TORONTO - This weekend, the biggest names in Heavy Metal come to town to play in the first annual Heavy T.O. Festival. The two-day event takes place at Downsview Park July 23rd-24th, and Toronto News 24 will be there, covering all the action. This is the 2nd of a 6-part series, profiling each of the Headlining Artists performing in Toronto.
Since 1981, few bands in the world have rocked quite as hard and as heavy as Slayer. When guitarists Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King met auditioning for a band, they immediately realized each other’s talent. Before long, they decided to start a band together. Hanneman brought in Tom Araya, who he knew from a previous band, to be the band’s singer and bassist, while drummer Dave Lombardo joined the band after delivering a pizza to King.
Before long, the band was playing cover songs of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest at parties and clubs, they were discovered and signed to Metal Blade Records, and produced their first album, ‘Show No Mercy’, in 1983. The following year, the band went on the road for the first time, travelling around the U.S. in Lombardo’s Camaro.
The band would gain national attention in 1985, with the release of their 2nd album, ‘Hell Awaits’. A critical and commercial success, the album won numerous awards from Metal magazines on both sides of the ocean, and the band went back into the studio to work their 3rd album.
‘Reign In Blood’ was released in ’86, and would become their first to wind up on the Billboard Top 200, debuting at #94. It would also become Slayer’s first Gold record in the United States. It is still considered one of the most influential Metal albums of all-time, and MTV would refer to it as the album directly responsible for the rise of Death Metal.
After the band’s 5th album, drummer Dave Lombardo would quit the band in 1992, as he refused to tour with the band to be home for the birth of his first child. Replaced by Paul Bostaph, formerly of the band Forbidden, Slayer would continue on, recording four more albums between 1994 and 2001. Bostaph would suffer a chronic elbow injury that would cause him to leave the band at the end of 2001, and Slayer would begin search for another new drummer.
That search would eventually bring them back to where they started, when Lombardo would rejoin the band early in 2002, ten years after quitting. “It’s kind of right back where we started,” Araya would say in 2006. “He’s an amazing performer. We took off right where we left off, you know? It’s like he was never gone.”
The band would release two more albums since that time, ‘Christ Illusion’ in 2006, and ‘World Painted Blood’ in 2009. Slayer would win back to back Grammy Awards in 2007 and 2008 for Best Metal Performance, both from the ‘Christ Illusion’ album.
By far, one of the most influential Heavy Metal bands of all-time, Slayer will be playing Heavy T.O. on Sunday evening, taking the stage at approximately 7:00pm. Weekend pass and Single Day Passes are still available for Heavy T.O. by visiting Ticketmaster.
Photo: Slayer (from left: Kerry King, Jeff Hanneman, Tom Araya, and Dave Lombardo) (Photo Courtesy: Mark Seliger/slayer.net)