Ghosts of Hanneman | A Slayer Geek-Out Moment

On the day of the release of Slayer’s brand new album REPENTLESS, their first since the death of co-founding guitarist Jeff Hanneman (died May 2, 2013 of liver cirrhosis), Brandon L. Rucker (that’s Me) takes a geek-out moment to rank his favorite Hanneman-composed Slayer songs.

New album Repentless has just one song
with musical contributions from the late great Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman, a track titled “Piano Wire”. The following is a Top 10
list of my favorite Slayer songs that, lyrics aside, were musically composed by
Hanneman, followed by another Top 10 list of my favorites that were co-written by Mr. Hanneman and remaining co-founding guitarist Kerry King. Considering that the large majority of these songs have lived with me for nearly 30 years, these lists were not easy to compose. Without further ado, here they are (albums noted in abbreviated parenthesis, followed by my brief commentary).

Music (riffs) composed by Jeff Hanneman

  1. Seasons in the Abyss (SITA) – This mini-epic might just be Slayer’s finest moment. Those drum fills! Great performance video too!
  2. South of Heaven (SOH) – One of the first few Slayers songs I ever heard, the title track to the first Slayer album I bought.
  3. War Ensemble (SITA) – Arguably their best album opener. Great solos. Another great performance video.
  4. Live Undead (SOH) – Dave Lombardo’s drumming on this one is bananas!
  5. Spirit in Black (SITA) – Great rhythms, great solos and vocals. An underrated classic Slayer jam.
  6. Spill the Blood (SOH) – Might’ve been the first Slayer song I heard. Creepy clean intro, slow doomy tempo. Solos from hell.
  7. Blood Red (SITA) – The perfect follow-up song to “War Ensemble”, a straightforward metal rocker with a very catchy riff and rhythm.
  8. Raining Blood (RIB) – Perfect closer to the blast of savage speed metal attack that is Reign In Blood.
  9. Angel of Death (RIB) – The other song that might’ve been the first Slayer song I ever heard. Tom Araya’s scream is legendary here.
  10. Dead Skin Mask (SITA) – If not for all the great songs above it, this song would be higher. The series of trade-off solos are the highlight here.

On-the-bubble: Tormentor (SNM), Necrophilliac (HA), Postmortem (RIB),World Painted Blood (WPB), Psychopathy Red (WPB)

Music (riffs)
composed by Jeff Hanneman & Kerry King 
  1.  Hallowed Point – SITA
  2.  Mandatory Suicide – SOH
  3. Silent Scream – SOH
  4. Ghosts of War – SOH
  5. Behind the Crooked Cross – SOH
  6. Hell Awaits – HA
  7. Chemical Warfare – HTC
  8. Black Magic – SNM
  9. The Antichrist – SNM
  10. Crionics – SNM
On-the-Bubble: Metal Storm/Face the Slayer (SNM), Captor of
Sin (HTC),
Albums Legend
SNM = Show No Mercy
HTC = Haunting the
HA = Hell Awaits
RIB = Reign In Blood
SOH = South of Heaven
SITA = Seasons in the

WPB = World Painted

Slayer’s new album Repentless will be released on Friday, September 11, 2015 via Nuclear Blast.


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