Slayer is a thrash metal band featuring Kerry King on guitar, Tom Araya on bass and vocals, Jeff Hanneman (also on guitar) and a number of different drummers. The band has recorded a number of albums since their formation in 1981 in Huntington Beach, California.
Slayer, along with Metallica and Anthrax, among others, are often credited with creating the thrash metal genre, by speeding up the sound of NWOBHM bands, such as Iron Maiden. Slayer, however, are alone among their peers in having never had widespread accusations of "selling out" or of "softening" made against them. Slayer are also often credited with creating the death metal genre; though Slayer never used the "Grunt" type of vocal associated with that genre, the influence of their music can be heard in the music of subsequent death metal bands.
Slayer are also credited as an important influence in the development of death metal and black metal. Though Slayer never used the death metal style of vocals, they can be regarded, musically, as a proto-death metal band, most notably on their albums Hell Awaits and Reign in Blood.
In 1996, a lawsuit was brought against the band by the parents of Elyse Pahler, who accused the band of encouraging their daughter's murderers through their lyrics. The lawsuit was thrown out in 2001.