Almost 37 years after helping launch the enduring thrash-metal genre of music, Slayer will tour North America for a final time this year. As the group put it in its recent post on Instagram, “the age of Slayer” is ending.
Final Tour Information
The tour, which kicks off on May 10th in San Diego, CA and ends on June 20th in Austin, TX, may not end up being Slayer’s final run as it is possible that the band will still tour other parts of the globe. But American and Canadian fans should mark their calendars based on the dates and locations that have been made public.
Rolling Stone includes a comprehensive list of these tour dates in a recent article about the band.
The Beginning of the Age of Slayer
Hailing from Huntington Park in southern California, Slayer formed in 1981. Its original lineup featured Tom Araya as vocalist and bassist, guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman, and Dave Lombardo on the drums. In its early days, the group mostly performed covers, and featured a satanic aesthetic. Slayer was discovered by the founder of a record label and was offered a recording contract in 1983.
Slayer’s first album, “Show No Mercy”, achieved a reasonable level of popularity. Around that time, King briefly joined Megadeth, but only played a few shows with the band before departing. This resulted in a long feud between the two metal groups.
The 1984 release of “Haunting the Chapel” moved Slayer firmly into the thrash-metal direction, featuring one of its signature tracks in “Chemical Warfare”. The group toured nationally in support of this record, and then recorded “Hell Awaits”, which became a metal hit despite its dark themes.
The Peak Years of Thrash Metal
In a fascinating move, Slayer signed with Def Jam Records in 1986. The label’s distributor, Columbia Records, refused to release the band’s album “Hell Awaits” due to a controversial track called “Angel of Death” that referenced activities at Nazi concentration camps. But Geffen Records agreed to distribute it, resulting in Slayer achieving certified gold status for its first time.
Drummer Lombardo briefly left the band during a tour in 1986, only to return less than a year later. Shortly thereafter, Slayer released “South of Heaven”, which became the band’s biggest commercial hit yet. Despite this success, it received mixed reviews and alienated some of Slayer’s fanbase. The group followed up this with another hit in “Seasons in the Abyss” in 1990, which led to a lengthy touring schedule as thrash metal reached peak popularity.
Following the heights that Slayer and thrash metal achieved, Lombardo quit the band again. The group stayed relevant, releasing four more albums over the next decade. Lombardo once more rejoined Slayer on tour in 2002, and recorded with the band for its next release in 2006. That album, “Christ Illusion”, reached higher on the charts than any of the group’s other efforts.
The End of the Age of Slayer
After releasing and touring for “War Painted Blood” in 2009, Hanneman left the band for health reasons. Lombardo left Slayer, this time getting fired, and Hanneman tragically died of liver failure in 2013. A reformulated Slayer then released and toured in support of “Repentless” in 2015.
These four decades of thrash metal for Slayer have added up to more than 3,000 concerts across the globe, 12 albums, countless records sold, and two Grammy Award wins to go with five nominations.
This incredible career now culminates in a final North American tour. All signs indicate that the band has no plans to record any new music.