Slayer is an American thrash metal band from Huntington Park, California, formed in 1981 by guitarists Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King. Slayer rose to fame with its 1986 release Reign in Blood, and is credited as one of the “big four” thrash metal bands, along with Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax. Between 1991 and 2013, the band sold 4.9 million albums in the United States.
Slayer’s musical style involves fast tremolo picking, double bass drumming, riffs in irregular scales and shouted vocals. In the original line-up, King, Hanneman, and lead vocalist / bassist Tom Araya contributed to the band’s lyrics, and most of the band’s music was written by King and Hanneman, with additional help from Araya and drummer Dave Lombardo. The band’s lyrics and album art, which cover topics such as serial killers, necrophilia, Satanism, religion, anti-religion, Nazism, and warfare, have generated album bans, delays, lawsuits, and criticism from religious groups and the public. However, its music has been highly influential, often being cited by many bands as an influence musically, visually, and lyrically.