Rig Rundown: Mac Sabbath

These intergalactic GMO mutants honor two things: metal and cheeseburgers. See how Earthly gear guideposts Iommi and Butler influence their tasty setups.

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Hanneman playing Mayhem Fest with Slayer in 2009. Photo by Victoria Morse.

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.

It was L.A.'s hottest day of the year, soon to segue into one of metal's biggest nights—the Revolver Golden God Awards fifth-anniversary show—when a very sad rumor spread amongst those of us in town to attend the event. Soon it would be confirmed as true via an official statement from Slayer: Founding guitarist Jeff Hanneman—who'd suffered from a tragic necrotizing fasciitis infection that prevented him from playing with Slayer since early 2011—had passed away a few hours earlier from liver failure. The world had just lost a voice hugely influential in metal and beyond.

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. 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."

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Slayer''s 1995 Divine Intervention tour is chronicled

Live Intrusion

For metalheads, seeing Slayer live for the first time is a cathartic experience. Their concerts are legendarily intense, with a non-stop barrage of punk-infused thrash that the band pioneered decades ago. Until recently, getting to see Slayer live had been easier than tracking down their long-out-of-print live DVDs, 2003’s War at the Warfield and 2004’s Still Reigning. Slayer fans have long suspected video footage of the band’s March 12, 1995, performance existed, and the notion was reinforced by statements from fellow metal bands Machine Head and Biohazard. The band has decided to reissue these coveted videos with an additional, unreleased volume entitled Live Intrusion, which shows the band during their 1995 Divine Intervention tour.

The video shooting style here, while paying equal attention to each member of the band, is frustratingly typical of mid-’90s rock videos—there are way too many viewpoint changes to focus on anything, including the great set list. As annoying as that is, you could argue that it represents the chaotic nature of the band’s live show. Both the video and sound quality stand up well, especially for a recording made over 15 years ago on a high-end VHS master tape. One of the disc’s real treats is the cover Venom’s classic “Witching Hour,” which finds the band being joined onstage by Machine Head’s Robb Flynn and Chris Kontos. That performance is almost worth the price of admission alone.