The first in a series of videos in which the members of SLAYER look back on the band's 37-year history can be seen below.
After making some of the most brutal, breathtakingly aggressive, all-hell's-a-breaking-loose music ever created, being one of the four bands that defined an entire musical genre and being the band that other heavy acts are measured against and aspire to... after nearly 37 years, releasing 12 studio albums, multiple live recordings, compilations, live video and two box sets, playing nearly 3000 concerts in all corners of the world, receiving countless awards including five Grammy nominations and two Grammy awards, gold records and other accolades...having its own exhibit in the Smithsonian Institute, gracing hundreds of magazine covers, experiencing the devastating loss of a founding brother, and even appearing on "The Tonight Show", the age of SLAYER, one of the greatest thrash/metal/punk bands of this or any age, is coming to an end.
SLAYER has announced that it will do one last concert tour around the globe to thank their fans for all of their support over the years, for making the last three and a half decades so packed with good times and unforgettable experiences, and will then move on.
LAMB OF GOD, ANTHRAX, BEHEMOTH and TESTAMENT will support SLAYER on the first leg, North America, of its final world tour.
SLAYER bassist/vocalist Tom Araya talked about his possible retirement in a 2016 interview with Loudwire. He said: "At 35 years, it's time to collect my pension. [Laughs] This is a career move." He continued: "I'm grateful that we've been around for 35 years; that's a really long time. So, yeah, to me, it is. Because 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, on days off, and spend some time with my family, which is something I wasn't able to do when [my kids] were growing up. Now they're both older and mature. So now I take advantage of that." Araya added: "Yeah, it just gets harder and harder to come back out on the road. 35 years is a long time."
Tom also revealed another reason for his diminished enjoyment of the touring life. He said: "There's things that have gone on in my life that have made me change how I play as a bass player. I had neck surgery, so I can't headbang anymore. And that was a big part of what I enjoyed doing what I do — singing and headbanging. I liked knowing that I was one of the fucking badass headbangers. That played a big part. Now I just groove with the music, which is cool, because I'm grooving with the music and the feel of the songs, so that's changed a little for me."
A few months later, SLAYER guitarist Kerry King told Germany's EMP Rock Invasion that Araya was "very unclear" about his plans for the band's future. "That's just how he is," Kerry said. "I don't know if he likes holding his cards in his pocket or what." He continued: "I mean, I don't have an answer [as to what the future holds for SLAYER]. I'm holding off a lot of things I wanna do at home, just 'cause I don't know if I'm gonna be working in two years. I'm gonna be working, hopefully in SLAYER. Yeah, dude. What else am I gonna do? I came out of high school and fucking went on tour. [Laughs]"
Pressed about whether there was any end in sight for SLAYER, King said: "Not for me. Not for me, man — especially on such a good record [2015's 'Repentless']."
When the interviewer said that he was looking forward to another 35 years of SLAYER, Kerry said: "Well, I don't know about that. I'll take another record or two."
SLAYER has been touring in support of its latest album, "Repentless", which was released in September 2015 via Nuclear Blast. That effort marked the band's first release since the death of SLAYER's co-founding guitarist Jeff Hanneman.
Hanneman contracted necrotizing fasciitis, also known as flesh-eating disease, in January 2011 from a spider bite in his backyard. The infection ravaged the flesh and tissues of Hanneman's arm, leading to numerous surgeries, skin grafts and intense periods of rehab that forced him into semi-retirement and left him near death at several points.
Hanneman eventually died in May 2013 from alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver. He is credited for writing many of SLAYER's classic songs, including "Angel Of Death" and "South Of Heaven".
Original SLAYER drummer Dave Lombardo was effectively fired from the band after sitting out the group's Australian tour in February/March 2013 due to a contract dispute with the other members of SLAYER. He has since been replaced by Paul Bostaph, who was previously SLAYER's drummer from 1992 until 2001 and recorded four albums with the band.