Well, this is a surprise, isn’t it? A quiet Monday afternoon in the Metal Hammer office, gorging on cake and Coca Cola, interrupted by the news that Slayer are calling it quits. They have ceased to be. They are an ex-Slayer. Etc.
A tweet and subsequent Facebook post from the band revealed that after 35+ years, the thrash veterans are going to embark on one more world tour and then fuck off for good. And frankly, I couldn’t be happier.
And before you sit there, bogged down in your stained underwear, tap-tap-tapping away that I’m an idiot who doesn’t like metal and should be waterboarded for my heinous words, I am a Slayer fan. I’ve been a Slayer fan since I first heard the sinister intro to Raining Blood in my youth, and have since thrown myself around in countless circle pits as King, Araya and co. do their best to break every bone in my puny body. But that was then, and this is now. And all bad things must come to an end.
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It’s actually a surprise that Slayer are the first of The Big Four to split up (although god knows how many iterations of Megadeth we’re on now), but let’s hope other veterans follow suit. There is no need for bands to carry on forever. Bodies are not meant to live the rock ‘n’ roll life ad infinitum – Tom Araya can’t even headbang any more. Nobody wants to see middle-aged men trying to relive their piss and vinegar youth, while they can’t actually bend over and touch their toes without assistance.
Slayer were a destructive force in the ‘80s, like something straight out of a horror movie. While Anthrax were for skaters and Metallica were for pissheads, Slayer were fucking terrifying. The banshee scream of Tom Araya, the squealing engine of Kerry’s guitar – unmistakable. And it’s something that should be preserved, not wheeled out year after year for another paycheck. Oh, another tour. Oh, another live album. Oh, another Christmas jumper. Repeat, repeat, repeat, blah blah blah. This isn’t the Slayer I know or the Slayer I want. Slayer are on form at the minute – their last show at Brixton Academy proved that – and that’s who I want to see now. I don’t want them to try and keep their foot on the gas for another decade because they’ll burn out, they’ll fall out, they’ll probably pass out. I don’t want to picture Kerry King, aged 65, half-blind, picking up the phone to Tom Araya who by now has turned to stone, trying to sync iPhone calendars for another 18-month trek around the world. Give me that Brixton gig one more time and I’ll give you every last ounce of blood and sweat I can muster, saluting one of the greatest metal bands of all time.
I love you, Slayer. But you need to do this. You need to go away, never to return. Walk off into the sunset on your own terms and never come back. We’ll miss you, but this suicide is mandatory.