Feature: Jeff Hanneman of Slayer's Music Will Never Die
Fri, 03 May 2013 11:15:43
Jeff Hanneman tragically passed away yesterday. This isn't just a crushing blow to heavy metal, but to pop culture as a whole. Slayer's impact can be felt everywhere. On South Park, Cartman famously used Reign in Blood to clear out a gathering of hippies. Deadmau5 has rocked a Slayer t-shirt to awards shows. Anytime you hear somebody scream, "Slayer", it's like a rallying cry of solidarity against the din of conformity and the violent wail of flaccid, force-fed pop. However, even with Hanneman's passing, the music that he wrote and recorded will never ever die.
Hanneman laid the groundwork for a legacy of brutality that can't be diminished. In fact, Slayer's influence has grown even stronger and more pervasive in the past few years. They shared the stage with Metallica for the Big 4 overseas with Mr. Hanneman even making his triumphant comeback at the Indio, CA gig. Mind you, that was the same spot where Coachella—the bastion of all things wrong with music—takes place. It was just as full for the unholy union of Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax as it had been for whoever the hell played Coachella and no one remembers now.
When you hear Hanneman's work on albums like Hell Awaits, Reign In Blood, South of Heaven, and Seasons in the Abyss, it's simply invigorating. Slayer can bring anybody to their feet in adoration or abhorrence. That's the mark of legends. Hanneman penned "Disciple", from God Hates Us All, and it's opened countless Slayer gigs. That staccato, staggering riff of his coupled with the refrain "God hates us all" is as poignant, potent, and powerful as rock music gets, period. Hanneman didn't just elevate thrash music with his unique perspective and flawless playing it. He defined it in many ways.
Let's reiterate. His work is never going to fade away. Every time some kid hears Divine Intervention or Haunting the Chapel for the first time, a mind is expanded and eyes are opened. Slayer's importance will only get stronger. The saddest thing is that Hanneman isn't here to witness that.
I'll never forget watching Slayer alongside Pantera on the Extreme Steel tour, arguably the best show anybody could ever see. The passion with which Hanneman played inspired me to do better. It pushed me. It drove me. It still does to this day.
Consider every word I've written on this site somehow dedicated to Slayer. Thank you for the inspiration up to this point and the inspiration to come. Rest in peace sir.
What's your favorite Slayer song?
ALL PHOTOS © Kevin Estrada / kevinestrada.com