There are a number of reasons why today’s Metal for Friday post had to be Slayer. For one thing, today, May 2, is the one-year anniversary of the sad and untimely death of Jeff Hanneman. Secondly, this week I made my arrangements to travel to the Wacken Open Air metal festival in Germany. By coincidence it happened to be announced this week that Slayer will be performing there. This will be my 12th trip to Wacken, and for a number of reasons is likely to be my last. Thus, the cycle of metal that has taken me to those fields in Germany–to see Slayer, on more than one occasion–begins for what’s probably the final time.

“South of Heaven” is the title track from Slayer’s 1988 album. The music is by Jeff Hanneman. This particular video was recorded at Germany’s Live Rock am Ring in 2005.

Despite being into them for quite a while, it took me a long time to actually see Slayer live. My first experience with them was in the summer of 2000, incidentally only a week or so before I went to Wacken Open Air for the first time. The next time I saw them was at Wacken in 2003. That wasn’t the best live experience I ever had with a band. For one thing the crowd pushing up against the stage made it virtually impossible to see anything; also I was a little miffed as a result of being hassled by Slayer’s security guards at the press tent in the VIP area. But, no harm done; I saw them again in 2011, the last time I was there, and I look forward to seeing them for what’s probably the final time this summer.

There never has been, nor ever will be, another band quite like Slayer. Happy Friday, and Shabbat Shalom!