Slayer Profile

Slayer. Columbia Records

Early Days:

Slayer was started in Huntington Park, California in 1982 by guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman. They recruited vocalist/singer Tom Araya and drummer Dave Lombardo. They started off as a cover band. They were spotted playing in an L.A. area club by the owner of Metal Blade Records, who asked them to play on a compilation. They agreed to do it if they could also record a full length album.

A deal was struck. Their debut, Show No Mercy was released in 1983.

Making Their Mark:

Slayer immediately attracted a fan base and a lot of controversy due to their graphic lyrics and imagery along with their brutal music. After their second album, 1985's Hell Awaits, they were signed as the first metal band on Rick Rubin's Def Jam label. In 1986 they released what many consider the best thrash metal album ever, Reign In Blood. Their next several albums solidified their stature as one of the best thrash metal bands.

Where's Dave?:

After some internal strife, drummer Dave Lombardo briefly left the band in 1989. He returned, only to be fired in 1992. After a long absence, Lombardo came back in 2001.

The Death Of Jeff Hanneman:

In 2011, guitarist Jeff Hanneman was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis, possibly from a spider bite. He was unable to play live, and Gary Holt from Exodus filled in. On May 2, 2013, Hanneman passed away in Los Angeles due to liver failure.

He was just 49 years old.

Another Drummer Change

As the band was preparing to record the album Repentless, released in 2015, drummer Dave Lombardo exited Slayer again. The band brought back Paul Bostaph.

Current Members:

Current members' former bands and side projects listed in parenthesis:
Tom Araya - Vocals, bass (Alice In Chains, Soulfly)
Kerry King - Guitar (Megadeth, Rob Zombie)
Gary Holt - Guitar (Exodus)
Paul Bostaph (Exodus, Testament) - Drums

Former Members:

Jeff Hanneman - Guitar (1981-2013) (R.I.P.)
Jon Dette - Drums (1996-1997)
Dave Lombardo - Drums (1982-1986, 1987-1992, 2001-2013)

Slayer Discography:

1983 Show No Mercy (Metal Blade)
1984 Haunting The Chapel EP (Metal Blade)
1985 Hell Awaits (Metal Blade)
1985 Live Undead EP (Metal Blade)
1986 Reign In Blood (American)
1988 South Of Heaven (American)
1990 Seasons In The Abyss (American)
1993 Decade Of Aggression (live) (American)
1994 Divine Intervention (American)
1996 Undisputed Attitude (Warner Bros)
1998 Diabolus In Musica (American)
2001 God Hates Us All (American)
2006 Christ Illusion (American)
2009 World Painted Blood (Columbia)
2015 Repentless (Nuclear Blast)

Best Slayer Albums
The top 5 Slayer albums, as selected by Heavy Metal.

Essential Slayer Album:

Reign In Blood
This is one of the top 3 thrash metal albums and probably one of the top 10 metal albums ever. This is speed metal at its finest, with compact songs jam packed with riffs and head banging intensity. The lyrics are also filled with dark and disturbing images.