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, Anthrax, and others) are often credited with creating the thrash metal genre, by speeding up the sound of New Wave Of British Heavy Metal bands like Iron Maiden. Slayer are also often credited with creating the death metal genre, as well as influencing the creation of black metal. Though Slayer never used the "grunt" type of vocal associated with that genre, their music -- most notably on the albums Hell Awaits and Reign in Blood -- can be regarded, musically, as proto-death metal.

The 1986 album Reign in Blood was described by the magazine Kerrang! as "the heaviest album of all time".

The band received their first Grammy nomination for "Best Metal Performance" on January 8, 2002.

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.