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World Painted Blood (2009–2011)

In 2008, Araya stated uncertainty about the future of the band, and that he could not see himself continuing the career at a later age. He said once the band finished its upcoming album, which was the final record in their contract, the band would sit down and discuss its future. King was optimistic that the band would produce at least another two albums before considering a split: "We're talking of going in the studio next February [2009] and getting the next record out so if we do things in a timely manner I don't see there's any reason why we can't have more than one album out." Slayer, along with TriviumMastodon, and Amon Amarth teamed up for a European tour titled 'The Unholy Alliance: Chapter III', throughout October and November 2008. Slayer headlined the second Mayhem Festival in the summer of 2009. Slayer along with Megadeth also co-headlined Canadian Carnage, the first time they performed together in more than 15 years when they co-headlined four shows in Canada in late June 2009 with openers Machine Head and Suicide Silence.

The band's tenth studio album, World Painted Blood, was released through American Recordings. It was available on November 3 in North America and November 2 for the rest of the world. The band stated that the album takes elements of all their previous works including Seasons in the AbyssSouth of Heaven, and Reign in Blood. Slayer, along with Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax performed on the same bill for the first time on June 16, 2010 at Bemowo Airport, near Warsaw, Poland. One of the following Big 4 performances in (Sofia, Bulgaria, June 22, 2010) was sent via satellite in HD to cinemas. They also went on to play several other dates as part of the Sonisphere Festival. Megadeth and Slayer joined forces once again for the American Carnage Tour from July to October 2010 with opening acts Anthrax and Testament, and European Carnage Tour in March and April 2011. The "Big Four" played more dates at Sonisphere in England and France for the first time ever. Slayer returned to Australia in February and March 2011 as part of the Soundwave Festival and also played in California with the other members of the "Big Four".

In early 2011, Hanneman contracted necrotizing fasciitis. According to the band, doctors say that it likely originated from a spider bite. Araya said of Hanneman's condition: "Jeff was seriously ill. Jeff ended up contracting a bacteria that ate away his flesh on his arm, so they cut open his arm, from his wrist to his shoulder, and they did a skin graft on him, they cleaned up ... It was a flesh-eating virus, so he was really, really bad. So we'll wait for him to get better, and when he's a hundred percent, he's gonna come out and join us." The band decided to play their upcoming tour dates without Hanneman. Gary Holt of Exodus was announced as Hanneman's temporary replacement. Cannibal Corpse guitarist Pat O'Brien filled in for Holt during a tour in Europe. On April 23, 2011, at the American Big 4 show in Indio, California, Hanneman rejoined his bandmates to play the final two songs of their set, "South of Heaven" and "Angel of Death".This was Hanneman's final live performance with the band.

Death of Jeff Hanneman and Repentless (2011–2016)

When asked if Slayer would make another album, Lombardo replied "Yes absolutely; Although there's nothing written, there are definitely plans." However, Araya said Slayer would not begin writing a new album until Hanneman's condition improved. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Reign In Blood, the band performed the album at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival at Alexandra PalaceLondon.

In November 2011, Lombardo posted a tweet that the band had started to write new music. This presumably meant that Hanneman's condition improved and it was believed he was ready to enter the studio. King had worked with Lombardo that year and they completed three songs. The band planned on entering the studio in either March or April 2012 and were hoping to have the album recorded before the group's US tour in late May and release it by the summer of that year. However, King said the upcoming album would not be finished until September and October of that year, making a 2013 release likely. In July 2012, Kerry King revealed two song titles for the upcoming album, "Chasing Death" and "Implode".

In February 2013, Lombardo was fired right before Slayer was to play at Australia's Soundwave festival due to an argument with band members over a pay dispute. Slayer and American Recordings released a statement, saying "Mr. Lombardo came to the band less than a week before their scheduled departure for Australia to present an entirely new set of terms for his engagement that were contrary to those that had been previously agreed upon", although Lombardo claimed there was a gag order in place. Jon Dette returned to fill in for Lombardo for the Soundwave dates. It was confirmed that Lombardo was officially out of Slayer for the third time when in May, Paul Bostaph rejoined the band.

On May 2, 2013, guitarist Jeff Hanneman died of liver failure in a local hospital near his home in Southern California's Inland Empire; the cause of death was later determined to be alcohol-related cirrhosis. King confirmed the band will continue, saying "Jeff is going to be in everybody's thoughts for a long time. It's unfortunate you can't keep unfortunate things from happening. But we're going to carry on – and he'll be there in spirit."However, Araya has been more uncertain about the band's future, expressing his belief that "After 30 years [with Hanneman active in the band], it would literally be like starting over", and doubting that Slayer's fanbase would approve such a change. Despite the uncertainty regarding the band's future, Slayer still worked on a followup to World Painted Blood. Additionally, it was reported that the new album would still feature material written by Hanneman.

At the 2014 Revolver's Golden Gods Awards ceremony, Slayer debuted "Implode", its first new song in five years. The group announced that they have signed to Nuclear Blast, and will release a new album in 2015. It was reported that Holt would take over Hanneman's guitar duties, although Holt did not participate in the song-writing. In February, Slayer announced a seventeen date American tour to start in June featuring Suicidal Tendencies and Exodus. In 2015, Slayer headlined the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival for the second time. Repentless, the band's twelfth studio album, was released on September 11, 2015. In support of Repentless, Slayer toured Europe with Anthrax and Kvelertak in October and November 2015, and toured the United States with Testament and Carcass in February and March 2016.

Next album (2016–present)

In August 2016, guitarist Kerry King was asked if Slayer will release a follow-up to Repentless. He replied, "We've got lots of leftover material from the last album, 'cause we wrote so much stuff, and we recorded a bunch of it too. If the lyrics don't change the song musically, those songs are done. So we are way ahead of the ballgame without even doing anything for the next record. And I've been working on stuff on my downtime. Like, I'll warm up and a riff will come to mind and I'll record it. I've gotten a handful of those on this run. So wheels are still turning. I haven't worked on anything lyrically yet except for what was done on the last record, so that's something I've gotta get on. But, yeah, Repentless isn't quite a year old yet." King also stated that Slayer is not expected to enter the studio until at least 2018.

In an October 2016 interview on Hatebreed frontman Jamey Jasta's podcast, King stated that he is "completely open" to having guitarist Gary Holt (who had no songwriting contributions on Repentless) involved in the songwriting process of the next Slayer album. He explained, "I'm entirely open to having Gary work on something. I know he's gotta work on an Exodus record and I've got tons already for this one. But, you know, if he's gonna stick around... I didn't want it on the last one, and I knew that. I'm completely open to having that conversation. I haven't talked to Tom about it, I haven't talked to Gary open about it, but I'm open. That's not saying it is or isn't gonna happen. But my ears are open."

Writing and style

Slayer's early works were praised for their "breakneck speed and instrumental prowess," combining the structure of hardcore punk tempos and speed metal. The band released fast, aggressive material. The album Reign in Blood is the band's fastest, performed at an average of, 

220 beats per minute; the album Diabolus in Musica was the band's first to feature C tuning; God Hates Us All was the first to feature drop B tuning  and seven-string guitars tuned to BAllMusic cited the album as "abandoning the extravagances and accessibility of their late-'80s/early-'90s work and returning to perfect the raw approach," with some fans labeling it as nu metal.  

Hanneman and King's dual guitar solos have been referred to as "wildly chaotic", and "twisted genius". Original drummer Lombardo would use two bass drums (instead of a double pedal, which is used on a single bass drum). Lombardo's speed and aggression earned him the title of the "godfather of double bass" by Drummerworld. Lombardo stated his reasons for using two bass drums: "When you hit the bass drum, the head is still resonating. When you hit it in the same place right after that, you kinda get a 'slapback' from the bass drum head hitting the other pedal. You're not letting them breathe." When playing the two bass drums, Lombardo would use the "heel-up" technique.

In the original line-up, Hanneman, King and Araya contributed to the band's lyrics, and King and Hanneman wrote the music with additional arrangement from Lombardo, and sometimes Araya. It is unclear why Lombardo has never received any writing credits in Slayer's history. Araya formed a lyric writing partnership with Hanneman, which sometimes overshadowed the creative input of King. Hanneman stated that writing lyrics and music was a "free-for-all": "It's all just whoever comes up with what. Sometimes I'll be more on a roll and I'll have more stuff, same with Kerry – it's whoever's hot, really. Anybody can write anything; if it's good, we use it; if not, we don't."

When writing material, the band would write the music first before incorporating lyrics. King or Hanneman used a 24-track and drum machine to show band members the riff that they created, and to get their opinion. Either King, Hanneman or Lombardo would mention if any alterations could be made. The band played the riff to get the basic song structure, and figured out where the lyrics and solos would be placed. Hanneman, King and Araya tended to have different lyrical influences. Hanneman's lyrics dealt with Nazis, religion, warfare and similar topics; King's lyrics are generally anti-religious; Araya's lyrics usually dealt with topics that could be considered less controversial than Hanneman's and King's, such as serial killers and warfare.

Legacy

Slayer is one of the most influential bands in metal history. Steve Huey of AllMusic believes the musical style of Slayer makes the band stronger than the other members of the "Big Four" thrash metal bands MetallicaMegadeth and Anthrax, all of which rose to fame during the 1980s. Slayer's "downtuned rhythms, infectious guitar licks, graphically violent lyrics and grisly artwork set the standard for dozens of emerging thrash bands" and their "music was directly responsible for the rise of death metal" states MTV, ranking Slayer as the sixth "greatest metal band of all time", ranking number 50 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock. Hanneman and King ranked number 10 in Guitar World's "100 greatest metal guitarists of all time" in 2004, and were voted "Best Guitarist/Guitar Team" in Revolver's reader's poll. Original drummer Lombardo was also voted "Best Drummer" and the band entered the top five in the categories "Best Band Ever", "Best Live Band", "Album of the Year" (for Christ Illusion), and "Band of the Year".

Music author Joel McIver considers Slayer very influential in the extreme metal scene, especially in the development of the death and black metal  subgenres. According to John Consterdine of Terrorizer, without "Slayer's influence, extreme metal as we know it wouldn't exist". Kam Lee of Massacre  and former member of Death stated: "there wouldn't be Death Metal or Black Metal or even extreme Metal the likes of what it is today if not for Slayer". Johan Reinholdz of Andromeda said that Slayer "were crucial in the development of Thrash Metal which then became the foundation for a lot of different subgenres. They inspired generations of Metal bands".Alex Skolnick  of Testament declared: "Before Slayer, metal had never had such razor-sharp articulation, tightness, and balance between sound and stops. This all-out sonic assault was about the shock, the screams, the drums, and [...] most importantly the riffs".

Groups who cited Slayer among their major influences include,Bullet for My ValentineSlipknotGojiraHatebreed Cannibal Corpse, PanteraKreatorMayhemDarkthroneSystem of a DownLamb of God, BehemothEvile and Lacuna CoilSteve Asheim, drummer for Deicide, declared that "there obviously would not have been a Deicide as we know it without the existence of Slayer". Sepultura guitarist Andreas Kisser affirmed that "without Slayer, Sepultura would never be possible". Weezer mentions them in the song "Heart Songs" from their 2008 self-titled "Red" album. The verse goes: "Iron MaidenJudas Priest, and Slayer taught me how to shred..." 

Dave Grohl recalled, "Me and my friends, we just wanted to listen to fucking Slayer and take acid and smash stuff."

The band's 1986 release Reign in Blood has been an influence to extreme and thrash metal bands since its release and is considered the record which set the bar for death metal. It had a significant influence on the genre leaders such as DeathObituaryCannibal CorpseMorbid Angel and Napalm Death. The album was hailed the "heaviest album of all time" by Kerrang! Magazine, a "genre-definer" by Stylus magazine, and a "stone-cold classic upon its release" by AllMusic. In 2006 it was named the best metal album of the last 20 years by Metal Hammer. According to Nielsen SoundScan, Slayer sold 4,900,000 copies in the United States from 1991 to 2013.

Controversy 

A lawsuit was brought against the band in 1996, by the parents of Elyse Pahler, who accused the band of encouraging their daughter's murderers through their lyrics. Pahler was drugged, strangled, stabbed, trampled on, and raped as a sacrifice to the devil by three fans of the band. The case was unsealed by the court on May 19, 2000, stating Slayer and related business markets distribute harmful products to teens, encouraging violent acts through their lyrics, and "none of the vicious crimes committed against Elyse Marie Pahler would have occurred without the intentional marketing strategy of the death-metal band Slayer". The lawsuit was dismissed in 2001, for multiple reasons including "principles of free speech, lack of a duty and lack of foresee ability". A second lawsuit was filed by the parents, an amended complaint for damages against Slayer, their label, and other industry and label entities. The lawsuit was again dismissed. Judge E. Jeffrey Burke stated, "I do not consider Slayer's music obscene, indecent or harmful to minors."

Slayer has been accused of holding Nazi sympathies, due to the band's eagle logo bearing resemblance to the Eagle atop swastika and the lyrics of "Angel of Death". "Angel of Death" was inspired by the acts of Josef Mengele, the doctor who conducted human experiments on prisoners during World War II at the Auschwitz concentration camp, and was dubbed the "Angel of Death" by inmates. Throughout their career, the band members were asked about these accusations, and have stated numerous times they do not condone Nazism and are merely interested in the subject.

Slayer's cover of Minor Threat's "Guilty of Being White" raised questions about a possible message of white supremacy in the band's music. The controversy surrounding the cover involved the changing of the refrain "guilty of being white" to "guilty of being right", at the song's ending. This incensed Minor Threat frontman Ian MacKaye, who stated "that is so offensive to me." King said it was changed for "tongue-in-cheek" humor as he thought the allegation of racism at the time was "ridiculous".

In a 2004 interview with Araya, when asked, "Did critics realize you were wallowing in parody?", Araya replied, "No. People thought we were serious!...back then you had that PMRC, who literally took everything to heart, when in actuality you're trying to create an image. You're trying to scare people on purpose." Araya also denied rumors that Slayer members are Satanists, but they find the subject of Satanism interesting and "we are all on this planet to learn and experience."

The song "Jihad" of the album Christ Illusion sparked controversy among families of the September 11 victims. The song deals with the attack from the perspective of a religious terrorist. The band stated the song is spoken through perspective without being sympathetic to the cause, and supports neither side.

Seventeen bus benches promoting the same album in Fullerton, California were deemed offensive by city officials. City officials contacted the band's record label and demanded that the ads be removed. All benches were eliminated.

In India, Christ Illusion was recalled by EMI India after protests with Christian religious groups due to the nature of the graphic artwork. 

The album cover was designed by Slayer's longtime collaborator Larry Carroll  and features Christ in a "sea of despair", with amputated arms, missing an eye, while standing in a sea of blood with severed heads. Joseph Dias of the Mumbai Christian group Catholic Secular Forum in India took "strong exception" to the original album artwork, and issued a memorandum to Mumbai's police commissioner in protest. On October 11, 2006, EMI announced that all stocks had been destroyed, noting it had no plans to re-release the record in India in the future. However, the album has since been imported and made available in India.

From late 2010 until his death in May 2013, Jeff Hanneman's participation in Slayer was minimal. In January 2011, he contracted necrotizing fasciitis, which severely restricted his ability to perform. He appeared publicly with the band on only one known occasion, playing two songs during an encore at one of Slayer's Big 4 performances in April 2011; he also attended rehearsals for Fun Fun Fun Fest in November 2011, but did not end up performing at this show. By July 2012, Hanneman had not written or recorded any new material for the band's follow up to 2009's World Painted Blood. In February 2013, Kerry King stated he was planning on recording all of the guitar parts for the upcoming album himself, but was open to Hanneman's return if he was willing and able. King also denied that Gary Holt, member of Exodus and Hanneman's live fill-in, would write or record anything for the upcoming album. Hanneman died on May 2, 2013 at the age of 49 due to liver failure.  

 "Slayer's Kerry King -Fact or Fiction? (Part 1)," Loudwire, April 22, 2015 video

"Slayer's Kerry King - Fact or Fiction? (Part 2)," Loudwire, April 29, 2015 video  

 Official Website   

Members

Tom Araya – lead vocals, bass guitar (1981–present)

Kerry King – guitars (1981–present), backing vocals (1984-1991)

Paul Bostaph – drums (1992–1996, 1997–2001, 2013–present)

Gary Holt – guitars (2011–present)

 

Former members

Jeff Hanneman – guitars (1981–2011; died 2013)

Dave Lombardo – drums (1981–1986, 1987–1991, 2001–2013)

Jon Dette – drums (1996–1997, 2013)

 

Touring members

Tony Scaglione – drums (1986–1987)

Pat O'Brien – guitars (2011)