Iconic producer Rick Rubin has gone on the record labelling noted thrash-metal icons Slayer as “one of the inventors of black metal,” a claim which has divided metalheads around the world.
Ever since they hit the scene back in the early ’80s, Slayer were considered one of the most ferocious metal bands going around.
With a brutal sound, characterised by their pounding drum beats, downtuned riffs, and passionate vocals, the group soon helped to popularise the thrash metal genre alongside names like Metallica, Anthrax, and Megadeth.
Teaming up with Rick Rubin in 1986, the fabled producer helped to bring the band to greater fame, helming their landmark record Reign In Blood.
However, the producer has now caused a little bit of controversy, taking part in a recent interview in which he labelled Slayer “one of the inventors of black metal,” a genre quite far removed from thrash metal.
Check out Rick Rubin discussing Slayer on the Broken Record podcast:
Speaking with T Bone Burnett on the Broken Record podcast (via Lambgoat), Rick Rubin echoed the claims of Atreyu by noting that Slayer were instrumental in the creation of black metal.
“Something that I noticed relatively early, in working with different artists that was interesting was that… One of the bands I worked with is called Slayer,” Rubin explained.
“Heavy metal band, one of the inventors of black metal, very aggressive metal, and the lyrics were very dark and heavy.”
“To some people they would look at that as negative content, and then I would go to a concert and see an arena full of kids who were very much like the guys in Slayer, who were so filled with joy listening to this music.”
“It was speaking directly to them,” he added. “It completely was nourishing them. ‘Kumbaya’ would not have reached them.”
Learn about ‘The Differences Between The Metal Genres’:
Now, to an average music fan, this might seem like an acceptable description of Slayer. After all, black metal is known to have derived from thrash metal, with bands like Venom, Bathory, and Mercyful Fate being considered among the genre’s pioneers.
However, it’s the musical and aesthetic aspects of black metal not employed by Slayer that had some fan questioning Rick Rubin’s comments.
With vocals that switch between shrieking and guttural sounds, to themes of Satanism, and an aesthetic approach that focuses largely on death, some have wondered if Rubin’s knowledge of the black metal scene is shallow at best, or if he maybe misspoke in his assessment of the group.
Whatever the case, Slayer are currently heading towards the end of their career, having recently performed in Australia as part of their final-ever world tour.
Needless to say, the world will be a mark darker place without those iconic, uh, ‘black metal pioneers’.