Formed: 1981 in Huntington Park, Calif.

Members: Tom Araya, Kerry King, Jeff Hanneman, Dave Lombardo

Latest release: World Painted Blood, released in late 2009, finds Rick Rubin back as executive producer, Dave Lombardo on the drum throne and songs that balance hardcore and melodic song structures.

Why you care: Face it: Metallica let us down, Dave Mustaine is a crybaby, and Anthrax was never good to start with. As long as Dave Lombardo is playing drums in Slayer, one of the "big four" thrash giants is going to be playing the fastest, heaviest classic metal music out there. Sure, death metal and black metal can be speedier, "colder" or more contemporary. But Slayer created the blueprint for pretty much all of it with 1986 genre classic, Reign in Blood. Fourteen years later, that album might not seem to be the blitzkrieg of violent noise that it did upon release, but it still retains all of its power and excellence. And though the guys in Slayer are pushing 50, they can still bring it live. Don't expect that to last forever, though. There's only so much punishment, screaming, and blasting anyone can put out (Lemmy of Motörhead being a soul-selling exception). It's also been over 15 years since Slayer last did North American dates with Megadeth. So finish carving Slayer on your arm and put on some fresh bandages, because HELL AWAITS!

Sounds like: Blood raining from a lacerated sky.

For fans of: Venom, Judas Priest, skateboards, horror movies, church burning, Stella Artois, crank, monster trucks, neck injuries, mosh pits—and motherfuckin' Slayer!

SEE IT: Slayer plays Saturday, Sept. 4, at Washington County Fairplex, with Megadeth and Testament. Seats are $39.50 advance or $45 at the door. 6 pm (4:30 doors). All ages.