Hellfire has hit the shores of Australia for the last time as the final world tour of thrash legends Slayer begins its Australian leg. Slayer is a band that needs no introduction. For metalheads everywhere, they represent the most extreme of the extreme—an embracement of the darkness metal had only ever hinted at before them. For the uninitiated, their name conjures grotesque images of satanic worship and bloody violence.

While the other bands in thrash metal’s “Big Four” like Metallica and Anthrax enjoyed a certain amount of mainstream success, Slayer has always stuck to the unmarketable primal tenets of extreme metal, appealing to the outsiders of the metal scene in need of something more aggressive.

Forming in 1981 in Huntington Park, California with Kerry King at only 17-years-old, Jeff Hanneman (17), Dave Lombardo (16) and Tom Araya (20), Slayer would put out their first record Show No Mercy two years later. Their sound was unlike anything the world had heard before—a merging of metal and punk that dared to be heavier and more gruesome than their contemporaries.

In 1986, Slayer released Reign In Blood and changed the complexion of metal forever with blisteringly heavy performances on all fronts, and lyrical themes awash with satanic and Nazi imagery—it’s a bold record and the massive risks would inspire legions of bands to come. The opening riff of the classic single ‘Raining Blood’ would still send chills down the spine of any metal fan to this day.

After a 37 year-long career marked by many accolades, including two Grammy wins and five nominations, the band’s own Smithsonian exhibit and constant reverence from the music media—as well as the unfortunate passing of their original guitarist Jeff Hanneman in 2013—Slayer has finally decided to put the demon to rest.

Set to headline Australia’s Download Festival in Sydney and Melbourne—as well as sideshows in Brisbane and Adelaide alongside their Big Four brothers Anthrax and the equally menacing Behemoth—this is a sendoff you’d be a fool to miss.

Watch the two videos below for a look back on Slayer over the years.

Thursday, 7 March – BRISBANE, The Riverstage

Saturday, 20 March – SYDNEY, Download Festival

Monday, 11 March – MELBOURNE, Download Festival

Wednesday, 13 March – ADELAIDE, AEC Arena

Available here.

Follow Slayer


Photo: supplied