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Metal Legends Slayer to Reunite for 2024 Festival Gigs

The group, which disbanded following a farewell tour in 2019, will play Riot Fest and the Louder Than Life Festival next September.

slayer
Source: MEGA

Slayer will play its first shows since a 2019 farewell tour next fall.

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Less than five years after concluding a well-publicized farewell tour, thrash metal icons Slayer are reuniting. The legendarily heavy SoCal quartet will be playing two headlining festival gigs later in the year: first at Chicago’s Riot Fest on September 22, and then at Louisville, Kentucky’s Louder Than Life Festival the following week.

Any other future plans for the band are still unknown, although — in true Slayer style — the band’s newly updated website promises: “A new unholy gateway coming soon.” Tickets for both festivals are currently on sale.

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slayer
Source: MEGA

Tom Araya (left) and Kerry King (right) are the band's only remaining original members.

“Nothing compares to the 90 minutes when we’re on stage playing live, sharing that intense energy with our fans,” vocalist-bassist Tom Araya said in a statement. “And to be honest, we have missed that.”

Guitarist Kerry King added: "Slayer means a lot to our fans; they mean a lot to us. It will be five years since we have seen them.”

The group announced its farewell tour back in 2018, and spent more than a year on the road, playing 147 shows before delivering an uncharacteristically emotional rendition of “Angel of Death” at the Forum in Los Angeles to close out the band’s career. At the time, only two original members remained — Araya and King — with original drummer Dave Lombardo having left the group for a second time in 2013. Founding guitarist Jeff Hanneman, sidelined due to necrotizing fasciitis brought on by a spider bite, died of liver failure in 2013.

Paul Bostaph, who drummed in the band following Lombardo’s initial departure in 1992, has been Slayer’s drummer since 2013, while former Exodus guitarist Gary Holt replaced Hanneman.

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Source: MEGA

Araya onstage at New York's Madison Square Garden during the band's 2019 farewell tour.

Formed in 1981, Slayer quickly established itself as the fastest and darkest of thrash metal’s core “Big Four” bands, alongside Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax. After two albums on indie label Metal Blade, the group made a surprise move to Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin’s Def Jam, then known exclusively as a hip-hop imprint. With Rubin behind the boards as producer, the band’s first Def Jam release, 1986’s Reign in Blood, brought the band a new level of notoriety, and has since been regarded as a landmark of the genre.

While the band’s thrash peers — especially Metallica — veered into more radio-friendly territory at the dawn of the 1990s, Slayer stuck to its guns to a much greater degree, although the band experienced some mainstream success all the same. Divine Intervention saw the band reach No. 8 on the Billboard album charts in 1994, a somewhat remarkable coup considering the album’s thoroughly uncompromising bleakness. The Christ Illusion reached No. 5 in 2006, while final Slayer album Repentless was the highest-charting release of the band’s career, hitting No. 4 in 2015. Slayer won five Grammys, all in the Best Metal Performance category.

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Source: MEGA

Guitarist Kerry King will release his debut solo album next month.

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Since the band’s retirement, Araya has largely cut a quiet figure, while King (who has made little secret of the fact that was not happy about Slayer's disbandment) has been active promoting his upcoming solo album, From Hell I Rise, which is due out next month. In recent interviews, King seemed notably pessimistic on the prospect of a Slayer reunion tour.

"I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen," King told Rolling Stone when asked about the possibility. "Could Slayer play a show again? I'm sure there's a scenario. Am I looking for it? No, I'm just getting ready to start my career. So if that happens, it happens.”

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