By now, it’s common knowledge that Slayer really isn’t the band to turn to when in need of a thoughtful, nuanced dialogue. Though it’d be easy to see the band as a left-leaning entity—what with all those songs about war being awful and, you know, the whole Satan thing—the band’s had a long history of being dogged for its conservative nature, and not unjustly. It began with one of the band’s best known songs, “Angel Of Death.” Serving as the opening track to the band’s iconic 1986 album Reign In Blood, “Angel Of Death” is a song about the atrocities committed by Josef Mengele at Auschwitz concentration camp. Though it’s easy to outright decry it, it’s far from the most reasoned way to approach the atrocities committed in concentration camps throughout the Holocaust.
The band would catch further heat in 1996 for its cover of Minor Threat’s most misguided song, “Guilty Of Being White.” Famously, the band changed the final line to “Guilty of being right,” which took an already dodgy song and spun it into a white nationalist anthem. Through it all, Slayer has time and again denied that the band is at all racist, citing that “Angel Of Death” is akin to a documentary, or using the fact that vocalist-bassist Tom Araya is of Chilean descent as proof of the band’s ideals. Anyway, here’s a photo of Slayer’s late guitarist Jeff Hanneman, who famously wrote “Angel Of Death” giving the white power salute.
So it should come as no surprise that Slayer would post this photo on Instagram on Inauguration Day:
The photo was taken down but has since reappeared, with some supporting text from Araya that only goes to prove that, while Slayer may not be a racist band, it’s certainly really fucking dumb. “I never would have guessed that there where so many snowflakes commenting their distaste for the new president,” Araya wrote, finishing it off with this gloriously idiotic line, “Like him or not he is the president.”
Araya only makes matters worse in the comments, where he goes on to claim, “This is how fake news gets started, not once did I say that I supported Trump.” And sure, fine, but then maybe explain this homophobic comment that, as Pitchfork notes, was directed at an openly gay Slayer fan and signed with three emojis cry-laughing.
For its part, Stereogum ran an article simply titled “Fuck Slayer,” which is a completely reasonable response given the band’s quick turn toward alt-right trolling. If anything, it serves as a good reason to blast Atom And His Package’s “Hats Off To Halford,” a song that encourages the metal community to be a more open, accepting place while also taking strides to “Make those Nazi, fucking pricks in Slayer a little uncomfortable.”
Update: As reported by Rolling Stone, the other guys in Slayer have responded to Araya’s post, saying that it “does not belong on a Slayer social page.” Here’s the full statement:
As was verified by Tom, this was his post, is not something the band would have posted if asked, and does not belong on a Slayer social page. We all have our personal opinions, some of which we have voiced in the past, but Slayer has never endorsed any political party or any candidate, and the band intends to keep it that way.