Slayer is an American heavy metal band from Huntington Park, California, formed in 1981 by guitarist Kerry King and drummer Dave Lombardo. 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. Since its debut album in 1983, the band has released twelve studio albums, two live albums, a box set, six music videos, two extended plays and a cover album. Four of the band’s studio albums have received gold certification in the United States. The band has received five Grammy Award nominations, winning one in 2007 for the song “Eyes of the Insane” and one in 2008 for the song “Final Six” (both from 2006’s Christ Illusion).
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 vocalist/bassist Tom Araya contributed to the band’s lyrics, and all of the band’s music was written by King, Hanneman and Lombardo. The band’s lyrics and album art, which cover topics such as murder, serial killers, necrophilia, torture, genocide, human experimentation, Satanism, hate crimes, terrorism, religion, antireligion, Nazism and warfare, have generated album bans, delays, lawsuits and criticism from religious groups and the general public. However, its music has been highly influential, often being cited by many bands as an influence musically, visually and lyrically. Between 1991 and 2013, the band sold 4.9 million albums in the United States.