Sad news this morning – Slayer’s long-time guitar player and songwriter Jeff Hanneman has passed away at the age of 49. The cause of death has been listed as liver failure, with many speculating that the guitarist’s brush with necrotizing fasciitis (following a spider bite) and the subsequent medication required to combat it will have played their part in his early passing. So serious was this injury that it essentially sidelined Hanneman, compelling him to withdraw from Slayer’s regular touring schedule, with Exodus’ Gary Holt substituting for him from 2011 on.
Though the band’s Kerry King has long been the visual lynch pin of the band, Hanneman’s writing and – crucially – face-melting riffs are a large part of what made the band one of the Thrash Metal scene’s Big Four. If you’re humming the rampaging chords from “Raining Blood” now, I can’t say as I blame you.
As my cable company have currently provided the 2010 Sofia Bulgaria show from the Big Four tour, replete with Slayer, I can think of no better way to remember the great guitarist’s blistering riffs and headbanging tunes.
RIP, Sir, RIP.