SLAYER guitarist Kerry King has dismissed as "bullshit" a recent report that claimed the band's late axeman, Jeff Hanneman, was "physically present on one unnamed track" on SLAYER's forthcoming eleventh full-length album, tentatively due in August.
In an interview with Revolver magazine, SLAYER bassist/vocalist Tom Araya stated about the band's forthcoming CD: "The whole process of this album started three years ago, when Jeff was still a part of it. There is one track on there that we recorded with him, that he did play on, which was completely done except we hadn't finalized the vocals for it. So we were fortunate to have something that he had participated in."
But in a brand new chat with Loudwire conducted on Monday (April 6), Kerry shot down the claim that Jeff's playing can be heard on SLAYER's new CD. He said (see video below): "Jeff Hanneman isn't physically playing on this record. Somebody reported some bullshit. People say shit when they don't know what's actually going on. Even though Jeff's song, 'Piano Wire', which was [originally] recorded [during] the last album cycle ['World Painted Blood'], I played all the guitar [on it]. I've been doing that for years. Since he has no lead on that song, he's not on it."
During a November 2013 chat with Rolling Stone magazine, King spoke in more detail about the last track Hanneman wrote. He said: "Jeff gave us… There was a song leftover from the last album that Jeff finished as an afterthought that was called 'Piano Wire'. It wasn't on the album because it wasn't as good as the other songs. I knew Jeff was gonna work on the lyrics and get it done. He was always talking about reworking the song."
He continued: "When you try to make a song better, you pretty much have to deconstruct it to make it better. I know there are two other ones, which are incomplete things, which he had for 15 to 20 years. Those will come out. My big thing is that I don't want people to say, 'Oh, that's a bummer that this was Jeff's last song.' I want people to say, 'This is awesome that this was Jeff's last song.'"
The follow-up to 2009's "World Painted Blood" was recorded over a four-month period at Hollywood, California's Henson Studios with producer Terry Date, who has previously worked with PANTERA, SOUNDGARDEN and KORN, among others. The CD will be released on Nuclear Blast through the band's own label imprint, closing out a 28-year relationship with Rick Rubin and American Recordings. It will also be SLAYER's first album without Hanneman, who passed away in May 2013 from alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver. He is credited for writing many of SLAYER's classic songs, including "Angel Of Death" and "South Of Heaven".
Joining King and Araya during the sessions for SLAYER's new album are returning drummer Paul Bostaph, who replaced Dave Lombardo last year, and guitarist Gary Holt (also of EXODUS), who has been filling in for Jeff Hanneman on tour for the past four years.
Asked if he has found himself tempted to write the kind of songs that Jeff might have contributed to an album, Kerry told Metal Hammer magazine in an early 2014 interview: "I think that would be shooting myself in the foot. I can't pretend to be Jeff. We both learned from each other in 30 years of writing together. As far as going out of my way to write something that Jeff might've done? I won't do that. If it happens to end up sounding that way, good for me!"
Regarding what fans can expect from the new SLAYER material, King said: "I've got a surprising amount of heavy stuff for me. I do tend to lean on the fast side, but I have some exceptionally heavy tunes, Like, 'Wow, man, where did that come from?' I expect my stuff to be angry and fast, but it's all over the map. I'm stoked. We'll have enough so we can pick great stuff whether we use any of Jeff's material or not. It should add up to as good a record as we can hope for with one of our original songwriters being gone."