SLAYER has returned to the studio to resume recording its new album for a tentative early 2015 release. Helming the sessions is Terry Date, who previously worked with the band on the song "Implode", which was made available as a free download as a "thank you" to the band's fans for their continued support following SLAYER's surprise performance at this past April's Revolver Golden Gods awards in Los Angeles.
Joining guitarist Kerry King and bassist/vocalist Tom Araya in the studio for SLAYER's new album are returning drummer Paul Bostaph, who replaced Dave Lombardo last year, and guitarist Gary Holt (also of EXODUS), who has been filling in for Jeff Hanneman on tour for the past four and a half years.
Speaking to Jose Mangin, SiriusXM director of programming and on-air host (Liquid Metal, Ozzy's Boneyard, Octane), Araya stated about the progress of the recording sessions for the new CD: "We're just getting started, man. We're laying down drum tracks at the moment, but yeah, we're just getting started. I'd say we're two weeks into doing stuff."
Regarding the direction of the new SLAYER material, Araya said: "There's stuff that Kerry has been working on for the past almost two years, two and a half years.
"We started this whole process of writing a new album several years ago — three or four years ago — so it's been a long process; it's something that we've been doing for a while. So a lot of these songs have been around for a bit and now we're just trying to figure them out and make them good."
Araya also talked about SLAYER's collaboration with Date, saying, "He's awesome, dude. He's really, really good.
"We actually finished up a song that we're doing for somebody and we put that together in five days, and we went in and recorded it, we did all our parts, and then Terry mixed it and we presented it and it fuckin' sounds really heavy, man. [It] sounds awesome, sounds real fuckin' heavy."
SLAYER's next CD will be released on Nuclear Blast Records through the band's own label imprint, closing out a 28-year relationship with Rick Rubin and American Recordings. It will also be SLAYER's first album without the group's co-founding guitarist Jeff Hanneman, who passed away in May 2013 from alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver. He is credited for writing many of SLAYER's classic songs, including "Angel Of Death" and "South Of Heaven".
"I never go online and see what people are talking about because people are ten foot tall behind a computer screen, you know?!" King told ARTE Concert at last month's Wacken Open Air festival in Wacken, Germany. "But, you know, a lot of [the reaction to 'Implode'] was positive, a lot of people said, 'For anybody that was worried about what SLAYER was gonna sound like post-Hanneman, don't worry about it.'"
He continued: "I know people are gonna think that [we can't make another quality album], people are gonna expect us to fail because it's the first record without Jeff; I get it. But I'm also very proud of what of we've done so far towards new material. It's fast, the slow stuff's heavy. I mean, it's… Everything that people liked SLAYER for in the past is on this record."
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 was effectively fired from SLAYER after sitting out the band's Australian tour in February/March 2013 due to a contract dispute with the other members of the group. Filling in for him was Jon Dette (TESTAMENT, ANTHRAX).
During a brand new interview with Gazette.net, SLAYER bassist/vocalist Tom Araya expressed doubt about the possibility of more shows in the future featuring the so-called "Big Four" of 1980s thrash metal — METALLICA, SLAYER, MEGADETH and ANTHRAX.
During a brand new interview with Brian Aberback of New Jersey's Steppin' Out magazine,SLAYER bassist/vocalist Tom Araya was asked about the band's decision to part ways with drummer Dave Lombardo bring back Paul Bostaph.
"That whole issue came down to this: Dave had been jamming with us for a while, as a working member of the band, but he wasn't a partner," Tom began. "Like all things like that, you have to have agreements, so nobody feels cheated. We had ongoing issues and finally he put us in a position where we had to find someone to replace him. He wasn't happy, so he decided to have his Facebook rant and told the world about a lot of issues going on within the band that are legally binding and private. I thought that was wrong and it was upsetting. A lot of the claims he made were untrue. Part of the agreement is you don't do that. Kerry [King, SLAYERguitarist], Jeff [Hanneman, then-SLAYER guitarist] and I got on the phone and made a collective decision and we let Dave go and gave Paul a call. Paul said he'd be happy to come back. He has brought some life back into our live performances. He's in hyper drive and kicking ass, which makes us play faster. People have commented on how energetic we've been lately. We're playing faster than we would have. It's good injection of adrenaline."
Lombardo sat out SLAYER'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).
During an interview with the KZRADIO.NET alternative radio station in Israel conducted on May 1 — just one day before the tragic passing of SLAYER guitarist Jeff Hanneman — Lombardostated about his the circumstances that led to him being absent from SLAYER's current trek: "Basically, I had to renegotiate my contract two and a half years ago and I got an attorney because it was too complicated for me to do it myself. And my attorney was asking questions. And the answers she got from her questions, they weren't correct; they weren't the right answers. So we worked on it for two and a half years. And 2013 came around and SLAYER had to go on tour, and I said, 'Guys, I can't go on tour unless we resolve this, I've been advised.'"
He continued: "What I need is clarity — clarity and transparency.
"You go and make money for somebody, and if somebody is gonna pay you a percentage, you need to know where all this goes. They say I don't deserve to know, but I think if you're gonna pay somebody a percentage, they deserve to know. Because how are you gonna know what you got paid when you don't know everything else?
"It's a little complicated, and there's more to it as well.
"They feel that because I left in 1992 and I left for 10 years, they feel I don't deserve [to know all the details of their business].
"I mean, I love the guys — they're like my brothers — and I wish this didn't happen. But now there's like this wall between us."
Regarding some fans' criticism that money should not get in the way of the members ofSLAYER making music together, Lombardo said: "What people don't understand is that, being a musician, you have to be a part businessman. There's contracts… If you're a musician and you don't have a contract and you don't follow up on your business, people are gonna take from you and they're gonna steal from you.
Brian Aberback of New Jersey's Steppin' Out magazine recently conducted an interview with SLAYER bassist/vocalist Tom Araya. An excerpt from the chat follows below.
Steppin' Out: You just started doing press for this tour and know that everyone will be asking about [late SLAYER guitarist] Jeff [Hanneman]. How do you feel talking about everything that's gone on in the past six months?
Tom Araya: You know you're going to get those questions whether we decide to do press or not. If you don't do interviews, no one is aware that you're doing a tour. It wouldn't bother me if Kerry [King, guitar] did all the interviews. [laughs] But when I do interviews, I enter them with an open mind and try to answer the questions the best I can.
Steppin' Out: Did you have any idea that Jeff was seriously ill before he died?
Tom: Nobody ever thought about Jeff passing away. I thought about him getting better and getting back onstage. We've been talking about getting back in the studio for the last two years, with Jeff being a part of that. It was something to be continued.
Steppin' Out: Have you thought about folding the band following his death?
Tom: His death has changed everything. Knowing that Jeff was on the sidelines, I was OK. It was always about, "Jeff is going to come back." Then he passed away and it was more like, "Why am I doing this now?" It changed my attitude about some things. Someone said, "It's really great that you decided to tour and move on," but these tours were scheduled in advance. At the end of this tour, Kerry and I are going to have to sit down and talk as far as how we want to move forward, if we want to move forward. There hasn't been time for me and Kerry to talk. We've been on the road but we haven't really sat down and talked about it. Jeff and I collaborated a lot, and he offered me the opportunity to write or to collaborate with him. Like I said, there are things we have to discuss to either move forward or just to figure something out.
Steppin' Out: How tough was it playing the first shows after Jeff's death this summer in Europe?
On October 9, Peter Atkinson of Metal-Rules.com conducted an interview with SLAYER bassist/vocalist Tom Araya. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metal-Rules.com: Are you interested in seeing people's reactions here to the new SLAYER, the new old SLAYER, or whatever people think it is?
Tom: [laughs] I don't know. They've experienced SLAYER with Gary [Holt, guitar], and everybody's experienced SLAYER with Paul [Bostaph, drums] because Paul was part of the band for quite a few years, so it'll be time for everybody to get reacquainted with Paul and acclimated to this lineup. Gary has been playing with us for two years now, if you can believe that. People have seen the various pieces, just not all together. Paul's always been a friend. When he left, it was on his terms, and it was no bad feelings at all. Paul felt he needed to move on and it wasn't on bad terms and to have him back and playing in the band is awesome. It's like we're taking up where we left off with Paul and he's amazing. He's full of energy, he's excited to be back and he's excited to be part of SLAYER again. So it makes for very energetic shows and very exciting times. This is gonna be good. Like I said, everybody is going to be reacquainted with Paul and everybody knows Gary has been filling in, now it's just a whole different circumstance knowing that Jeff [Hanneman, guitar] has passed. I'm sure everyone will enjoy it. Paul is very energetic and excited, which makes everybody else excited. It'll be good and it will allow closure for everybody.
Metal-Rules.com: How is Gary dealing with all this. He's in odd position — plus there's still EXODUS and I wonder if he's itching to get back to that, since it's his baby?