I decided to write something in memory of the great Jeff Hanneman, a musician that is the reason why Slayer is my second favourite band of all times. A guy for which other musicians had told me what I only merely saw in video tapes and backstage shootings, that he was a very funny guy who kept his head down and would treat people with respect. His loss is something sudden and especially if we think what he went through the last two years when he was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis, something which likely came from a spider bite, with rumors of even going through hand dismemberment because of this making the fans chill. Jeff didn’t quit and everyone was by his side. Lately there was a lot of talk whether or not he will return and record a new album with Slayer.

Even if you asked his replacement guy Gary Holt from Exodus, he would tell you that he would also want Jeff back in the band. Hanneman did mistakes in his life, like being a cocaine addict, but eventually quit getting drugged because he knew this would lead him to his death. He was blamed as a nazi sympathizer because of his love for war issues and for collecting medals from the second World War, where his father fought by the allied side, despite being of German nativity. His love for early heavy metal and the punk/hardcore scene, lead him to have a much more different sound compared to his colleague Kerry King.

Jeff’s skill to write amazing tracks, sometimes surpassing the thrash limits made him the most beloved Slayer member for many fans. It’s useless to mention here which tracks he contributed to, only the reference of ”Angel Of Death” is enough to end all doubts. Despite remaining under the shadow of Kerry King or Tom Araya many times, he wasn’t afraid to put a veto in 2002 asking for Dave Lombardo’s return in the band, stating ”this issue’s got to end soon, once and for all”. He was the main responsible for Slayer’s ”Undisputed Attitude” album, containing punk/hardcore hymns of the past, plus two insane tracks he had written for a project of his, called  ”DDAMM” (Drunk Drivers Against Mad Mothers) and ”Can’t Stand You”.

Many have told me that both Jeff and Kerry are not such good guitarists to have earned so much reputation through the years. In my eyes, thirty years after ”Show No Mercy” in 1983, history has shown that both of them have offered a lot to the whole metal scene and even if they are not such good players, they always knew how to compose great songs. Especially Jeff’s tracks had the complexity and experimentation that Kerry King lacked and some epic more mellow tunes like ”Spill The Blood” or ”Seasons In The Abyss” show what song development means. Yes, ”South Of Heaven” and ”Seasons In The Abyss” are not the typical ”smash’em all” thrash metal albums where there’s only guitar scratching, screams and double-bass, but that’s one more reason why Jeff was special.

The fact that he (and Kerry) had some lessons from Joe Satriani during the recordings of ”Seasons In The Abyss” to show them some tricks, revealed that they had decided to do something special and evolve as much as it was possible. For many fans, the end of Slayer comes alongside the end of the thrash peak in 1990 after the Clash Of The Titans tour. Truth be told, Jeff didn’t write much material after the end of this tour and sometimes his tracks lacked something of the past glory. When it came to the gigs though, he was an untouched player, beating the shit out of his guitar and with his head always down banging, he wouldn’t lose a single note, be it a harsh riff or a crazy solo, like the ones he loved doing using his tremolo.

The whole metal scene has lost a great musician, but above all a man that died rather young and for a stupid reason (if we consider that the liver failure might be connected to the spider bite mentioned above). Jeff will join Dimebag Darrell, Chuck Schuldiner and all those heroes of our childhood that left early that we always have in our hearts.

Personally, I believe that after Jeff’s loss, the least Slayer can do is call it quits in memory of their brother as they claimed after his death. I really love Gary Holt, I like John Dette a lot as a drummer but there can be no Slayer without Jeff Hanneman and Dave Lombardo behind the kit after the events that took place the last decade. They can decide to go on and ”honour” their ”brother’s” memory by continuing to play gigs because that’s what ”Jeff would like to happen” (I hope I’ll be proven wrong on this).

Jeff used to play with a Gibson Les Paul in his early ”evil” Slayer years, then he switched to B.C. Rich and then on the ’90s the famous Jackson guitar with the stickers of Dead Kennedys, Black Flag and his beloved team Oakland Raiders. Since the beginning of the ’00s decade, he switched to ESP and a model was created. He mostly played in E-flat tunning and carried enough guitars with him during the tours due to the different tuning to some tracks. I bet he’ll sit his ass down and consume endless loads of Heineken, his favourite beer (his last trademark guitar had the Heineken logo on it simply paraphrased as ”Hanneman”. I bet that even haters of all kinds may have something positive to say about him.

Nevertheless, he is no longer with us on this earth but will forever be a part of our memories and the undoubted composer whose ideas gave birth to half the thrash scene, most of the death/black metal bands and even more alternative subgenres of metal owe him more than a lot. Rest in peace!

List of Slayer songs written by Jeff Hanneman (or co-written with Tom Araya or Kerry King):

”Show No Mercy” (1983)

Evil Has No Boundaries (Lyrics)
The Antichrist (Lyrics and Music)
Die By The Sword (Lyrics and Music)
Fight ‘Till Death (Lyrics and Music)
Metalstorm/Face The Slayer (Music)
Black Magic (Music)
Tormentor (Lyrics and Music)
Final Command (Music)
Crionics (Lyrics and Music)

”Haunting The Chapel” (1984)

Chemical Warfare (Lyrics and Music)
Captor Of Sin (Lyrics and Music)
Haunting The Chapel (Lyrics and Music)
Aggressive Perfector (Lyrics and Music)

”Hell Awaits” (1985)

Hell Awaits (Music)
Kill Again (Music)
At Dawn They Sleep (Lyrics and Music)
Praise Of Death (Lyrics)
Necrophiliac (Lyrics and Music)
Crypts Of Eternity (Lyrics and Music)
Hardening Of The Arteries (Lyrics and Music)

”Reign In Blood” (1986)

Angel Of Death (Lyrics and Music)
Necrophobic (Lyrics and Music)
Altar Of Sacrifice (Music)
Jesus Saves (Music)
Criminally Insane (Lyrics and Music)
Reborn (Music)
Epidemic (Music)
Postmortem (Lyrics and Music)
Raining Blood (Lyrics and Music)

”South Of Heaven” (1988)

South Of Heaven (Music)
Silent Scream (Music)
Live Undead (Music)
Behind The Crooked Cross (Lyrics and Music)
Mandatory Suicide (Music)
Ghosts Of War (Music)
Read Between The Lies (Music)
Cleanse The Soul (Music)
Spill The Blood (Lyrics and Music)

”Seasons In The Abyss” (1990)

War Ensemble (Lyrics and Music)
Blood Red (Music)
Spirit In Black (Music)
Dead Skin Mask (Music)
Hallowed Point (Lyrics and Music)
Born Of Fire (Music)
Seasons In The Abyss (Music)

”Divine Intervention” (1994)

Divine Intervention (Lyrics and Music)
SS-3 (Lyrics and Music)
Serenity In Murder (Music)
213 (Music)
Mind Control (Music)

”Undisputed Attitude” (1996)

Can’t Stand You (Lyrics and Music)
DDAMM (Lyrics and Music)

”Diabolus In Musica” (1998)

Bitter Peace (Lyrics and Music)
Death’s Head (Lyrics and Music)
Stain Of Mind (Music)
Overt Enemy (Lyrics and Music)
Perversions Of Pain (Music)
Love To Hate (Lyrics and Music)
Desire (Music)
Unguarded Instinct (Music)
Scrum (Music)
Screaming >From The Sky (Lyrics and Music)
Wicked (Music)
Point (Music)

”God Hates Us All” (2001)

Darkness Of Christ (Music)
Disciple (Music)
God Send Death (Lyrics and Music)
Threshold (Music)
Bloodline (Lyrics andMusic)
Deviance (Lyrics and Music)

”Christ Illusion” (2006)

Eyes Of The Insane (Music)
Jihad (Lyrics and Music)
Black Serenade (Lyrics and Music)
Final Six (Lyrics and Music)

”World Painted Blood” (2009)

World Painted Blood (Music)
Unit 731 (Lyrics and Music)
Beauty Through Order (Lyrics)
Human Strain (Lyrics and Music)
Psychopathy Red (Lyrics and Music)
Playing With Dolls (Lyrics and Music)
Atrocity Vendor (Music)

Aggelos “Redneck” Katsouras”.