Slayer’s original band name was wildly different
Between the moniker itself and the look of their iconic logo, Slayer undoubtedly has one of the best band names in metal history. The simplicity, the aggressive design and the insinuation of the word that they are murderers armed with swords sums up their horrific sound and eerie vibe perfectly – much more than the band’s original name.
As Dave Lombardo mentioned during a 2015 strong wire interview, the four original band members – guitarist Kerry King, bassist-vocalist Tom Araya, guitarist Jeff Hanneman and drummer Lombardo – almost dubbed their soon-to-be-legendary number Wings of Fire instead of Slayer. While coming up with band names at the time of their formation in 1981, Lombardo said the final decision came down to a choice between these two names, and had they chosen the former, it could have had a completely different impact on their career. . Wings of Fire is pretty badass, but in 2022 it sounds more like an 80s power-metal or hair-metal band than a thrash band. He certainly doesn’t have the same ring as Slayer.
“I remember we had just decided that the band’s name would be Slayer instead of Wings of Fire. Those were the two choices,” Lombardo said of drawing Slayer’s iconic logo. “I remember we were in a living room and Tom’s parents had this blue rug and we were trying to figure out what the logo would look like. And I said, ‘Well, what’s a murderer – a guy who kills – what does he do?”
At this point in the video interview, Lombardo made a sculpting gesture to mimic the blows of a blade maniac. “So I sculpted it,” Lombardo said. “Obviously I’m left-handed, so all angles are all left-handed.”
Who knows what the Wings of Fire logo would have looked like and how the band would have been received among their peers in the Southern California thrash scene, where other bands had one-word names like Metallica and Exodus. Of course, this is all speculative, but we’re glad they chose Slayer. What a one-fuck-with-able name.