Slayer frontman Tom Araya still can’t get used to working without late guitarist Jeff Hanneman, he’s admitted.
The band are in the process of mixing and mastering their 11th album – their first without the co-founding guitarist, who died in 2013 after a two-year absence with health issues.
It was previously revealed that one track on the follow-up to 2009’s World Painted Blood was written before Hanneman’s death, and features his playing.
Araya tells Revolver: “The whole process of this album started three years ago, when Jeff was still a part of it. The track was completely done, except we hadn’t finalised the vocals for it. So we’re fortunate to have something he had participated in.”
A total of 13 songs have been laid down by Araya, Kerry King, Gary Holt and Paul Bostaph, although it’s likely only 10 will appear. Slayer have still to decide on the album title, artwork and other details.
Araya reflects: “Ever since Jeff’s passing it’s been just odd and strange – because he’s never going to be there again, you know?
“Even when we were doing stuff without him while he was still alive, that felt strange. I missed him during the process. But the way things turned out, I think he was definitely a part of it, even if he wasn’t there physically.”
And he’s hailed Exodus guitarist Holt for his contribution. “Gary shredded leads on quite a few songs,” says the frontman. “He damaged his wrist – well, he didn’t damage it, but it was pretty sore. That’s what he claimed. Gary gave it all, and he was a man about it too!”
He adds of the lyrics: “It’s all about the social ills that dominate humankind. It’s a Slayer record. It’s going to be a really, really powerful record.”
It’s expected later this year. The band appear on Motorhead’s second Motorboat cruise in September.