Earlier today (Monday, October 7), SLAYER bassist/vocalist Tom Araya spoke to Loudwire about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the band’s next studio album — the group’s first since the passing of guitarist Jeff Hanneman this past May.

“We have two songs,” said Araya.

He added: “I haven’t had the privilege of going through [Jeff‘s] audio files at the moment, but that’s something I plan to do. Once we get some business squared away, that’s something I plan to do; to go through his music and see what he has.

“I know that he had several ideas together that he had presented to us in the course of the past year. Before he passed away, there was one complete song that he had managed to send to everybody that I listened to and that I thought was really, really good and communicated that to him. There’s stuff that I thought would be great to listen to just to see what’s there and how we can possibly use what he had done. That’s something I have every intension of doing.”

Araya offered more information about the material that Jeff left behind that may end up on the next SLAYER record.

“One song was a song we didn’t finish for [2009’s] ‘World Painted Blood’,” he said. “That song is actually complete. Me and Jeff were working on melody and lyric ideas for that song. We weren’t really happy with what we were doing or what was becoming of that song, so it didn’t make it on the album. It was just something we were working on and we couldn’t find anything we were happy with that would work well lyrically and melody-wise, so that’s one reason why that one didn’t make it on the album, but that song is complete, it’s done, it’s ready to go.”

He continued: “I don’t want to use the term ‘typical’ [laughs] but it’s Jeff, it’s obvious who put the song together. It’s Jeff music. He created a certain way and he put music together a certain way; it’s signature Jeff. It’s new, it doesn’t sound like anything else that we’ve done, in my opinion. Jeff usually just wrote songs and a lot of his stuff had certain signature things he would do to songs. That stuff is in there, but I would consider it new.”

It is not presently clear if EXODUS guitarist Gary Holt — who has been filling in for Hanneman on tour since January 2011 — will be featured on SLAYER‘s next album.

SLAYER‘s 25-date fall 2013 North American tour kicks off on October 22 in Anchorage, Alaska. GOJIRA and 4ARM will provide support on all dates.

It was announced on May 30 by Araya and SLAYER guitarist Kerry King that Paul Bostaph would be behind the drum kit for the remainder of the band’s 2013 international tour.

Bostaph was SLAYER‘s drummer from 1992 until 2001 and recorded four albums with the band — the gold-certified “Divine Intervention” (1994), the 1996 punk covers album “Undisputed Attitude”, “Diabolus In Musica” (1998), “God Hates Us All” (2001) that received a Grammy nomination for “Best Metal Performance”, as well as the DVD “War At The Warfield” (2001), also certified gold. In addition to SLAYER, Bostaph has been a member of FORBIDDEN, EXODUS, SYSTEMATIC and TESTAMENT.

Original SLAYER drummer Dave Lombardo sat out the band’s Australian tour in February/March due to a contract dispute with the other members of the group. Filling in for him was Jon Dette (TESTAMENT, ANTHRAX).