It’s been something of an ominous day for music fans; first Neil Diamond retires from touring after revealing a Parkinson’s diagnosis and now heavy metal gods Slayer have announced that they’re set to split after “one final world tour”. The band have been together for 37 years and are often cited alongside Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax as one of the Big Four of thrash metal. The announcement came on YouTube with a fitting apocalyptical warning that “the end of days is near”.
As hardcore fans will know, Slayer have had a bit of a rough ride in recent years, with the passing of their founding guitarist Jeff Hanneman in 2013 due to cirrhosis of the liver. In a 2016 interview with Loudwire, frontman Tom Araya professed a love/hate relationship with touring and quipped that, after 35 years, he was looking forward to collecting his pension. Araya also claimed that years of head banging had literally taken their toll on him, forcing him to undergo corrective neck surgery. With those sentiments in mind, today’s announcement has not really come as a huge surprise to the metal community.
For Squid readers unfamiliar with Slayer, we’d recommend sparing 30 minutes listening to the entire Reign In Blood album. It’s one of those albums that defines a genre, where one tracks flows seamlessly into another. You may recognise the final song Raining Blood from the South Park episode Die Hippie, Die or the PS2 game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
A cynic might cite the fact that bands announce farewell tours all the time as a way to generate sales (we’re looking at Kiss and The Rolling Stones) and that perhaps Slayer will pop up for the odd show in the future. Or maybe we’re just in the first stages of grief… Yeah, that’s probably it. The only sensible thing to do is to kidnap Iron Maiden before they get any clever ideas.