. Eventually, this lawsuit was also dropped, with the judge stating that he did not consider the band's music harmful to minors.

In 1998 Slayer released Diabolus in Musica (the Devil in Music), an album that found the group attempting to update its signature style of slash metal. Although critical reception was mixed, it rose to number 31 on the Billboard 200. Slayer also made an appearance at the United Kingdom Ozzfest in 1998. Slayer released God Hates Us All on September 11, 2001, the same date as the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centers in New York City. The ensuing tour was disrupted due to restrictions on air travel after the attack. In 2006 Slayer released Christ Illusion, an album that sold briskly for a short time but quickly fell off the charts. The album cover also caused a great deal of controversy in India, with Christian groups objecting to the depiction of a partially decapitated Christ.

In the midst of these and other controversies, members of Slayer left the future of the band in doubt. While singer Araya had hinted at retirement, King told Live Daily that the band had not considered retirement. "I don't have any idea when that's going to be. The only farewell plans we have is when we do it, we're going to do it and that's going to be it."

Selected discography

Show No Mercy, Restless, 1983.

Hell Awaits, Restless/Metal Blade, 1984.

Live Undead, Restless/Metal Blade, 1984.

Reign in Blood, Def Jam, 1986.

South of Heaven, Def Jam, 1988.

Seasons in the Abyss, Def American, 1990.

Decade of Aggression, Def American, 1991.

(Contributors, with Ice-T) "L.A. '92 Disorder," on Judgment Night (soundtrack), Immortal/Epic, 1993.

Divine Intervention, Def American, 1994.

Undisputed Attitude, Def American, 1996.

Diabolus in Musica, Def American, 1998.

God Hates Us All, Def American, 2001.

Christ Illusion, Def American, 2006.

Sources

Periodicals

Entertainment Weekly, November 9, 1990.

Esquire, February 1992.

Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, March 24, 1989.

Los Angeles Times, April 16, 1989.

Music Express, March 1991.

Q, December 1991.

Rock Power, September 1991.

Rolling Stone, July 11, 1991.

Stereo Review, March 1991.

Voice Rock & Roll Quarterly, Fall 1990.

Online

"Slayer," All Music Guide,http://www.allmusic.com (August 31, 2007).

"Slayer Looks to ‘Wear Out’ Crowds on Tour With Marilyn Manson," Live Daily,http://www.livedaily.com (August 31, 2007).

Additional information for this profile was obtained from Def American Recordings publicity materials, 1991.

—Bruce Walker and Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.

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Slayer

Slayer

Rock band

For the Record

Independent Release Sold 60,000 Copies

Under the Wing of Rick Rubin

Elemental Impact

Selected discography

Sources

There is nothing in all modern pop like the moment Slayer takes a stage, wrote Mikal Gilmore in a 1991 Rolling Stone article about the Clash of the Titans heavy metal tour. Slayers fans are known for their frenzied, often violent reaction to the music. The bands songs are rife with depictions of satanism, murder, and disease; mere mention of albums like Reign in Blood raises the hackles of parents groups and religious organizations. Indeed, talk show host Geraldo Riveras notorious segment Kids Who Kill featured a group of young murderers linked by, among other things, their adoration of Slayer. But the groups speedmetal stylings are more than just hip to the homicidal; its thundering arrangements and disturbing lyrics offer a potent alternative to the image-obsessed and commercially focused glam-rock that dominates the metal scene. Slayer is about the dark cloud that hangs over the world, explained bassist-singer-lyricist Tom Araya in a Def American Records publicity release, and thats the image and intensity that I want people to understand.

For the Record

Members include Tom Araya (born in Chile, 1962) bass, vocals; Paul Bostaph (replaced Dave Lombardo, 1993), drums; Jeff Hanneman, guitar; and Kerry King (born in Los Angeles, CA, c. 1967), guitar.

Group formed in Los Angeles, 1981; released first album, Show No Mercy, Restless Records, 1983; released first Def Jam album, Reign in Blood, 1986; signed with Def American Records, c. 1988, and released Seasons in the Abyss, 1990.

Awards: Gold album for Seasons in the Abyss, 1993.

Addresses: Record company Def American Recordings, Inc., 3500 West Olive Ave., Ste. 1550, Burbank, CA 91505.

The group was formed in southern California in 1981 when guitarists Kerry Kingthen 14 years oldand Jeff Hanneman met at an audition. King met drummer Dave Lombardo when the latter was delivering a pizza to his neighborhood. Tom Arayas family had fled political unrest in their native Chile and settled in the Huntington Beach area; Araya was a health care worker studying to become a nurse when he was invited to join the band. The quartet came up with their menacing moniker and began playing gigs, having stolen some lights as well as odd bits of lumber for drum risers. Arayas brother was the groups all-purpose technical assistant when Slayer made its inauspicious debut in a rented high school gymnasium.

Independent Release Sold 60,000 Copies

It wasnt long before the band had built itself a following as a result of touring up and down the West Coast. By 1983 they had scraped together a few thousand dollars to record the independent album Show No Mercy. Featuring such songs as The Antichrist, it sold an astonishing 60,000 copies and proved to the major labels that Slayers bombastic satanism had access to a rich market. Mercys successor, Hell Awaits, contained songs with titles like Necrophiliac and Crypt of Eternity; a 1984 release, Live Undead, featured one studio song, Chemical Warfare.

It wasnt until 1986, however, that the band released its first big-label effort, Reign in Blood, on Def Jam Records. With a mix of devil songs by King and more secular songs of evil and discontent from Araya, the album demonstrated that metal could achieve mass popularity without sacrificing its threatening content.

Producer and Def Jam co-owner Rick Rubin encouraged the band to push the limits of acceptability in its songs while using the studio to capture the big-guitar intensity of the music, which he described to the Voice Rock & Roll Quarterly as quintessential speed metal. Even so, Def Jams distributor, CBS, did not want to handle Reign due to its content; Rubins subsequent distribution deal with Geffen Records contributed to his eventual departure from Def Jam. Meanwhile, increasing mayhem at Slayer concerts climaxed in the death of a fan at a 1987 Hollywood Palladium show.

Under the Wing of Rick Rubin

The savvy Rubin nonetheless urged the band to increase the satanic references in its songs for the 1988 album South of Heaven. That record includes Mandatory Suicide and the antiabortion anthem Silent Scream, the title of which comes from a propaganda film vilifying abortion. The record sold impressively, despiteor perhaps with the help ofnot-so-silent screams from parents groups and others shocked by Slayers material. The bands unflinching focus, however, appealed to fans as much as did the propulsive force of the music. As a fan mused in Esquire, Have you ever wondered why its evil youre attracted to? You know, I do wonder why. Theres just so many people out there that are supposed to be on the good side, but theyre not for real. Politicians, teachers, parents, ministers, Christians, everybody. Theyre hypocrites. The whole society. All the adults. Theyre so phony. The state of chaos in the world, she noted, reflects the slayerness of it all.

The band has remained philosophical about the apparent excesses of its fans. Obviously, a lot of our fans do identify with evilor at least they think they do, guitarist Hanneman told Rolling Stone. But usually, he ventured, satanism is only cool because its evil, and evil is rebellion. Furthermore, if some kid goes overboard, I cant take responsibility for that. Even so, as Gilmore noted, Slayers songwriters are amazingly adept at depicting terrible deeds without giving any indication of how they view the moral dimensions of those deeds. This, according to their loudest critics, makes the band partially culpable for the violence committed by their fans. In fact, the group shared with Esquire a fan letter from a soldier in the Persian Gulf during the war there in 1991: Being a grunt [soldier] is pure motivationlike your music. It puts me in the right state of mind for war. You can count on four dead Iraqis for you guys. Keep kickin ass, dudes! In the Voice Rock & Roll Quarterly piece on Rick Rubin, the producer referred admiringly to the nothing-to-live-for Slayer audience, joking with a companion that the group ought to sell nooses at concerts so two or three kids could hang themselves every show.

Elemental Impact

1990 saw the release of Seasons in the Abyss on Rubins Def American Recordings. It sold well and further demonstrated the bands musical versatility; Stereo Review noted, The elemental impact of this music ... never lets up, while Entertainment Weekly called the record very heavy metal of the thrash kind and awarded it a B+. Slayer continued playing around the world, joining fellow headbangers Anthrax and Megadeth for the 1991 Clash of the Titans tour. Rolling Stones Gilmore described the dense, pummelling quality of the bands live sound, reporting, The bass rumbles, the drums explode at a rat-a-tat clip, and the guitars blare in buzz-saw unisonbut its all played with a remarkable precision and deftness. Other musicians shared this admiration: I think that Slayer is, without a doubt, probably one of the best live bands in the worldI cant overstate that, Megadeth leader Dave Mustaine remarked during the Titans tour.

A double live disc, Decade of Aggression, hit the stores in 1991. It consisted of material performed at Wembley Arena in London and shows in Florida and California, including a version of the notorious Dead Skin Mask, a song about serial killer Ed Gein. The record is a pure document of the Slayer sound, recorded without overdubs or other refinements. The riffs will trample your body, the solos will split your skull, theres never been a live album like it, enthused John Duke in Rock Power. A review in Q magazine called the album excellent and dubbed Slayer the loudest and fastest band in the world, noting, no one does it scarier. The group began work in 1992 on an album slated for release in the spring of the following year. They also announced in 1992 that Lombardo would sit out the bands summer tour due to his wifes pregnancy. Drummer Paul Bostaph, of the band Forbidden, sat in for the tour.

Slayer stormed the heavy metal scene in the 1980s by pushing the limits of acceptability and flouting the glamorously dark conventions of the form. Since then theyve amassed a large, dedicated andto somedisturbed and desperate following of young fans even as theyve earned the veneration of critics for their musicianship. Controversy notwithstanding, Lombardo may have best summed up Slayers appeal when he told Esquire, Im more of a fan than I am a player in the band. Im just like the kids I play for, I guess. I mean, I enjoy listening to the music. I get into it so much. The energy. The energy. Theres no weak point. Its just, the music, the way I feel it. When I play, I give it everything. I know every kid in that arena would love to be doing the exact same thing if they could. Im just one of the lucky ones.

Selected discography

Show No Mercy (includes The Antichrist), Restless, 1983.

Hell Awaits (includes Necrophiliac and Crypt of Eternity), Restless/Metal Blade, 1984.

Live Undead (includes Chemical Warfare), Restless/Metal Blade, 1984.

Reign in Blood, Def Jam, 1986.

South of Heaven (includes Mandatory Suicide and Silent Scream), Def Jam, 1988.

Seasons in the Abyss, Def American, 1990.

Decade of Aggression (includes Dead Skin Mask), Def American, 1991.

(Contributors, with Ice-T) L.A. 92 Disorder, Judgment Night (soundtrack), Immortal/Epic, 1993.

Sources

Entertainment Weekly, November 9, 1990.

Esquire, February 1992.

Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, March 24, 1989.

Los Angeles Times, April 16, 1989.

Music Express, March 1991.

Q, December 1991.

Rock Power, September 1991.

Rolling Stone, July 11, 1991.

Stereo Review, March 1991.

Voice Rock & Roll Quarterly, fall 1990.

Additional information for this profile was obtained from Def American Recordings publicity materials, 1991.

Simon Glickman

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"Slayer." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/slayer

"Slayer." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved October 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/slayer

slayer

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"slayer." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"slayer." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved October 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/slayer-0