SLAYER's TOM ARAYA On New METALLICA Album, OBAMA's Election Victory

Austrian heavy 'zine Stormbringer.at conducted an interview with bassist/vocalist Tom Araya of the California thrash metal veterans SLAYER prior to the band's November 16, 2008 concert in Vienna, Austria. Watch the 24-minute chat below.

During the interview, Araya was asked if he has heard METALLICA's new album, "Death Magnetic", and what he thinks of it. "You don't wanna know," Araya replied. "I heard the album. That's all you wanna know. I heard the album… That's why when they [the SLAYER management] said, 'We wanna release this [new SLAYER song], 'Psychopathy Red'.' And this is after listening to the [METALLICA] album. I'm like, 'Yeah, that sounds like a great idea. Let's release this song and give it away, because at least the fans will know what they're getting with our album.' [Laughs] I'm being serious. When I heard the METALLICA album, it didn't appeal to me at all. And all I could think about was, 'Man, what happened?' And then they wanted to record three songs to help sell the tour, that we're working on new material, and I'm like, I thought it was a great idea to release this song. Because people then can have something to compare something to — [show them] that Rick [Rubin, SLAYER and METALLICA producer] still has it. It wasn't Rick. And that was kind of a way to show people, 'Hey, it's not Rick Rubin. It's the band. It's what the band brings to the table. People are always comparing albums. So now they have something that they can compare it to. And they know that this is what they're gonna be getting with our record. You're gonna be getting SLAYER."

On the topic of Barack Obama's election victory and whether he thinks Obama will be able to deliver on all the promises he has made, Araya said, "I think that he'll be able to do whatever it is that the House of Representatives and the Senate allow him to do. He's only the President — they're the ones who vote on things. So if he says, 'I want this to pass' and he gives it to them. And, say, some of them don't agree with him. They don't really like what he's doing anyways. 'You know what? I'm gonna vote 'No' on this.' You know what I mean? And the Democrats have the majority in both the Congress and the Senate — they have the majority. Now we're gonna find out who's on his side or not. Because if the majority are all Democrats and he wants to pass a bill, it should pass — 'cause they're all Democracts and they all feel the same way and they all agree. But that's not how it works. Everybody has their own agenda; everybody wants their piece of the pie. So in order for them to get their piece of the pie… or in order for the President to get his piece, 'I wanna write this in because I want my piece.' So they start adding things to bills. This will tell [us] if the Democrats are really with him — if this was all really because they wanted change or was it just because they wanted to vote a black man in as President. I can tell you this: he's not dumb; he's a pretty smart guy. It really depends on the people on the Congress and the Senate, whether they're gonna allow him to do the things that he wants to do. I can tell you what's really freaky and weird about him — everybody was celebrating that he won, [but] nobody knows him. All over the world, all over the world — people were celebrating that he won. But nobody knows him. He's been a Senator for two years. Never really accomplished much as a Senator. He has done stuff, but never really accomplished something as a Senator, [for people] to say, 'Oh, yeah, he did this,' and everybody would know him for that. But the whole world was celebrating. Why? Nobody knows him. But everybody was happy that he became President. Can you explain that to me? Can you explain to me why people here in Vienna would be happy that Barack won, that he won the presidency? Or what would give them reason to celebrate. I can understand in Kenya, I can understand them celebrating, because he's their blood. It doesn't matter how much blood you've got, your Dad's from Kenya, your blood is from Kenya, so they're happy as shit, and I don't blame them. I think that's great. Because that's part of their blood who's now President of the United States. That's their connection to them. But why everybody else? Everybody around the world celebrated that he won, but nobody can tell you why they celebrated. You have to have a reason to celebrate something . . . I found that very strange. The whole world is celebrating [that] this guy [won], and nobody knows him. I read an article [from] a journalist who was with him for 21 months, on the plane with him during the [campaign] — 21 months! — and at the end of the article, [the journalist] said that after traveling with Barack Obama for 21 months, 'I still don't know what kind of a presidency this man will have.' You ever been with someone for roughly two years and not known about them? That was the final statement in that article. He's been with this person for 21 months, and after 21 months, he still couldn't tell you what kind of a president he would be. It's scary. [In two years], you would know. You would have some idea of what kind of person this person is or how he will be as something. That's the strangest thing about this guy — that everybody is celebrating, but nobody knows him."

A non-CD-quality version of SLAYER's new track "Psychopathy Red" — which is set to appear on the band's forthcoming album, due out summer 2009 — has surfaced on YouTube and can be streamed below. The Jeff Hanneman-penned song gives a chilling look into the twisted mind of Andrei Chikatilo, a notorious Russian serial killer.

The members of SLAYER spent a couple of weeks in a Southern California recording studio last month tracking three new songs, including "Psychopathy Red".

SLAYER kicked off the European "Unholy Alliance Tour: Chapter III" on October 27 at the Manchester Apollo in Manchester, England. The trek is scheduled to wrap in Helsinki, Finland on November 27. The band plans to return to the studio early next year to finish recording the new album.

Fans who attend any of the upcoming European "Unholy Alliance Tour: Chapter III" dates, will receive "Psychopathy Red" via an exclusive download card that will also include special material from the entire tour's lineup — SLAYER, MASTODON, TRIVIUM and AMON AMARTH. The download card, along with a limited edition "Unholy Alliance Tour" clothing patch, will be given away free only to ticket holders when they arrive at their local venue the night of the show.

"The Unholy Alliance Tour" first launched in fall 2004 with a European edition that featured SLIPKNOT, SLAYER, MASTODON and HATEBREED. The venture was so successful, the first North American trek, dubbed "The Unholy Alliance Tour, Chapter II: Preaching to The Perverted", kicked off in summer 2006 with SLAYER, LAMB OF GOD, CHILDREN OF BODOM, MASTODON, and THINE EYES BLEED stomping and screaming its way to 30 U.S. and Canadian cities. The European run of "Unholy Alliance Tour, Chapter II" took place in fall 2006, featuring SLAYER, IN FLAMES, CHILDREN OF BODOM, LAMB OF GOD, and THINE EYES BLEED.

Interview:

"Psychopathy Red" stream (studio recording):

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