A striking similarity in the structural composition of two pieces of music from completely different sources leaves one wondering could it be that this was by design.

Years ago as a local guitarist I noticed that the Slayer song, "South of Heaven" was quite like the theme song of Inspector Gadget... with the diminished intervals that chromatically alternate downward with the staccato feel and timing. My friend who played the drums and I did a little cover of it where we played both pieces and combined them.

To this day I have never heard anywhere else that there was a correlation or that anyone else had noticed. It was not on the internet - several years ago. So, is it more likely by design or by coincidence that these two songs seem so significantly similar?


2 Answers 2


Hard to answer, but let's see what we got.

According to http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/Inspector_Gadget_(song) the IG theme was written by Haim Saban and Shuki Levy for the original cartoon series that aired from 1983 to 1986. This would give it a date of 1983 "South of Heaven" dates from 1987 or so. So the timeline supports the one borrowing from the other.

What the music is evoking comes from rather different places: IG is creating the feeling of - loony tunes, comic goings-on, touch of grotesque. Slayer are going more for : grotesque, some kind of vision of darkness and despair, that we're going to rock-n'roll our way through anyhow.

Probably an unconscious similarity. You got sharp ears.

  • It's very possible that Hanneman was a fan of Gadget and just started messing around while watching the show one day. BLAMMO. South Of Heaven. I used to live with a cousin who was a musician, and he'd start writing songs around the theme songs from Nintendo games I was playing.
    – Johnny Bones
    Mar 17, 2016 at 14:23
  • Hm, very possible indeed @Johnny Bones. I keep hoping someone with some inside info on the band will reveal something like, "Contract rider says: 'DVD of Inspector Gadget has to be in the dressing room'.
    – Angst
    Mar 18, 2016 at 22:22
  • Now if I could only figure if the lyrics at the beginning of HELL AWAITS are backwards or only sound that way. Thanks Angst, (hmm,,,) AND.... Apr 4, 2016 at 16:56
  • Make no bones : Apr 4, 2016 at 16:57
  • Remembering the ENTER key, Apr 4, 2016 at 16:57

I would say neither. I would say that both "South of Heaven" and the theme song to "Inspector Gadget" are based on variations of the riff from Edvard Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King" from the year 1876, part of his "Peer Gynt Suite". I don't think either Slayer or Inspector Gadget were influenced by each other. I think both of them were referencing Grieg's piece from more than one hundred years earlier.



Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) wrote a truly iconic riff that has found its way into many musical adaptations in the last 140 years.

  • I can hear that tune now without cueing it up - was heard in Tucson 35 years ago and it was part of a video game.... wait, you set me up for this.... It was, hmm, can't recall the game it was on Atari 2600. or was it 2200? the diminished interval descending is what it is I think. Nah, it's all chromatic. Can't hear music anyway it's all the same note !! Mar 24, 2016 at 8:43

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