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RE-UP: In memoriam Jeff Hanneman (1964-2013): SLAYER- Instrumental rehearsal session for “Hell awaits” (1985)

Hanneman Jeff

As I keep getting a lot of requests for this one and it since has not surfaced on other blogs, I make this outstanding recording available again for a limited time!   Expired.

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[Original post from May 3, 2013:] I’ve never met Jeff Hanneman personally. Apparently, he died of liver failure yesterday, as the band officially states. If I ever were forced into putting down a list of the five single most important albums of my life, it would contain SLAYER’s debut, «Show no Mercy», and thus I can say that he’s been part of my past 30 years. Not as a human being, a person (he obviously was quite a character), but as a, well – riff monster.

«Kill ’em all» had given my generation a foretaste – and «Show no Mercy» delivered the meat. Riffs that still sound “evil” to me, a (for the time) crystal clear style of playing note by note at high speed, cutting through your flesh like surgical steel. «Hell awaits» was a bit of a letdown, mainly due to its muddy production and with «Reign in Blood», SLAYER had stepped out of the shadow of the NWOBHM, mainly Judas Priest, that had originally shaped their sound. I liked every SLAYER album up until «Seasons int he Abyss», but after that one, they lost me forever.
Before writing much more (you’ll find some anecdotes of various people including my own in Goodbadmusic’s facebook page), here’s a first generation copy of a rehearsal tape that circulated in 1985 and was treated like a holy grail by many traders. From what I can tell, it’s been bootlegged on vinyl, but incompletely so. So here’s, maybe for the time, the entire tape. The acceleration part in “At Dawn they sleep” alone is PRICELESS and shaped my personal idea of what “evil” and “aggressive” should sound like more than anything, I believe. And although I always loved Tom Araya’s singing, these instrumental versions just fucking rip! A merciless onslaught of riffing and fast drumming, revealing many details that you probably never paid full attention to before.

Just a footnote, but did you know that the first ever SLAYER bootleg, the “Fuck the Slayer” LP, was made in tiny Switzerland, as early as 1984? That’s how much of an impact SLAYER had. A band that further divided traditional metal fans from the hardcore. And if you don’t own «Murder in the Front Row» already, now is the time to get it!

Download for a limited time (part1; part 2). The sound has not been polished up or altered in any way, it’s a straight 1:1 rip. Whatever files of this session you may already have – delete and replace them with these.

This is a tribute to Jeff Hanneman and SLAYER who with this day have ceased to exist.
I hope the remaining members have the decency to now put the band to sleep. It’s not like they would called it quits at the peak of their creative career anyway.

Sit terra tibi levis, Jeff Hanneman.