After nearly 40 years of having their logo spray-painted walls and, in one instance, carved into human flesh, thrash-metal firebrands Slayer will call it quits. The group will embark on a final tour this summer with support from numerous peers and bands they inspired, including Lamb of God, Anthrax, Behemoth and Testament. The first leg of the tour, which focuses on North America, kicks off May 10th in San Diego and wraps June 20th in Austin.
Tickets go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. local time. The group will be offering VIP packages that include meet-and-greet opportunities and one instance where fans can watch the band from onstage platforms.
The band announced its farewell with a 30-second video set to the oft-imitated riff and breakdown from their song “Raining Blood.” The clip promised “Slayer’s final North American tour dates,” so it’s unclear if they will be announcing additional legs of the tour in the U.S. after today’s dates.
“If you are lucky enough to be invited to play even just once with living legends like Slayer, it’s an incredible honor,” Lamb of God singer Randy Blythe said in a statement. “Slayer gave Lamb of God our very first two overseas shows. Slayer has subsequently taken us on several full-length tours, both at home and abroad. The guys in Slayer and their crew have also always been very, very cool to our band. It is irrefutable that Slayer helped create the genre of aggressive metal, and all modern bands of that ilk owe them a huge debt – I know we do. To be asked to be a part of their final tour – well, it just makes you stop and realize just how lucky you are. Hail Slayer! We’ll see you on the road.”
“It’s truly an honor to be on Slayer’s final tour,” Anthrax bassist Frank Bello said. “Anthrax and Slayer have toured together for decades, we are family, band and crew, so we want to help give Slayer the best send-off possible and to have one last blast with our friends. But you know, at the end of the day, Slayer will never die.”
“Slayer has influenced so many aggressive bands in their career,” Testament frontman Chuck Billy said. “This will be your last chance to see a tour like this.”
In a rare tacit moment, none of the band members have so far commented on why Slayer are retiring. In 2016, singer-bassist Tom Araya told Loudwire (via Blabbermouth), “At 35 years, it’s time to collect my pension. This is a career move. … It just gets harder and harder to come back out on the road. 35 years is a long time.” He also cited missing his family and the inability to headbang after getting neck surgery as reasons he’d want to quit. “I liked knowing that I was one of the fucking badass headbangers,” he explained of the latter reason. “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.”
Guitarist Kerry King, the only other co-founding member still active with the band, has expressed bemusement at the prospect of Slayer breaking up. Blabbermouth reports that he has said he’s been “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 … hopefully in Slayer.” In 2015, he told Rolling Stone that he had entertained the idea of working on a solo project. “There’s plenty of people that I considered doing [one] with … but I have to have Slayer covered before I consider anything like that,” he said at the time.
The rest of Slayer’s lineup is rounded out by Exodus guitarist Gary Holt, who stepped in for the late Jeff Hanneman in 2011, and drummer Paul Bostaph, who replaced Dave Lombardo when the latter had a contract disagreement with the band.
Slayer Tour Dates
5/10 – San Diego, CA @ Valley View Casino Center *
5/11 – Irvine, CA @ FivePoint Amphitheatre *
5/13 – Sacramento, CA @ Papa Murphy’s Park at Cal Expo
5/16 – Vancouver, BC @ PNE forum
5/17 – Penticton, BC @ South Okanagan Events Centre
5/19 – Calgary, AL @ Big Four *
5/20 – Edmonton, AB @ Shaw Centre *
5/22 – Winnipeg, MB @ Bell MTS Place *
5/24 – Minneapolis, MN @ The Armory *
5/25 – Chicago, IL @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
5/27 – Detroit, MI @ Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre @ Freedom Hill
5/29 – Toronto, ON @ Budweiser Stage
5/30 – Montreal, PQ @ Place Bell *
6/1 – Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun
6/2 – Holmdel, NJ @ PNC Banks Arts Center
6/4 – Reading, PA @ Santander Arena *
6/6 – Cincinnati, OH @ Riverbend Music Center
6/7 – Cleveland, OH @ Blossom Music Center
6/9 – Pittsburgh, PA @ KeyBank Pavilion
6/10 – Bristow, VA @ Jiffy Lube Live
6/12 – Virginia Beach, VA @ VUHL Amphitheatre
6/14 – Charlotte, NC @ PNC Music Pavilion *
6/15 – Orlando, FL @ Orlando Amphitheatre
6/17 – Houston, TX @ Smart Financial Center
6/19 – Dallas, TX @ The Bomb Factory
6/20 – Austin, TX @ Austin 360 Amphitheatre
* Anthrax will not appear at these dates.