SLAYER guitarist Kerry King says that he expects to get some flak from the band's followers for releasing a new studio album without two of SLAYER's founding members, but believes that "the die-hard fans are gonna love it."
Due on September 11, SLAYER's new CD, "Repentless", will mark the band's first effort without both co-founding guitarist Jeff Hanneman, who passed away in 2013, and original drummer Dave Lombardo, who was fired from the group earlier that same year.
"I expect some backlash," King admitted to Music Radar. "I expect some people saying, 'It's not SLAYER, Jeff's not in it. Dave's not in it.' But you can't say it's not AC/DC because Bon Scott isn't in the band! I think the die-hard fans are gonna love it."
Even though SLAYER has yet to perform most of the "Repentless" songs in front of an audience, King is adamant that the new material stands up to the band's earlier efforts.
"Some of these songs are classics already," he says. "One of my favorites is 'Take Control'. That song is Riff City. Just when you think you've heard them all, another one pops up!"
Asked if felt a lot of stress and pressure when composing "Repentless" knowing that he had to create it without one of SLAYER's main songwriters there to provide that input and influence he has leaned on for more than thirty years, King told OC Weekly: "I didn't because I started working on it a lot earlier. I started working on this album when Jeff first got hurt. Had I not started working until Jeff passed, yeah, that would've been a whole different story. I started two-plus years before that. I didn't know if he was going to come back, how much he was going to contribute if anything. I took it upon myself to assume he had nothing and went from there."
According to Kerry, Hanneman served as the inspiration for the "Repentless" title track. "Once I got the chorus done, I decided to make it kind of a Jeff tribute, kind of like from the perspective of how I saw Jeff's outlook on life," King told The Press Enterprise. "Maybe it helped me get over it, maybe it will help the fans heal a little bit."