Slayer, one of the most popular and influential hard-rock bands of the past four decades, announced its “final world tour” via a 30-second video Monday morning.
“The end is near … Slayer to make its exit with one, final world tour,” wording in the video reads. “Slayer’s final North American tour dates coming.” A subsequent release with the subject line “Slayer Final World Tour, No. Am Talent Line Up” listed Lamb of God, Anthrax, Behemoth and Testament, presumably as opening acts on the tour. No further details were available at press time.
Along with Metallica and Megadeth, Slayer was a cornerstone of the thrash/speed-metal explosion of the mid-1980s. Their early material was roughly recorded, but the band united with producer Rick Rubin and Def Jam Records in 1986 — both were known entirely for their work in hip-hop at the time — and released “Reign in Blood,” which is widely regarded as the greatest speed-metal album of all time, combining blistering riffs and tempos with horror-movie-esque, often controversial lyrics (particularly “Angel of Death,” about Nazi doctor Josef Mengele). The band slowed down its tempos for 1988’s equally bruising “South of Heaven,” and has general alternated between the two approaches in the decades since.
The band currently includes two founding members: singer/bassist Tom Araya and guitarist Kerry King. Drummer Dave Lombardo has left the band on at least three different occasions; for the most recent two he was replaced by former Exodus drummer Paul Bostaph. Founding guitarist Jeff Hanneman died of alcoholism-related liver failure in 2013 and has been replaced by former Exodus guitarist Gary Holt.
Slayer’s music is intense and physically challenging to play, so today’s announcement — coming from a band that formed 37 years ago and whose members are in their mid-50s — does not come as a total surprise.
Araya told Loudwire in 2016, “At 35 years, it’s time to collect my pension. When we started off, everything was great, because you’re young and invincible. And then there came a time where I became a family man, and I had a tough time flying back and forth. And now, at this stage, at the level we’re at now, I can do that; I can fly home when I want to. [But] it just gets harder and harder to come back out on the road. 35 years is a long time.”