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Jeff Hanneman's Sickest Slayer Jamz!

by Terry Stevens

Photo by Victoria Morse, Creative Commons license .

With the loss of Slayer's Jeff Hanneman comes the loss of one of metal's greatest songwriters.  If you're a Slayer fan, odds are, your favorite Slayer song's music and/or lyrics were composed by Hanneman.

Let's take a look back at a musical legacy that wrote the blueprint for extreme metal.

"Die By the Sword"

From Slayer's first full length album, Show No Mercy. Featuring lyrics and music by Hanneman, it let the world of metal know that Slayer was not here to f**k around:

"Angel of Death"

Slayer's calling card and the opener to their legendary album, Reign In Blood.  Lyrics and music by Hanneman and a staple of every Slayer concert, playlist, mixtape and conversation ever since.

"Raining Blood"

Featuring lyrical contributions from bandmate and fellow Slayer guitarist Kerry King, "Raining Blood" closed the Reign In Blood album and left other metal bands (and possibly Slayer themselves) wondering "How in the hell am I going to top THAT?"

"South of Heaven"

Following Reign in Blood was no easy feat.  With the sinister opening riff in "South of Heaven", and lyrics from bandmate Tom Araya, Hanneman let fans know that Slayer still had it.

"Spill the Blood"

The closer from South of Heaven.  Lyrics and music by Hanneman.  Another eerie opening riff, another Slayer classic.

"War Ensemble"

After the more progressive flourishes on South of Heaven, fans knew the second they heard "War Ensemble" kick of Seasons in the Abyss, that Slayer could still write face-melting thrash.  Music by Hanneman.  Lyrics by Hanneman and Araya, the Lennon/McCartney of thrash.

"Seasons in the Abyss"

While Tom Araya handled the lyrics on this song, Hanneman's epic, sprawling composition is what really makes "Seasons..." shine.  An instant classic.

This meager list presents only a fraction of Hanneman's talent.  His writing has influenced thousands of bands that swim in Slayer's immense wake.  If your favorite band is fast, heavy and brutal, they owe a debt of gratitude to Slayer and the late Jeff Hanneman.  RIP.


"Scary" Terry Stevens is the host of Scary Terry's Saturday Nightmare , a 3 hour metal show heard every Saturday from 9 to Midnight CST on Rock 94.7/102.9 in Central Wisconsin, online at www.rock947.com/listen-live and on your smartphone or tablet when you download the Rock 94.7 app.