Continuing our Loud List series on rock and metal’s best riffs, we move on to arguably thrash’s most powerful riff machine, Slayer.

Throughout Jeff Hanneman’s lifetime, he composed a collection of metal’s most sinister and uncomfortable riffs worthy of the most terrifying of hellscapes. The intro riff for “Raining Blood” is one of the most intense leads in music history, instantly burning itself into your memory on first listen. Reign in Blood is full of classic riffs, including the somewhat underrated “Postmortem,” which Hanneman also composed.

Slayer were riff masters from their very first album, Show No Mercy, especially with the first track of side two, “Black Magic.” A few years later, Slayer had further developed their signature sound, abandoning many of the NWOBHM dynamics which influenced their early songs. Hell Awaits is perhaps when Slayer truly became the band we know today, with “At Dawn They Sleep” setting a terrifying tone for what was to come.

When Slayer decided to change things up with the masterful South of Heaven, they didn’t jettison riffage like they did with relentless speed. South of Heaven is a gold mine of riffs, boasting incredible licks like “Silent Scream,” “Live Undead,” “Mandatory Suicide” and, of course, the album’s title track.

Check out our picks for the 10 Greatest Slayer Riffs in the Loud List above!

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