Following a decade-spanning career, thrash titans Slayer have announced that 2019 will be the final year of touring before they hang up their leads and let their legacy do the headbanging.
In honour of this final visit to beloved Australian followers, we take a moment to look back at the Slayer tours of yesteryear. From maiden Australian Intervention, right until the last.
1995 - Australian Intervention
1995 was an offline, farflung era and much of how Slayer’s Inaugural Australian tour went has been lost to the ages. A blurb from an unnamed street press did stand the test of the time, describing a hard-fought first Australian tour for the band. Biohazard were main support proving that the 90’s really were the best.
Slayer’s presence was well and truly felt by the time they made it Down Under. It was off the back of 1994’s record Divine Intervention which peaked near the pointy end of our album charts at #27. Australian charts were no stranger to Slayer. Their 1990 album Season Of The Abyss and prior to that South Of Heaven both ranking in ARIA Top 100.
1998 - Diabolus In Musica
Australian fans didn’t need to wait too long between drinks for an almighty return. The same year Slayer released their 1998 opus Diabolus In Musica, they brought the record down for a headline run. No surprises there as once again the album found its way to the part of our ARIA charts normally reserved for the John Farnham's of the time - The Top 40.
A relic of a tour poster shows that the band had no problem filling big venues on the other side of the planet. The band stuck closely to the new album for the tour, but managed to squeeze in 'Gemini', a gem hidden within their covers album, 1996’s Undisputed Attitude.
2001 - Tattoo The Planet
Australia missed out on the first Slayer international run under the banner of Tattoo The Planet. Fortunately for us Aussie fans, the band announced a sequel of the tour. The tour coincided with the release of God Hates Us All, which dropped that year to mass critical acclaim and reached dizzying heights of Top 20.
Tattoo The Planet was an ill-fated tour; the panic of the 9/11 attacks causing many of the bands to withdraw involvement. However, when it came to Australia, they were joined by Machine Head and Static-X. Some old, dusty forum posts from the time indicate that the people of 2001 were well aware of how awesome this run was going to be.
2007 - Slayer with Mastodon
After a six year gap, Slayer announced their Australian return in 2007 alongside Mastodon. This was a strange time in the life of Slayer, who had experienced a line up change during the years prior. However, with the return of Dave Lombardo to the sticks, Australian fans were thrilled to get the original line up.
On the flip side, they’d just released Christ Illusion to critical acclaim (A Top 10 release in Australia), and received the Icon Award at the Metal God awards (it went #1 Stateside). Not to mention winning a Grammy for Best Metal Performances with 'Eyes of the Insane'.
2009 - Slayer with Megadeth
This is a tour that’s gone down in Australian heavy folklore as one of the more impressive displays of brutality our audiences have ever seen (despite Tom Araya having voice problems and enlisting fans to fill in the gaps). The tour was simply Slayer showing off how good they really are. Music Feeds described the Sydney show as “an almighty massive performance” coming in at 2 hours.
Still fresh from the print, World Painted Blood was a key feature of the run. Fans and industry couldn’t get enough of it, with the record once again putting the band in our Top 10 charts.
2011 - Soundwave Festival
Slayers first sojourn as part of the Soundwave spectacle was...eventful. By now, the band were well regarded as legends of the heavy music community, Big 4 members and well regarded ‘Untouchables’ of the scene. However, the band pulled out of their Sydney show after Tom Araya fell ill.
The fans damn near rioted, with some burning their merch. It was a sight to behold, and a strong indication of just how beloved Slayer had become in Australia.
But, you never really can destroy metal.
2013 - Soundwave Festival
2013 was a tough year for Slayer and their fans. Not only did original guitarist Jeff Hanneman pass away, but the band also parted ways with drummer Dave Lombardo...mere days before arriving for Soundwave 2013. To make up for it, Slayer tagged in Anthrax drummer Jon Dette.
Drama aside, Australian fans lost their minds during the bands shows.
Photo: Zoltan Blazer
2019 - Download Festival Australia
Slayer have now chosen Download Festival 2019 as their final adventure of Australia. The band will be holding high their latest album, 2015’s Repentless, a fitting farewell given that the album was the band's debut in our Top THREE album charts.
So this coming March, Slayer will land at Download fearlessly and aggressively. After thirty-seven years, twelve studio albums and countless shows, Slayer have placed themselves in music history as one of the most influential bands in heavy metal. You'd be a fool to miss their final shows. Get your tickets now.
Written by Mike Hohnen - A Music journalist who isn't just good...he's good enough