There had already been rumours about this possible decision of the band, and in fact Tom Araya himself in 2016 prefigured that the time were ripe enough to retire: “At 35 years, it's time to collect my pension. [Laughs] This is a career move." He continued: "I'm grateful that we've been around for 35 years; that's a really long time. So, yeah, to me, it is. Because when we started off, everything was great, because you're young and invincible. And then there came a time where I became a family man, and I had a tough time flying back and forth. And now, at this stage, at the level we're at now, I can do that; I can fly home when I want to, on days off, and spend some time with my family, which is something I wasn't able to do when [my kids] were growing up. Now they're both older and mature. So now I take advantage of that." Araya added: "Yeah, it just gets harder and harder to come back out on the road. 35 years is a long time.” (source Blabbermouth)
Interesting is also that this decision is partly due to his incapability of headbanging, which deprived him of all the enjoyment of playing live: “There's things that have gone on in my life that have made me change how I play as a bass player. I had neck surgery, so I can't headbang anymore. And that was a big part of what I enjoyed doing what I do — singing and headbanging. I liked knowing that I was one of the fucking badass headbangers. That played a big part. Now I just groove with the music, which is cool, because I'm grooving with the music and the feel of the songs, so that's changed a little for me.” (source Blabbermouth)
We can always hope that Slayer will tack back this decision; history gives us hope, since we have examples of many bands that have continued playing after announcing retirement; one random name At the Gates. Here below the video with the announcement.
Text by Herjann