Contact Us

Testament Guitarist Alex Skolnick Pays Tribute to ‘Immense’ Slayer Shredder Jeff Hanneman

Alex Skolnick / Jeff Hanneman
Liz Ramanand, Loudwire / Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Metal musicians of all sub genres are continuing to pay their respects to late Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman. Few guitarists have earned their spot with Hanneman as members of thrash’s most elite pedigree, but Testament shredder Alex Skolnick is undeniably at the side of Hanneman in terms of skill and respect. As one of thrash’s most admired guitarists, Skolnick has written an in-depth memorial of Hanneman from the viewpoint of a true six-string master.

“Jeff had a subtle sense of humor that was all his own, and though he was a bit more reserved than the rest of the Slayer camp, he viewed life as a party to be enjoyed to its fullest,” Skolnick writes at Premier Guitar. “Much of what Jeff’s loved ones and fans appreciated about him was his steadfast and genuine style—the fact that he didn’t stray from his own vision. In Jon Wiederhorn and Katherine Turman’s ‘Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal,’ Jeff is quoted, ‘I tried to emulate what [well-known shredders] did and really grow as a guitarist. Then I said, “I don’t think I’m that talented, but more important, I don’t care.”‘ But as legions of dedicated Slayer fans the world over would attest, Jeff’s portrayal of himself as marginally talented is completely inaccurate. A more apt description could be summed up in one word, “immense.”

“What separated Jeff from the rest of the metal pack was his rhythm technique, his songwriting, and that for which he will be most remembered—his riffs,” Skolnick adds. “But 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.”

Skolnick continues, “If you’ve ever seen Slayer live, you’ve felt exactly what propelled the band’s popularity past those of Venom and other classic-metal influences. In fact, prior to Hanneman and his bandmates’ groundbreaking albums — including 1986’s bar-setting ‘Reign in Blood’ — many believed metal could never reach such levels of popularity and fan dedication. Before Slayer, metal had never had such razor-sharp articulation, tightness, and balance between sound and stops. This all-out sonic assault was about the shock, the screams, the drums, and—again, most importantly—the riffs. And it was Hanneman who brought so many of the band’s timeless riffs.”

Head over to Premier Guitar to read Alex Skolnick’s masterful memorial of Jeff Hanneman in its entirety.

Read: Slayer's Jeff Hanneman, 1964 - 2013

More From Z94

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://z94.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on Z94 - The Rock Station quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here

Register on Z94 - The Rock Station quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!