SLAYER guitarist Kerry King spoke to Canada’s Metro about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the band’s 12th studio album — the group’s first since guitarist and founding member Jeff Hanneman died of liver failure on May 2.
“To me, it will be business as usual as it can be,” King said.
“Usually by the time any idea was presented, I’d have finished it or Jeff would have it finished, so they were essentially finished songs. We’ll just move forward like that.
“Musically, I’m sitting on roughly 14 tunes that we can pick from and I’ve finished seven of those lyrically. I’m way ahead of the game compared to where I was for ‘World Painted Blood’ [the band’s 2009 album].”
Asked if SLAYER‘s current touring guitarist Gary Holt — who is also the lead axeman in San Francisco Bay Area’s EXODUS — will play on the new SLAYER album, Kerry said: “I’ve told Gary that I’d like him to play some leads, just to keep it interesting.
“We’ve always been a two-guitar attack, so if you’re looking to have a segment like the ‘Angel Of Death’ lead trade-off, you can’t do that with one guitar.
“As far as Gary being a contributing writer, number one, fans aren’t ready for it, and number two, that’s like throwing somebody to the wolves.
“I think if there’s another record after this one and Gary is still with us at that point, I think that will be a time where I say, ‘Hey dude, feel free to throw any riffs my way if you’re interested’.”
Regarding how the new SLAYER material is shaping up and whether fans can expect any surprises on the next album, Kerry said: “Fans don’t want you to change.
“How many fans do you think METALLICA pissed off when they did ‘Load’ and ‘Reload’?
“People like SLAYER because it’s SLAYER.
“You grow as a musician within your genre, not try and flip genres and become something else.”
In a recent interview with LA Weekly, King commented on the possibility of SLAYER‘s next album featuring previously unused material that was written by Hanneman prior to his death.
“There’s been musicians historically that passed on and had a lot of stuff put out that was unreleased during their lives,” he said. “But most of it was unreleased for a reason. I don’t want the last thing for people to hear from Jeff be mediocre.”
For his part, SLAYER bassist/vocalist Tom Araya has expressed more optimism about the prospect of the band’s next effort containing some of Jeff‘s final ideas.
“I would want to do that,” Tom told Steppin’ Out magazine about revisiting Hanneman‘s material.
“When we did ‘World Painted Blood’, there was a Jeff composition that didn’t make it on the album. We were working on trying to put that song together lyrically, but it wasn’t happening, so it got shelved. But it’s a great song, it’s complete. We’ve just got to finish it lyrically. He also put a song together about a month before he passed away that I thought sounded great. His guitar abilities weren’t all there, but you could hear what he was trying to do. He gave me an idea of where he wanted the verses and how he was phrasing the song.”