Jeff Hanneman (1964-2013) RIP

Jeff Hanneman in rehearsals (Source: Slayer website)

Jeff Hanneman in rehearsals (Photo: Slayer website)

Yesterday was a particularly sad day for me. Not only did I attend a memorial event for our friend and former neighbour Ian McKie (I’ll write more about that at a later date, once I’ve processed the news a bit more), but I also learned of the death of Slayer guitarist and songwriter Jeff Hanneman.

The first time I heard Slayer was in a church basement in Whitley Bay. The album was Reign In Blood, which is still regarded by many as the definitive thrash metal album. The album was released in October 1986 and as I was on a Borders Scripture Union summer camp I guess it must have been 1987.

Slayer was the first metal band I saw in concert, at the Edinburgh Playhouse in 1988, promoting their South of Heaven album; Nuclear Assault were the support act.

Jeff Hanneman suffered a spider bite in 2011, which resulted in a condition called necrotizing fasciitis, a rare and horrible flesh-eating disease which almost immediately put his life at risk. As was reported on the Slayer website recently,

for a couple of days after he went to the ER, things were touch-and-go. There was talk that he might have to have his arm amputated, and we didn’t know if he was going to pull through at all. He was in a medically-induced coma for a few days and had several operations to remove the dead and dying tissue from his arm. So, understand, he was in really, really bad shape. It’s been about a year since he got out of the hospital, and since then, he had to learn to walk again, he’s had several painful skin grafts, he’s been in rehab doing exercises to regain the strength in his arm. (Source)

Despite his rehab reportedly going well, and making an appearance at The Big Four show at Coachella in 2011, Hanneman never rejoined Slayer in a full time capacity. His place in the band was filled on tour by Exodus guitarist Gary Holt.

Sadly, the news broke yesterday that he had died from liver failure, although it was made clear on some reports that as yet there is no clear indication whether this was directly related to the spider bite.

This is the news currently on the Slayer website:

Slayer is devastated to inform that their bandmate and brother, Jeff Hanneman, passed away at about 11AM this morning [Thursday, May 2] near his Southern California home. Hanneman was in an area hospital when he suffered liver failure. He is survived by his wife Kathy, his sister Kathy and his brothers Michael and Larry, and will be sorely missed. (Source)

He will indeed be sorely missed by many.

Metallica celebrates 30 years

Last month Metallica celebrated their 30th anniversary with a series of four shows at The Fillmore in San Francisco on Monday 05, Wednesday 07, Friday 09 and Saturday 10 December. (These links are to the official ‘recap’ videos on Metallica’s YouTube channel—over two and a quarter hours of Metallica and friends.)

Metallica took up a residency at The Fillmore and essentially became the house band for the week, to which they invited friends and former Metallica band mates to come join them and play both their own music and covers.

It was really great to see Dave Mustaine (Megadeth/ex-Metallica) on stage playing with them, and Jason Newsted too. Wonderful to hear John Bush (Armored Saint/ex-Anthrax) singing with the band, whom apparently Metallica wanted to join them as their vocalist in the early days. As well as all their other guests, including King Diamond (Mercyful Fate), Rob Halford (Judas Priest), Sean Harris and Tatler (Diamond Head), Animal (The Anti-Nowhere League), Lou Reed, Glenn Danzig (Misfits and Danzig), Marianne Faithfull, John Marshall (Metal Church), Biff Byford,  Jerry Cantrell (Alice in Chains), Bob Rock and more and more.

I’ve been listening to Metallica since 1986, when their third album Master of Puppets came out (I first listened to it at a Scripture Union camp!), and I don’t think I’ve ever heard Metallica play so well live as they did during those four shows. James Hetfield’s voice especially. Wow! And how heartening to see James Hetfield so well, and confident in himself.

I’d love there to be a DVD released of these shows.

You can buy digital versions of the four concerts on the Live Metallica website for US$9.95 (MP3) or US$12.95 (FLAC and Apple Lossless formats). Having listened to them all, they are well worth it: full of great music, great chat, and great humour.

There’s also a great review of the gigs on the Metallica news page, and of course following the 30th anniversay shows they released the Beyond Magnetic EP which contains the four ‘new’ songs (recorded during the Death Magnetic sessions) they played during the four nights in San Francisco: one each night.

Beyond Magnetic EP will be released on CD worldwide on 30 January, and in North America (who apparently aren’t part of the world!) on 31 January.

Lamb of God vocalist to stand for US President

Lamb of God: Willie Adler, Mark Morton, D. Randall Blythe, Chris Adler, John Campbell

WARNING: There are some sweary words in the following post. They are not my sweary words—obviously, I never swear (ahem!). I’m just quoting them.

Without a shadow of a doubt Lamb of God are one of my favourite bands. Their new album Resolution is scheduled to be released in approx. 18 days’ time. I’m very excited.

Well, their vocalist, D. Randall (Randy) Blythe has announced that he is standing for US President in 2012.

“It’s 2012 now, the year some are saying the Mayan calendar predicts a cataclysmic upheaval across the board for our planet, perhaps even the end of the world as we know it. I don’t know if these doomsday predictions have any validity, but I do know one thing: the potential candidates in the race to decide who will be elected President of the United States look like pure shit.

“I’m not particularly stoked on any of the candidates. In a massive blow to our civil rights, Obama quietly signed the NDAA for the fiscal year 2012 into law while Americans drank in their party hats on New Year’s Eve. The GOP is parading around a bunch of ass-clowns in what has got to be the most embarrassing primary season in the history of their party. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse than Sarah Palin, they bust out that lunatic Michele Bachmann. I have no clue what the Libertarians are up to now that Ron Paul is gunning for the Republican nomination. Probably loading their guns and preparing for the worst.

“Don’t even get me started on our current Congress, THE WORST CONGRESS I HAVE EVER SEEN OR HEARD OF IN THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES. It’s a relentless bipartisan pissing contest in Washington where not only is nothing getting done, nothing is ALLOWED to get done. There’s a bunch of squabbling children in Washington in charge of the business of running our country. These baboons are stopping any useful litigation from occurring by engaging in an endless game of “I know you are, but what am I?”. There is very little compromise happening in DC, and there is very little regard for the welfare of the American people. It’s PATHETIC.

“Something has got to change. America is falling to pieces around us and we are sitting back and letting it happen. We need someone to come in and REALLY take charge, someone who can’t be bought by corporate dollars because he doesn’t need or want ‘em. Someone who is not going to bullshit the country or the rest of the world about what’s going to go down when he steps into office, because he LIKES pissing people off and doesn’t give a shit about hurting anyone’s feelings. We need a man who is not afraid to stick his neck out and risk embarrassing himself while doing the right thing, a man, in fact, INCAPABLE of embarrassment anymore PERIOD because he’s ALREADY done almost every stupid WRONG thing you can think of at one time or the other. We need a hard-boiled, no-nonsense, mean son-of-a-bitch with a bad reputation who ain’t afraid to cock-whip the shit out of some randomly selected pussy-ass billionaire on live tv during his annual State of the Union Address just to make a point and let the mega-rich know that NO ONE is above the law here in the land of the free and the home of the brave. In short, we need a man who just DOES NOT GIVE A FUCK.

“America, that man is me.”

Source: Revolver

So, lets just assume that all goes to plan and Uncle Randy gets elected. What would be his first act as the 45th President of the United States of America?

“My first act as President of the United States will [be] to be shot. That’s right, SHOT. With a high-powered assault rifle. Immediately after taking the oath of office, I will be escorted about twenty yards away and be shot publicly in a non-lethal area of my body by a highly trained Navy SEAL sniper. It will hurt like fuck.”

Blythe says he will do this because he doesn’t expect anyone in the armed forces to do anything he wouldn’t.

“Me being shot will be broadcast live world-wide via satellite, with no bleeping out of the incredible string of curse words I will undoubtedly let fly with. I will be required to walk/limp/crawl on my own power a minimum of 50 yards through the mud to an ambulance that will take me away to patch me up. If I can’t make it on my own, I’m not tough enough to be your President.

“After all the nations in the entire world witness America’s new President, an insane looking heavily tattooed freak, getting shot ON HIS OWN ORDER as soon as he takes office, then crawling all bloody to an ambulance, cussing the whole way and screaming pure hate in a monstrous voice tortured by years of touring and Marlboro Reds, they will think twice before fucking with us,” he adds.

“Among his impressive list of promises are to:

  • Take 13 weeks of Marine Corps training.
  • Kill an enemy prisoners in hand-to-hand combat.
  • Kill the first enemy of any war.
  • Change the rules of engagement so troops can shoot before the enemy strikes.
  • Kick some ass.
  • Drink beer.
  • Get laid.
  • Bless America.

Blythe appears to focus on foreign policy rather than discuss economic issues, suggesting he may be better suited for the role of Secretary of State.

His slogan? “Fuck the dumb shit. Let’s get real here.”

Source: Ultimate Guitar

When we have a general election in the United Kingdom we get candidates from the Monster Raving Looney Party. We get candidates dressed as pirates. America gets presidential candidates who want to get shot. That’s metal!

Now do you see why I love Lamb of God?

Day 30: Your favourite song at this time last year #30dsc

30 day song challenge day 30: Your favourite song at this time last year

Cavalera Conspiracy—Must Kill

I have to say that I really like this song, not for the lyrics which are a bit…well, kill-y, but for the music which just grooves.

To be honest, the whole album Inflikted is amazing. This is how Encyclopaedia Metallum reviewed it

Consistently good is probably the best way to sum up “Inflikted”, which establishes Cavalera Conspiracy as a potentially serious player in the modern Metal scene.

Whether they’re pounding out thudding Groove work with a tasteful and measured amount of tribal percussive additives in “Terrorize” and “Dark Ark”, or galloping and riffing into a modern variant on textbook Thrash in “Hearts Of Darkness”, things flow smoothly.

This isn’t quite something that will wow everybody, being more like a good album with a few great elements rather than all out amazing, but it could win over a few older fans of death and thrash, along with roping in all of the newer generation who are more accustomed to an overtly polished production.

In other words, not quite an essential purchase, but definitely something worth looking into if one is inclined towards fast and heavy music with fancy guitar work and raunchy shouts.

I have to disagree with the final paragraph though: this is most definitely an essential purchase.

Day 24: A song that you want to play at your funeral #30dsc

30 day song challenge day 24: A song that you want to play at your funeral

Megadeth—A Tout Le Monde

Music and lyrics: Dave Mustaine

Don’t remember where I was
I realized life was a game
The more seriously I took things
The harder the rules became
I had no idea what it’d cost
My life passed before my eyes
I found out how little I accomplished
All my plans denied

So as you read this know my friends
I’d love to stay with you all
smile when you think of me
My body’s gone that’s all

A tout le monde (To all the world!)
A tout mes amis (To all my friends)
Je vous aime (I love you)
Je dois partir (I must leave)
These are the last words
I’ll ever speak
And they’ll set me free

If my heart was still alive
I know it would surely break
And my memories left with you
There’s nothing more to say
Moving on is a simple thing
What it leaves behind is hard
You know the sleeping feel no more pain
And the living all are scarred

A tout le monde
A tout mes amis
Je vous aime
Je dois partir
These are the last words
I’ll ever speak
And they’ll set me free

So as you read this know my friends
I’d love to stay with you all
Please smile, smile when you think about me
My body’s gone that’s all

A tout le monde
A tout mes amis
Je vous aime
Je dois partir
These are the last words
I’ll ever speak
And they’ll set me free

Day 19: A song from your favourite album #30dsc

30 day song challenge day 19: A song from your favourite album

Skyclad—The Sky Beneath My Feet

This song is taken from one of my all-time favourite albums The Wayward Sons of Mother Earth by Skyclad the UK band that former Sabbat vocalist Martin Walkyier and Pariah guitarist Steve Ramsey formed in 1990 after Walkyier left Sabbat.

The band brought together thrash metal with folk music. Walkyier and Ramsey’s goal was to form the ‘ultimate pagan metal band’. Skyclad were the first band since I started listening to rock and metal music that made me sit up and go “wow!”

It was heavy, it was melodic, it was quiet, it was loud, it was progressive, and the lyrics made you think. This was intelligent metal at its best. I still love the album.

Day 15: A song that describes you #30dsc

30 day challenge day 15: A song that describes you

Soulfly—Flyhigh

Just let my soul fly free
And let me be the one God wants me to be
Just let my soul fly free
And let me see everything
I’m supposed to see

[...]

Pressure building on my soul
I ask God to take control
Give me guidance in this world