From Slayer's Facebook page yesterday:

Slayer is devastated to inform that their bandmate and brother, Jeff Hanneman, passed away at about 11AM this morning near his Southern California home. Hanneman was in an area hospital when he suffered liver failure. He is survived by his wife Kathy, his sister Kathy and his brothers Michael and Larry, and will be sorely missed.

Hanneman had been suffering from necrotizing fasciitis following a probable spider bite in 2011--which is basically the most metal possible disease you can ever have--and this had kept him off the road with the band ever since. It isn't clear whether this contributed to his liver failure, but I cannot imagine that it helped.

Unfortunately, that video cuts off before the guitar chaos at the end of the song, but I really like this old version because it shows how fast they played this stuff when they were young. For contrast, check this performance from probably 15 years later:

Slayer is one of those bands that nobody has lukewarm feelings about. If you hadn't already made up your mind about Slayer, I'm sure you did about 20 seconds into that first video. Thrash sort of came and went by the early 90's as a major force in music, but Slayer kept churning it out well into the 21st century. And where bands like Metallica and Megadeth got more radio-friendly, Slayer never compromised their sound.

I've listened to a lot of metal since Reign in Blood came out almost 27 (!) years ago. And while there's been a ton of great stuff, I don't think anything has ever come close to topping that 29 minutes of raw brutality.

It's provocative. For some, it is downright scary. For others, unimaginably obnoxious. I get that. I don't put a Slayer record on when I've got company over for dinner. I don't make anyone listen to it in the car.

But when it's just me at the end of a long day, blowing off steam with a run or a round with the heavy bag...there is nothing I'd rather have piped into my ears.


1 comment:

Mr. D said...

RIP, indeed. Slayer is not my cup of joe, but he entertained a lot of people and that's a noble thing. And I agree -- music of this sort has its uses.