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Band Info

This intense death/thrash metal quartet was formed in Huntington Beach, Los Angeles, USA, during 1982. Comprising Tom Araya (b. Thomas Araya, 6 June 1961, Valparaiso, Chile; bass, vocals), Kerry King (b. 3 June 1964, Los Angeles, California, USA; guitar), Jeff Hanneman (b. 31 January 1964, Oakland, California, USA; guitar) and Dave Lombardo (b. 16 February 1963, Havana, Cuba; drums), they made their debut in 1983, with a track on the compilation Metal Massacre III. This led to Metal Blade signing the band and releasing their first two albums. Show No Mercy and Hell Awaits were undiluted blasts of pure white metallic noise. The band played at breakneck speed with amazing technical precision, but the intricacies of detail were lost in a muddy production. Araya's lyrics dealt with death, carnage, Satanism and torture, but were reduced to an indecipherable guttural howl. Rick Rubin, producer and owner of the Def Jam Records label teamed up with the band in 1986 for the recording of Reign In Blood . Featuring 10 tracks in just 28 minutes, it took the concept of thrash to its ultimate conclusion. The song "Angel Of Death" became notorious for its references to Joseph Mengele, the Nazi doctor who committed atrocities against humanity (ironic, given that Araya has non-Aryan origins). They themselves admitted to a right-wing stance on matters of society and justice, despite being the subject of virulent attacks from that quarter over the years.

Hell Awaits saw Rubin achieve a breakthrough in production with a clear and inherently powerful sound, and opened up the band to a wider audience. South Of Heaven represented Slayer applying the brakes and introducing brain-numbing bass riffs similar to Black Sabbath , but was delivered with the same manic aggression as before. The guitars of Hanneman and King screamed violently and Araya's vocals were comprehensible for the first time. Seasons In The Abyss pushed the band to the forefront of the thrash metal genre, alongside Metallica . A state-of-the-art album in every respect, although deliberately commercial, it is the band's most profound and convincing statement. A double live album followed, recorded in London, Lakeland, and San Bernadino between October 1990 and August 1991. It captured the band at their brutal and uncompromising best and featured definitive versions of many of their most infamous numbers. However, it saw the permanent departure of Lombardo after many hints of a separation, with ex- Forbidden drummer Paul Bostaph (b. 4 March 1964, San Francisco, California, USA; stepping in. Lombardo went on to form Grip Inc., working with Death leader Chuck Schuldiner. In 1994, the band worked alongside Ice-T on a cover version of the Exploited 's "Disorder" for the Judgement Night soundtrack, before unveiling their sixth studio album, Divine Intervention . Bostaph was replaced by Jon Dette (ex- Testament ) on Undisputed Attitude , a covers album that demonstrated the band's punk influence and featured a particularly inspired version of the Stooges ' "I Wanna Be Your Dog'. Bostaph rejoined the band for 1998"s Diabolus In Musica