Macabre metal masters Slayer call it quits

This file photo taken on August 4, 2017 shows (L-R) guitarist Gary Holt, bassist/singer Tom Araya and guitarist Kerry King of Slayer performing at The Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada

Slayer, whose lugubrious, occult-infused music helped create the genre of thrash metal, on Tuesday announced that the group was retiring after a final tour.

The metal band, whose founding member and key songwriter Jeff Hanneman died in 2013, said it was retiring after nearly 37 years of making "the most brutal, breathtakingly aggressive, all-hell's-a-breaking-loose music ever created."

"The age of Slayer, one of the greatest thrash/metal/punk bands of this or any age, is coming to an end," the group immodestly wrote on Instagram.

The band said it would start its farewell tour on May 10 in San Diego, playing across the United States and Canada before a final date on June 20 in Austin, Texas.

Emerging in Los Angeles in the early 1980s, Slayer wrote ferocious metal songs driven by minor keys, intense bursts of speed and gloomy guitar riffs.

Yet Slayer distinguished itself for the extent to which it embraced the dark side, with lyrics that evoked Satanism and stages decked out with upside-down crucifixes under blood-red lights.

Slayer frequently raised controversy and faced allegations of Nazi sympathies, which the band denied, for its song "Angel of Death" about human experiments in a concentration camp.

It also came under fire for its 2006 song "Jihad," which related the September 11 attacks from the viewpoint of the Al-Qaeda assailants and quoted plot leader Mohammed Atta.

Slayer released its 12th and apparently final album in 2015, "Repentless." The album was its first without guitarist Hanneman, who died from a flesh-eating bacteria after he was bitten by a spider while taking a bath.

The group more recently raised eyebrows when its frontman, Chilean-born Tom Araya, posted a picture of President Donald Trump, although he said the gesture was a provocation rather than a statement of support.

Slayer is considered one of the four founding bands of thrash metal, the subgenre marked by dark aggression. The others are Anthrax -- which will join Slayer on the final tour -- as well as Megadeth and Metallica, which has been by far the most commercially successful.