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  • Feature: Top 15 Jeff Hanneman Slayer Songs

    Thu, 30 Jan 2014 09:18:57

    Feature: Top 15 Jeff Hanneman Slayer Songs - By ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino...

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    Even though the Grammys may not remember the legends who revolutionized music, at ARTISTdirect.com, we certainly do! Moreover, we want to highlight exactly why certain legacies should always be revered and remembered with the utmost respect. That brings us to Jeff Hanneman. His tragic passing this year has left a void in heavy metal that will never be filled. However, the Slayer guitarist's music will never die. You can hear his influence everywhere, and that's not going to change.

    So, ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino compiled a list of the 15 best "Jeff Hanneman" songs in Slayer's catalog. Arguably, everything this man wrote (or even played on) could land on the list below. So, we're open to debate, but these are the ones that stand out to us as the most emblematic of Hanneman's legacy.

    The 15 Best Jeff Hanneman Songs

    "Die By The Sword"

    The "Slayer" sound began to crystallize on this sharp Show No Mercy cut. Fusing a speedy gallop to the first inklings of a guillotine-line groove, "Die By The Sword" hinted at the marvelous madness to come from Hanneman. It's easy to trace the origins of the band's distinctive assault back to this first bullet.

    "At Dawn They Sleep"

    There has never been a better song written about vampires than this hellish anthem about "blood-sucking creatures of the night". Hanneman's composition expanded into more epic territory here, extending past the six-minute mark with a choir of demonic riffs and solos. This also further solidifies Hell Awaits classic status as well.

    "Angel of Death"

    The sinister speed demon guitar at the beginning of this song remains downright immortal. It serves as the opener to the flawless Reign in Blood, but it was also a clarion call of Slayer's arrival at the very top of heavy metal. Hanneman's playing stands out as raw, relentless, and righteous. "Angel of Death" raised the bar for thrash.

    "Raining Blood"

    You feel like you've been drenched in blood after listening to this—in the best way possible. There's that ominous boom at the beginning and then the entrancingly sinister melody that resounds like Hell's trumpets. Hanneman's artful composition stands unparalleled in this greatest testament to his talent. Eric Cartman even used it on South Park to scare the shit out of hippies. That's how badass this one is.

    "South of Heaven"

    This one's proof he could slow it down and let those notes ring out, while maintaining and different kind of heaviness. It's like Satan's taking up residency in your head as soon as the intro starts—but you don't mind it even as much as Regan MacNeil did.

    "Spill The Blood"

    "Spill The Blood" is the sinister closing statement of South of Heaven. It's classically influenced melody could very well have inspired the soundtrack for Diablo, and it's another example of Hanneman's incredible vision and chops.

    "War Ensemble"

    Though it's blindingly as fast as machine gun fire, this is up there with "One" as far as war anthems go. 'Nuff said.

    "Dead Skin Mask"

    Hanneman could've scored films given his penchant for cinematic expanses like this Seasons in the Abyss Ed Gein love song. It certainly still dances through our dreams…

    "Seasons in the Abyss"

    The notes resound in apocalyptic fashion as Hanneman's guitar dips into the depths of the abyss in the most beautiful way possible.


    "213" is a gem from Slayer's most underrated offering, Divine Intervention. That album serves as a bridge between the "classic" era and the modern age of brutality we all know and love from California's finest thrashers. This song in particular sees Hanneman evolving, becoming something of a riff Terminator.

    "Bitter Peace"

    Diabolus in Musica also doesn't get the credit it deserves. It's a fucking badass metal album, and "Bitter Peace" shines through as its best song. This one showcases signature Hanneman speed picking as well as a neck-snapping groove. Bones will be broken after one listen.


    God Hates Us All should be mentioned in the same breath as Hell Awaits, Reign In Blood, South of Heaven, and Seasons In The Abyss. It's Slayer at their most bludgeoning. The first proper track "Disciple" segues from that precise Hanneman riff into a polyrhythmic groove before snapping into that undying refrain of "God Hates Us All"…

    "God Send Death"

    Modern thrash doesn't ever get this tight. Hanneman's clear-cut six-string bravado drives this one.


    "Jihad" captures the controversy and chaos that Hanneman conjured so well every time he picked up the instrument. It's Christ Illusion's most visceral moment as well.

    "World Painted Blood"

    If World Painted Blood is Hanneman's last recorded musical statement, it's a hell of a way to go out. The opening number concedes a death roll drum march into timeless guitar parts that pulsate with primal rage on par with Slayer's most highly regarded output. The world is still painted blood because of Hanneman, and that'll never change.

    Rick Florino

    PHOTO © Kevin Estrada / kevinestrada.com

    What's your favorite Jeff Hanneman song?

    See Slayer in our "Most Anticipated Hard Rock & Heavy Metal Albums of 2014" list here!

    See our remembrance of Hanneman here!

    See what Slash, Deftones, Pantera, Slipknot and more have to say about Slayer's influence here!

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    Tags: Slayer, Jeff Hanneman, Slash, Deftones, Slipknot, Pantera

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