SLAYER's KERRY KING: 'I Would Have Loved For GARY HOLT To Have Been More Involved With Writing'

June 24, 2015

SLAYER guitarist Kerry King and bassist/vocalist Tom Araya spoke to Jason Roche of LA Weekly about "Repentless", the band's first CD to be recorded after the passing of SLAYER's co-founding guitarist Jeff Hanneman in 2013.

"Me and Jeff, our relationship was that we would have dialogue and communicate," Araya said. "That's something that I never had as much with Kerry. We all had a working relationship with each other, but we had to open the lines of communication between us more."

"There was adversity during this time that we're not used to," King said. "There are adverse situations during any recording process, but this was extreme. We had to learn how to be SLAYER in a new way."

Regarding how the songwriting process for "Repentless" was affected by Hanneman's absence, Kerry said: "I branched out of my comfort zone. Jeff had a style that I didn't do ... moody and spooky stuff. The opening riff for 'When The Stillness Comes' has been around for 20 years. I didn't have to bust down the door to finish it because Jeff would have that type of stuff covered. This time, I had to finish it. I didn't feel comfortable doing a SLAYER record and leaving that aspect of SLAYER off of it."

Kerry also talked about the lack of songwriting contributions from guitarist Gary Holt (also of EXODUS),who stepped in for Hanneman after Jeff became ill four and a half years ago.

"I would have loved for Gary to have been more involved with writing," King said. "I thought a long time about this, but I didn't think SLAYER fans were ready for that yet. Even though Gary's a household name in thrash, I didn't feel that the first SLAYER record without Jeff should have Gary Holt contributing as a writer."

"Repentless" will be released on September 11 via Nuclear Blast. The highly anticipated CD is SLAYER's eleventh studio album, the first since 2009's critically acclaimed, Grammy-nominated "World Painted Blood" and the first with producer Terry Date (PANTERA, SLIPKNOT, SOUNDGARDEN). The band — Tom Araya (bass, vocals),Kerry King (guitar),Paul Bostaph (drums),and Gary Holt (guitar),who recorded lead guitar parts for about a half-dozen of the album's new tracks — started recording "Repentless" in March 2014, and made the track "Implode" available as a free download in April of that year. The band and Date continued to record between September 2014 and mid-January 2015 at Henson Studios in Los Angeles. For the album, "Implode" was completely re-recorded from the ground up, and "When The Stillness Comes", used as an instrumental track in a Scion commercial, got a revamped intro and all new vocals.

As is expected from SLAYER, the band will support the release of "Repentless" with extensive touring across the globe, beginning this summer when the band headlines the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. That tour kicks off June 26 at Sleep Train Amphitheater in San Diego, California.

Photo by Andrew Stuart

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