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Slayer Guitarist Jeff Hanneman Talks About the Writing of "Raining Blood"

In honor of the 25th anniversary of Reign In Blood, Revolver just posted a great interview with Slayer's Jeff Hanneman -- conducted prior to Hanneman's illness -- in which the guitarist talks about the writing of the Slayer classic, "Raining Blood"

When asked if what he remembers about writing the main riff to the thrash classic, Hanneman had this to say: "I just remember when I came up with it, I thought, This is pretty good. I instantly grabbed my little mini-recorder or whatever I had at that time and recorded it so I wouldn’t forget it. I had no idea that the fans would react to it as much as they do. Still, to this day, when we play that song, they go nuts. It’s just unbelievable."

"At concerts, you know the drum buildup before we start playing that riff? It’s almost like an eerie calm going on in the audience. But once it starts, when we start playing that riff, they fucking go crazy. I think its success is that it’s so simplistic. It just sticks in your head. It embeds itself in your brain, and you sing it in your head all day and the only cure is to play the song again. Kids go nuts for that song."

"Like I said, I knew it had something that was really eerie about it or whatever, but I didn’t’ know it was going to be as big as it was. In fact, I played it for Kerry on my little 8-track, and Kerry [King, guitar] was like, 'So.' And I’m like, [laughing] 'Dude, c’mon this is cool!'"

You can read more, including Jeff's thoughts on Tori Amos' cover of "Raining Blood" right here.

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Josh Hart is a former web producer and staff writer for Guitar World and Guitar Aficionado magazines (2010–2012). He has since pursued writing fiction under various pseudonyms while exploring the technical underpinnings of journalism, now serving as a senior software engineer for The Seattle Times.