Tom Araya has admitted he was worried about guitarist Kerry King writing Slayer’s 11th album on his own.
Repentless was mainly created after the death of co-founder Jeff Hanneman, who’d always co-written the band’s material. His replacement, Exodus axeman Gary Holt, did not write for the record.
Araya tells Full Metal Jackie: “Kerry has a different style of writing to Jeff. Kerry’s very chaotic – fact, in-your-face stuff. He writes good songs, but I was thinking, ‘How is this going to sound?’
“On previous records, Kerry would say, ‘This is how I want it done,’ and that’s how he expects it. Jeff would give you feedback. That’s what I like, having someone give me feeback.
“So that was my concern: how everything was going to sound compared to a record that would have Jeff there.”
Araya concluded that he’d have to change his approach to recording, and found an ally in producer Terry Date.
“Terry stood behind me, listened to me and kind of guided me, and allowed me to do what I did,” the frontman reports. “He had an ear for melody and just paid attention. I was really happy to have that.”
And he’s delighted with the result. “In the end, sitting back and listening, I was thinking, ‘This sounds really, really good.’ The doubt went out the window.
“It was like, ‘This is Slayer. Fans are going to like this, because I like this.”
Repentless, released last September, scored Slayer’s highest-ever chart ratings in many parts of the world. The band are currently touring the US, and return to Europe in May, including an appearance at this year’s Bloodstock Open Air festival on August 14.