overground scene

Jeff Hanneman (1964-…)
June 10, 2013, 10:05 pm
Filed under: metal, people | Tags: , , , ,


Jeff Hanneman’s death affected me, as well as thousands of Slayer fans around the world, in a profound way.  Slayer is such an over-the-top band that I could never imagine any of its members dying.  Slayer have always been in a league of their own. Something like Iron Maiden. Nobody can even dare to imitate them. At the same time they influenced every single extreme metal band that followed. Slayer command our respect and we give it without much hesitation. From the moment Slayer started making music, all our defences were down. Slayer is one of those entities which could easily achieve religious status. People would follow them blindly. No wonder the extreme displays of devotion that Slayer fans have shown over the years. Slayer is an institution. Institutions can seize to exist when they become irrelevant, when the people stop wanting them. The institution doesn’t just go and die by itself.

Much of the credit for what Slayer have achieved goes to Jeff Hanneman. That is why we cannot believe that Jeff Hanneman is dead. Because he was an institution, something that transcended mortal life. Jeff Hanneman could not die. With Hanneman dead, our belief system is compromised, our constants in life have suffered a great blow.

Having said that, I feel I have to acknowledge that probably I belong to an older generation which unconditionally loved Slayer. When I was young nobody had something negative to say about Slayer. Ok, there were those sad little people who did not like Divine Intervention. However, that was nothing else than a childish reaction effected by Lombardo’s replacement with Bostaph. If you think about it, all the Slayer hate started because the Slayer institution that was already established was under threat! A central part of its logic was compromised, so the (less forgiving) followers reacted. Music had nothing to do with it. This album has some of the best music ever recorded. Anyway, the last few years that I have started following the various metal webzines, I have realised that younger generations do not show the same unconditional devotion that the older generations used to show. All of a sudden, King’s and Hanneman’s solos are sloppy, Araya’s vocals suck, etc. These remarks are indicative of a complete lack of understanding of Slayer’s work and mission in this planet. They, moreover, show that tFuck-You-Jeff-Hannemanhe people behind them have probably not grown up listening to Slayer. They grew up having a completely different understanding of what extreme music is. I can understand that if the first extreme metal band one listened to was The Dillinger Escape Plan, it would be difficult to understand Slayer, because of the different expectations that were created. Nevertheless, in this hour of sadness I would like to send a big “fuck off” to all the Slayer haters out there.

And then we are also faced with the question, should Slayer continue or quit now that Jeff is dead? Jeff may have died, but people on the internet argue over what he would want the rest of the band members to do now that he is dead.  Agency after death. Some fans think that he would want the band  to continue playing.  Some others don’t take into account Jeff’s supposed postmortem agency and argue that they should call it quits. They argue that calling it quits would be the ultimate form of respect towards him.

For me personally, it is very sad to think of Slayer without either Jeff, Kerry or Tom. It is not a matter of them not being Slayer anymore. It is more about being reminded that once Jeff was standing there beside them and now he is not. I am pretty sure Kerry and Tom can still create good music and lyrics. I always loved Kerry’s music equally to Jeff’s. Their styles are different but both necessary ingredients in the Slayer sound.  I do not doubt that the remaining Slayer can create a good album and I would not like them to quit. But seeing them live knowing that Jeff can never again be with them, will always feel awkward and painful.


p.s. It goes without saying that Jeff has been a musical innovator and an uncompromising genious, whose contribution is unparalleled. Coming up with his best songs is impossible. However, I present here ten of my all time favorite Jeff Hanneman penned songs: Dead Skin Mask (lyrics by Araya), Seasons in the Abyss (lyrics by Araya), 213 (lyrics by Araya), Necrophiliac (some lyrics by King), Raining Blood (some lyrics by King), Behind the crooked cross, Beauty through order, Black serenade (some lyrics by Araya), South of heaven (lyrics by Araya), Psychopathy red


1 Comment so far
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Thank you for sharing this post and these thoughts and feelings. I would like to join my voice and agree with you about Divine Intervention, you cannot not like Divine Intervention, it is an event.

Comment by A.

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