SLAYER Podcast Commemorates 11th Anniversary Of JEFF HANNEMAN's Death With Analysis Of His Writing Credits

May 3, 2024

Weekly SLAYER podcast "Talkin' Slayer" has released a special episode to commemorate the eleventh anniversary of guitarist Jeff Hanneman's shocking death. Episode 54, "Jeff Hanneman, 11 Years Gone... Did He Throw In The Towel After Diabolus In Musica?", examines Hanneman's diminishing writing credits in the latter part of the band's continuous career.

At the time of his death, the co-founder and guitarist had the most writing credits of any member of the group. He wrote the music and lyrics for many of the group's signature songs, including "Angel Of Death". Many of the other early fan favorites were collaborations with band captain, co-founder, and co-guitarist Kerry King.

After 1986's genre-defining "Reign In Blood" album, Hanneman and King collaborated with decreasing frequency. Hanneman increasingly wrote with frontman Tom Araya. The two collaborated on songs including the Grammy-winning "Eyes Of The Insane" (2007) and "The Final Six" (2008),both from the 2006 album "Christ Illusion". The record saw the band reunite with original drummer Dave Lombardo (MR. BUNGLE, GRIP INC., TESTAMENT).

Between those career highs, Hanneman's most prolific contributions to a SLAYER album arrived on 1998's "Diabolus In Musica". The band's brief foray into nü metal polarized the fanbase, and remains Kerry King's least favorite record by the group. "That's our 'Turbo'," King told the documentary series "Metal Evolution" in 2012, comparing it to a keyboard-tinged, glam-influenced JUDAS PRIEST album from 1986.

"One of the listeners asked me if Jeff consciously retreated from his creative role in the band because of 'Diabolus''s chilly reception," explains podcast host and two-time SLAYER author D.X. Ferris. "Was Jeff creatively spent? Did he throw in the towel? That was a great question. So I conducted a careful count of the credits. I looked at some facts and comments from the historical record. And I tapped some fresh statistics to see where the album stands in the fans' collective opinion. Jeff had been writing less after 'Diabolus', but he had staged a comeback."

The book's original research includes ongoing surveys for SLAYER fans about how they rank the band's albums.

Ferris is an Ohio Society Of Professional Journalists Best Reporter of the Year. He has written for publications including Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, The AV Club and Decibel magazine. He has written nine books.

Most episodes of "Talkin' Slayer" feature Ferris reading chapters from his full-length band history, "Slayer 66 & 2/3: A Metal Band Biography". Originally published in 2013, the book was updated for a third edition in 2023. His 2008 book "33 1/3: Slayer's Reign In Blood" was the first English-language book about the band. It was the prestigious "33 1/3" series' first book about an extreme metal album.

"Talkin' Slayer: A Podcast And Half-Assed Audiobook" launched in May 2023, to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Hanneman's death. It began with a series of episodes that explored Hanneman's impact on the band's art and career. "Talkin' Slayer" is the first ongoing podcast dedicated to the history of SLAYER, the thrashiest of the "Big Four" thrash metal bands. The show is deeply researched, lightly edited, member-supported, and ad-free. It is available via all major podcast providers except iHeart.

"Podcast ads are stupid," says Ferris. "SLAYER fans want to hear about the band, not auto insurance and electric vehicles."

Ferris's research includes original interviews with the band members, friends, and rivals — in addition to archival material from hundreds of zines, articles, books, and podcasts. "Talkin' Slayer" is about how SLAYER happened, when things fell apart, how they put it back together, and what it all means.

Episodes feature a deep, rotating selection of interstitial music by U.K. thrash band CHUPACABRA. Based in Bristol, CHUPACABRA features ex-WYTCH members Heather Taylor (vocals) and Nige Savage (guitar).

The weekly show tells the story of the Los Angeles heavy metal institution, in chronological order. The third edition adds a new chapter about the band's final release, last concert, and opaque breakup. The new edition of the book includes updated career statistics, revised chapters, and a visual redesign. The book also features exclusive, previously unreleased images by "Murder in The Front Row" photographer Harald Oimoen and the late SLAYER cover artist Albert Cuellar, who went on to work with Tim Burton.

SLAYER formed in Los Angeles in 1981. The demographically diverse band immediately joined the vanguard players of the emerging thrash metal movement. The elite fraternity of groups called the "Big Four" thrash metal bands also included METALLICA, MEGADETH and ANTHRAX. Fiercer and darker, SLAYER smelted together the technical proficiency of classic rock, the elemental aggression of hardcore punk, and the violent grandeur of heavy metal.

In 1986, SLAYER shockingly signed to rap label Def Jam, which was home to Rick Rubin, who became the group's longtime producer. SLAYER was Rubin's first rock band; he went on to work with numerous Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductees, including U2, Johnny Cash, RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS and METALLICA. 1986's instant classic album "Reign In Blood" earned SLAYER lifetime status as metal gods.

But soon the classic lineup fractured, reunited, and embarked on a turbulent, influential career. The 2006 album "Christ Illusion" scored SLAYER two Grammy Awards. In 2013, original drummer Dave Lombardo and the band split for the third and final time. That May, Hanneman unexpectedly passed away. Two years later, the group released their final album, "Repentless". In 2019, under circumstances that remain unclear, SLAYER became the first of the "Big Four" bands to end their career as a group. SLAYER's discography includes 11 original studio albums, a classic EP, and a polarizing album of punk covers.

The group concludes its "final world tour" in November 2019. The band shocked the metal world by announcing its return to the live stage, on a limited basis, for a series of festivals in the summer and fall.

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