When it comes to music, metal fans are some of the most fickle people on the planet. But one band most metalheads can agree on is Slayer. You would be hard pressed to find an album as coveted in heavy metal as 1986's 'Reign in Blood.' That said -- the Southern California combo has never put their name on anything weak. Their most recent full-length album, 2009's 'World Painted Blood,' features some of the most impassioned songwriting and performances of their career.
Months have passed, and with Araya still recovering, Slayer made their live return a couple of weeks back for an AOL Sessions performance. "I'm not going to be head banging anymore. Which is kinda a sad note for me, because I do it so well," Araya laughingly told us after their exclusive performance. We asked the frontman if all the years of doing his famous windmill head spins on stage lead to his health issues, "Yeah, that contributed to it. But you know -- 49 years of living will do that to you."
During Slayer's Sessions appearance, the band pulled material from several phases of their discography. 'World Painted Blood' was represented with the title track and 'Hate Worldwide,' both opening their comeback performance. Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman's twin-headed guitar assault sounded absolutely sinister on 'Mandatory Suicide' from 1988's 'South of Heaven.' The veteran axe team also got a workout on the double shot of 'Chemical Warfare' and 'Raining Blood,' both from Slayer's speedy mid-'80s period. But its drum dynamo Dave Lombardo that truly goes for the throat during the Sessions taping. His double bass pedal work in the taping sounds as accurate and menacing as it did when he first became a hero to drummers across the globe.
Slayer will be touring throughout the summer, and starting on June 16th the band will be joining Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax, as part of 'The Big Four Tour.' The trek will only run seven dates, but the combination of these behemoth talents has already gotten the rumor mill turning -- so we'll keep our fingers crossed for a U.S. tour announcement. For now, sit back and check out Slayer's Sessions performance. We're sure you'll agree that Tom Araya's back surgery hasn't slowed the band up one bit.