Slayer frontman Tom Araya says he feared the band’s latest album Repentless would feel “lop-sided” without input from guitarist Jeff Hanneman.
Hanneman died in 2013 before recording sessions began. But work had previously begun on the follow-up to 2009’s World Painted Blood, although he took no part in it.
Araya tells Loudwire: “We were demoing this a while ago and Jeff was around. I kept telling him, ‘Dude, you need to listen to some of the stuff. Help out here.’
He’d show up at rehearsals, he’d listen and he’d leave. I kept telling him, ‘You’ve got to put your hands in this. You could make things sound really good.’”
Hanneman’s absence meant that Kerry King was left to take charge of the music. “I was a little apprehensive,” Araya says. “I felt it would be lop-sided because Slayer has two sounds – aggressive and fast, and aggressive and slow.
“Jeff wasn’t present so I felt it was more important to be there while everything was happening. It was always me and Jeff - I would be there or Jeff would be there. There was always someone there to babysit. It’s about being an extra set of ears, listening and helping.”
The frontman adds: I wasn’t sure how things would turn out. But it came out the way I’d hoped it would.”
Slayer are currently touring North America. They return to Europe in the summer and appear at Bloodstock Open Air on Derbyshire on August 14.
Meanwhile, former drummer Dave Lombardo’s new band Dead Cross have released their first track, We’ll Sleep When They’re Dead. The lineup includes former Cattle Decapitation vocalist Gabe Serbian alongside his Retox colleagues Mike Crain and Justin Pearson.