SPIN.com is honoring the life of SLAYER guitarist Jeff Hanneman with a gallery of early photographs by Harald Oimoen, from the D.R.I. bassist's book "Murder In The Front Row: Shots From The Bay Area Thrash Metal Epicenter". The photos capture several live and candid moments from the rise of U.S. thrash metal circa 1984, including Hanneman and SLAYER performing outdoors on a plywood stage; SLAYER's very first face-to-face encounter with the members of METALLICA; Oimoen's classic sleeve photo from SLAYER's "Hell Awaits" album; and a moving portrait of Hanneman and his eventual substitute in SLAYER — Gary Holt of EXODUS.
The gallery of photos from the book can be viewed at this location.
"Murder In The Front Row" is a stunning volume that collects over 400 amazing color and black-and-white photos from the time when locals EXODUS and Los Angeles transplants METALLICA reigned in small clubs like the Old Waldorf, The Stone, and the infamous East Bay bastion of heaviness, Ruthie's Inn. Thrash metal upstarts SLAYER and MEGADETH found a second home in the Bay Area, while a homegrown breed of tempo-crazed teenagers like LEGACY, POSSESSED, DEATH ANGEL, HEATHEN and VIO-LENCE brought Bay Area thrash metal to critical mass.
Hanneman passed away on May 2 from liver failure at the age of 49.
Members of SLAYER released a statement on May 9 saying that Hanneman died of alcohol-related cirrhosis.
Hanneman had actually not been playing with SLAYER for more than two years since he contracted necrotizing fasciitis, also known as flesh-eating disease, from a spider bite in his backyard in January 2011. The infection ravaged the flesh and tissues of Hanneman's arm, leading to numerous surgeries, skin grafts and intense periods of rehab that forced him into semi-retirement and left him near death at several points.
Hanneman's last appearance with SLAYER was in April 2011, when he played an encore with the band at the "Big Four" concert in Indio, California.