The February 2014 issue of U.K.’s Metal Hammer magazine features an interview with SLAYER guitarist Kerry King about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the band’s next album — SLAYER’s first following the passing of guitarist, and one of key songwriters, Jeff Hanneman.
“I’ve got assloads of songs!” King stated about SLAYER’s next CD. “I mean, I’m more prepared than I’ve been before any record, working on this material for of three years. Me and Paul [Bostaph, drums] have demoed 11 songs. I’m sitting on 14 or 15 songs and I’ve got seven complete with lyrics already. I’m in great shape!”
Asked if he has found himself tempted to write the kind of songs that Jeff might have contributed to an album, Kerry said: “I think that would be shooting myself in the foot. I can’t pretend to be Jeff. We both learned from each other in 30 years of writing together. As far as going out of my way to write something that Jeff might’ve done? I won’t do that. If it happens to end up sounding that way, good for me!”
According to King, it’s still undecided as to whether any of Hanneman’s previously unused ideas will make it to the next SLAYER album. “There was a song we finished on the last record, but I know for a fact [Jeff] wanted to rewrite the lyrics on, so that one got to deconstruct and make better,” he said.
“I’ve said, and I’ll continue to say, that if we use any of Jeff’s songs, I don’t want it to come out just because Jeff wrote it. I want it to come out because it’s awesome,” he added. “We’ve just got to put out something that I think Jeff would be proud of.”
Regarding what fans can expect from the new SLAYER material, King said: “I’ve got a surprising amount of heavy stuff for me. I do tend to lean on the fast side, but I have some exceptionally heavy tunes, Like, ‘Wow, man, where did that come from?’ I expect my stuff to be angry and fast, but it’s all over the map. I’m stoked. We’ll have enough so we can pick great stuff whether we use any of Jeff’s material or not. It should add up to as good a record as we can hope for with one of our original songwriters being gone.”
King also spoke about SLAYER’s current touring lineup, which includes drummer Paul Bostaph and guitarist Gary Holt (also of EXODUS).
“Not to toot my own horn, but we sound fucking great right now,” he said. “It’s a juggernaut. Paul’s a machine. He always has been. Also he’s been here before, so that made this transition as easy as it could be as well as for the fans because I think they always felt he was part of the band, even t hough he wasn’t for many years.”
Asked if he is looking forward to shutting people up with the new SLAYER album, King said: “Oh, yeah, but only because people expect us to fail.
“I’m very stoked about the stuff we’re gonna be putting out,” he added.
“In a perfect world, which is never what happens in SLAYER, me and Paul plan on continuing to play to keep our chops up, and if we can get everybody on board, I want to start in January and have a record out before the summer.”