Today, May 2, in 2013 founding Slayer guitarist and composer Jeff Hanneman died.
During his brief tour of planet Earth, Hanneman fused the boundaryless songwriting of hardcore punk with the riff-based narrative ideas of heavy metal, producing what became an important template for all metal to follow. Punk, by reducing music to modal strips which fit within a percussive framework instead of accentuating it, and metal, with its phrasal tendencies that required internal dialogue between the riffs, gave rise to a new language with the first four Slayer albums which were mostly composed by Hanneman.
His music also took on a different form because of its perspective on the modern world as exhibited in both sound and lyrics. In his eyes, modern life became not a struggle for technology and politics to dominate the beast within, but a mythological conflict between what humans desire is true and project upon the world and a hidden layer of realistic truth in denial of which humans — and human civilization — self-destruct.
For these innovations, and the spirit that caused them, many of us feel indebted to Hanneman and honored to celebrate his art:
Having someone like you to lay down a realistic but transcendentally imaginative view of the universe really helped. I will never forget, and I am certain I am not alone. You spent your days reprogramming the cosmos with fiendish guitar riffs and that has made all the difference. Even though we never knew each other, in a way, we were best of friends.
This second of May, celebrate Jeff Hanneman not only with his music, but by carrying forth his legacy of clear-sighted realism matched to transcendental mythology, in all that you do.
Tags: death metal, jeff hanneman, metal history, slayer, Speed Metal
9 thoughts on “Celebrating Jeff Hanneman”
I’ll drink Heinies and blast Slayer tonight for this hero!
I was real sad when he died, but I’m glad it wasn’t Kerry King! He’s keeping the spirit of true metal alive with his passion for Slipknot, braided facial hair and the fact he looks like a tattooed penis with sunglasses! I simply don’t know what I would do if KK died from an gay little insect bite too, prolly kill myself. Can’t wait until their next album, Kerry King’s riffs really help my intestinal tract digest sperm \m/
Slipknot is an awezome band! I’m glad you like it!
If only more metal bands could sound like them it would definitely help metal be more popular. I truly enjoyed that Ara record is so swell.
I forgot Jeff died on May 2, but I shit you not, I was thinking about him today at work. The thought of his death came out of no where, and how a spider, a fucking spider did him in. The subconscious is a crazy thing.
Actually, the cause of death is liver failure due to cirrhosis.
You can read Guitar World’s interview with his wife to gain more insight (she also maintains that the spider bite played a big role in his worsening conditions, mentally speaking), and/or D.X. Ferris’ “Slayer 66 2/3: The Jeff & Dave Years. A Metal Band Biography.”
No matter what, I can’t even imagine a universe where Hanneman has never existed. His output during the 80s is one of the best things that happened to music.
What is best in life?
A fresh 24 pack of Mountain Dew, a crisp new bag of Doritos Cool Ranch, BLOPS II in the Xbox, and Christ Illusion on repeat.
Don’t forget your fedora
RIP anyone that pulled their head out of their ass for 2 seconds and actually did some good in the world..
I was wearing the Hanneman (the Heineken-looking) t-shirt on May 1st, didn’t realize it was almost the anniversary of when he died.
New Slayer tunes so far are OK, but it would be better for fans if SLAYER were re-recording their old unreleased/demo songs then this new stuff which doesn’t have the same grabtastic hooks / riffs.
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