Slayer was formed in 1982, by Los Angeles schoolmates and guitarists Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King. Tom Araya soon joined on bass and vocals, and drummer Dave Lombardo joined last later in 1982. They played in a style reminiscent of early Exodus, influenced heavily by Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, before their attendance at a mid-1982 Metallica concert convinced them to play faster and heavier.
"Black Magic", the heaviest, darkest, and most evil song at the time, was written in February, 1983, and marked Slayer's definite venture into thrash metal. They secured a spot on the compilation appeareance "Metal Massacre III" in 1983, contributing the speed metal song "Aggressive Perfector". They also recorded two demos in 1983, and became a popular live act in the Los Angeles area. (In 1983, Bob Gourley filled in for Dave for one gig. He later appeared in Dark Angel (US).) Their debut LP, Show no Mercy, was recorded in November, 1983.
A live EP was recorded in the studio in front of 50 of their closest friends in January, 1984, and after that "Show No Mercy" was released. The "Haunting the Chapel" and "Live Undead" EPs followed.
After 1985's "Hell Awaits", Slayer were signed to Rick Rubin's Def Jam record label, better known for acts like Run DMC. This led to three studio albums, including the brutal "Reign in Blood", as well as a 1991 live double CD, "Decade of Aggression".
Dave Lombardo left the band in 1987 for several weeks, and was replaced for a few live gigs by Tony Scaglione (Whiplash (US)), and then again left in 1992. The band disappeared for a while, and was presumed killed in a bizarre gardening accident. Finally, in 1994, Paul Bostaph from Forbidden was brought in, and three more albums were recorded.
Then, in 2001, Bostaph left to join Systematic, and Lombardo, who had been in Grip Inc. and Fantomas rejoined the band.
Tom Araya - Vocals, Bass
Jeff Hanneman - Guitar
Kerry King - Guitar
Dave Lombardo - Drums