Heavy metal rock band Slayer has come under fire over the past few weeks for allegedly using satanic imagery in many of their songs and on album covers. Several influential religious groups have recently discovered satanic references in the band’s work and are looking for answers. Barbara Weishaupt, the leader of Christians For Decency and So On and So On, has gone so far as to claim that Slayer actually makes several direct references to hell on the 1985 album “Hell Awaits”.
In a statement released by the band, lead singer Tom Araya denied that the band was referring to the mythical land of the dead where sinners are punished, but was, in fact, attempting to acknowledge famed Hungarian astronomer Maximilian Hell. Hell is best known for his patient, lifelong study of the surface of the moon. His work was so influential that several lunar craters are named after him.
However, not all of Slayer’s references to the devil can be so easily explained. For example, the band has been accused of referring to the dark prince of the underworld in the song Altar of Sacrifice when Araya screams “Enter to the realm of Satan!” In fact, in a 2006 interview with Boys’ Life Magazine, guitarist Kerry King claimed that the song is actually a reference to the final act of Shakespeare’s 1973 play “Macbeth”.
In the play, Seyton, Macbeth’s servant, bares witness to the decline and fall of the Scottish ruler’s empire. King, who recently portrayed Romeo in a Shakespeare in the Park version of “Romeo and Juliet”, is an avid fan of The Bard’s work and wanted the song to “reflect the realm of despair that Macbeth’s was in as he and his trusted servant dealt with news of their immanent demise.”
In the song “Skeleton Christ”, Slayer has been accused of using the expression “hail Satan” as an attempt to show their allegiance with the devil. This lyric, in fact, was written by Tom Araya during his conversion to vegetarianism and is actually supposed to be heard as “hail seitan”.
Slayer has also gone on record in the past in an attempt to clear up the misconceptions related to the song “Jesus Saves”. While some in the religious community have claimed the song to be a sarcastic dismissal of Christian values, it is actually meant to be in praise of Christians who are frugal with their money. The band’s original drummer, name withheld at the request of Kerry King, even went so far as to say that the band considered opening a bank called “Jesus Saves” in order to offer better interest rates to deeply committed members of the Christian faith.
Much of Slayer’s career has been filled with these false, libelous accusations. The album 2006 album, often incorrectly dubbed “Christ Illusion”, is actually supposed to be “Christ Allusion”, and is meant to be an indirect reference to famed German botanist and inventor of the fern Konrad Hermann Christ.
Many album covers are thought to be satanic themed drawings. Again, it’s merely an unhappy coincidence. Years ago, Kerry King asked his 7-year-old niece Wendy to draw him pictures of what she witnessed on her journey through the streets of downtown Cleveland, Ohio, promising her that the band would use the pictures as album covers. To date, every album cover has been taken from the drawings that little Wendy produced on her visit to East 55th Street on that fateful day.
The band has weathered the many storms of bad publicity and controversy due to the often deluded, utterly paranoid American public’s breathtaking ability to become wildly concerned about issues that have no impact on their lives, but it has come at a cost to their reputations. Things have gotten so bad that Kerry King has had to abandon his missionary work in Zanzibar because of all of the bizarre stories about the music.
Sadly, Slayer seems doomed to spend the latter part of their careers fighting off these irresponsible and inaccurate allegations made by a public hell-bent on removing satanic references from the minds of America’s young and impressionable future corporate employees.