This week, Loudwire pays tribute to Slayer, who kicked off their final tour on May 10 in San Diego (read our review of opening night here). The thrash metal titans took the genre to faster, louder, and creepier places than anyone ever had, and they've influenced scores of extreme metal bands. From dissections of their songs to never-before-told stories, we're celebrating all things Slayer. 

As Slayer Week winds down, we’ve got one more metal musician who was happy to nerd out on camera for the thrash legends. Between the Buried and Me guitarist Paul Waggoner didn’t even understand Slayer when he first heard Reign in Blood, but he immediately understood it was “the most insane music ever.”

“The first album I probably heard was Reign in Blood. I wasn’t really a metal guy, so I just thought it was the most insane music ever,” says Waggoner. “’What are they doing?’ The riffs and some of the atonality of the guitar solos and stuff. I was just like, ‘Man, this is just crazy stuff.’ I can’t even honestly say I even liked it at the time or resonated with it.”

Years later, Waggoner would grow to especially appreciate Slayer’s Reign in Blood and South of Heaven records and the influence they had on the following generation. “Chances are your favorite Slayer riffs were probably written by Jeff Hanneman,” Waggoner says. “They were doing something so long ago that people are still trying to replicate. He just had a knack for writing riffs that didn’t necessarily even follow traditional melodic flow, but they still somehow were catchy and powerful and heavy.”

“That legacy has continued and probably will continue until the end of time,” the guitarist adds. “I think their legacy is already cemented, their influence is already cemented … That’s never gonna go away. I think what we’re gonna miss is just that band onstage, together, doing it.”

Watch Paul Waggoner’s testimony above and click here for Slayer’s full list of 2018 U.S. farewell tour dates.

All Slayer Songs Ranked