Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Thoughts on the Passing of Jeff Hanneman

By now it is quite old news that Jeff Hanneman passed away last week.  And even though I knew at the time that I should have written something, I have to admit that I was challenged to do so.

To get this out of the way, I've never really been a big Slayer fan.  It's not that there's anything wrong with them, but they just didn't move me the way they seem to move every other metal fan.  

I tired, though. I got me a few albums. I downloaded the Metal Requiem Podcasts about Slayer. I watched an eternity of YouTube videos. I even came to worship Dave Lombardo.

For years, I gave it a try.  It just didn't work.

(This, and the goddamed hipster fascination with Slayer is just so irritating that I don't even want to like them anymore....which is a terrible reason to stop trying, but whatever).

Then, this afternoon I came across Alex Skolnick's outstanding tribute to Hanneman on PremierGuitar.com

I happen to like Skolnick an awful lot.  Even if I'm not a fan of his band, I think the guy is smart as hell, and his tribute proves as much.

In fact, Skolnick effectively addresses the fact that Hanneman's style was possibly one of the primary obstacles to my having an appetite for the band. And then he gives a brief analysis of why I may have been wrong all this time:

"...his frenzied, turbulent solos were also an important part of the package. They weren’t about showing off. They served a greater artistic purpose—to sonically channel the qualities of Slayer’s lyrical content. They were sometimes abrasive, sometimes jarring, and at times disturbing. They had less in common with typical rock-guitar virtuosos than they did with the sonic collages of avant-garde improvisers such as Derek Bailey and John Zorn, the latter of whom is a self-professed Slayer fan who has cited the band as an inspiration."

This is probably the single greatest argument I've ever heard for reconsidering Slayer.  And, so, that's what I'm going to do.

Rest in peace, Jeff Hanneman.  

More good stuff below, courtesy of MetalInjection.com

No comments: