Slayer formed in Los Angeles in 1982 and always existed to be the heaviest and the fastest – and to stand at the farthest remove from decency and normality.
It worked best in 1986 when they snuffed the genre of ‘thrash’ metal in its infancy with their third album, the 28-minutes of wild staring murder that was Reign In Blood.
Any album which opens with the lines, “Auschwitz, the meaning of pain, The way that I want you to die,” is going to grab your attention.
It certainly pricked up some ears at CBS who refused to distribute the album.
In March 1996, the parents of a teenage murder victim named Elyse Pahler sued the band and their record label, Rick Rubin’s American Recordings, claiming that the band’s lyrics were “satanic” and inspired three boys to rape, torture and stab their daughter to death near her home in San Luis Obispo, Califonia.
The three youths admitted murder and were sent to prison for at least 25 years but the Pahler family insisted that the band knowingly marketed and distributed “harmful and obscene” material to minors. The initial case was thrown out with the judge stating, “There’s not a legal position that could be taken that would make Slayer responsible for the girl’s death”.
The Pahlers launched a second lawsuit which was also dismissed with the judge stating, “I do not consider Slayer’s music obscene, indecent or harmful to minors.”