SLAYER has set "Repentless" as the title of its new album, due worldwide on Friday, September 11 via Nuclear Blast. The long-awaited follow-up to 2009's "World Painted Blood" marks the first time SLAYER has worked with producer Terry Date (PANTERA, SOUNDGARDEN, DEFTONES). It is also SLAYER's first CD since drummer Paul Bostaph's return to the band in 2013 and guitarist Gary Holt's addition to the SLAYER touring lineup in 2011.
SLAYER guitarist Kerry King told RollingStone.com that he began writing songs for "Repentless" when he found out that the band's co-founding axeman, Jeff Hanneman, had come down with the flesh-eating bacteria, necrotizing fasciitis, in 2011, and subsequently had to take a break from the band. "We anticipated he'd maybe be working on some stuff with us, but we didn't know that for sure, so I just started working on stuff," King said. "Whether I had worked on half a SLAYER record and had eight songs for something else I could do with my friends, so be it. It turns out, Jeff passed, so all the stuff I had been working on instantly became SLAYER songs."
In a recent interview with U.K.'s Metal Hammer magazine, King spoke about some of the individual tracks that will appear on "Repentless".
"There's a couple of songs that are going to be on it that the fans might know," he said. "'Atrocity Vendor' was released in the States on the B-side of some single [a limited vinyl edition of 'World Painted Blood'], so now it's 'Atrocity Vendor 2015'. It's completely re-recorded. It's got new leads, new vocals, Paul playing drums ... it's pretty cool. There's a brand new version of 'Implode' [which was recorded in 2014 and given away for free] on there. The version of 'When The Stillness Comes' is brand new compared to the single [that came] out [for last month's Record Store Day]."
He continued: "The first song is called 'Repentless' and that one's pretty much... I call it the Hannemanthem! I wrote that for [late SLAYER guitarist] Jeff [Hanneman]. Oh, dude, it's fast as fuck. You don't know what the fuck's coming! [Laughs] A song called 'Vices' is on there somewhere. It's super heavy. It'll pummel you in the face. 'Take Control''s another fast one. 'Cast The First Stone''s another heavy one."
King added: "There's 12 songs on it, one being the intro, one being 'Implode', one being 'Atrocity Vendor' and one being 'When The Stillness Comes', but every version of those songs you may have heard before is different, so I think that's cool, but I also wanted them to be part of a collection. I like the finality of songs belonging on a record. It's probably about 40 or 45 minutes, maybe less. We did 'God Hates Us All' and we put every song we had at the time on the record because that was the trendy thing to do, but as soon as we did that, I vowed never to do it again. I grew up with 10-song albums."
Asked it it was his aim to make "When The Stillness Comes" sound like something Hanneman might have written, Kerry responded: "That one came out surprisingly good."
He continued: "If you know our history, I never did the clean or spooky stuff. That was always Jeff. It was the one thing musically that was just his. I'd do the crazy, punky fast stuff arnd he'd do the moody stuff. So 'When The Stillness Comes' was my first attempt and it gave me goose bumps. I thought, 'This is pretty fuckin' good!'"
Asked how they respond to suggestions that the current lineup of SLAYER "isn't really SLAYER anymore," SLAYER bassist/vocalist Tom Araya said: "In the past, the fans have always known what to expect. But now they don't know what to expect.
"We've tried to reassure them that they're going to get SLAYER ... and that's what they're getting!
"The way social media is, it's all instant, so the response will be immediate this time."
He continued: "It'll be interesting to see what the first, initial reactions are. That all adds to the emotions I'm feeling this time round."
Added Kerry: "I don't pay attention to anything on the Internet. I don't have any social media, because of that stupid horseshit. It's just people spouting off.
"If those people could hear [the upcoming SLAYER] record and say, 'Man, it's horseshit!' then I'd be stunned. I'm very excited."
SLAYER's eleventh studio album will be released on the band's own as-yet-unnamed label through Nuclear Blast.
SLAYER will tour extensively to support the new album, headlining this summer's Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival as well as playing other major outdoor festivals and several "An Evening With..." SLAYER-only concerts.
Photo credit: Andrew Stuart