For better or for worse, Reign in Blood--much of the music for which Hanneman wrote--changed my life. I still listen to it sometimes. One time a while back I found myself listening to it on my little old iPod (which I have thanks to a gracious Yonkers bride who gave me an iTunes gift card) as I walked the path around the Collegio Internazionale San Lorenzo da Brindisi here in Rome. I stopped as I recalled how, twenty-one years before, my decision to become a catechumen had come out of a brooding daily routine that often included a nocturnal walk around the outer path of Connecticut College while Reign in Blood played in my Walkman. Maybe I'm boring. Maybe I know a classic.
Though at times the devil has gotten into it to stir up a vainglory that made me forget other, more important graces, it's still true that the music epitomized by what Jeff Hanneman gave us was indeed a remote preparation for greater graces God has given me, by making me realize that the ordinary thing, in this case the music that everybody else was listening to, wasn't what I really wanted.
Requiescat in pace. May his family and friends have strength and comfort in these days.