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Slayer’s Tom Araya talks about recording ‘Repentless’ without Jeff Hanneman

Posted by on February 23, 2016

slayer 306Slayer released their latest album Repentless a few months ago and it was the first record done by the band since the passing of guitarist and founding member Jeff Hanneman. While the album features one track that Hanneman co-wrote, most of the album was done without him and was up to frontman Tom Araya and guitarist Kerry King to write and complete it.

The band already started their tour with Carcass and Testament but earlier this month, during an interview with Full Metal Jackie, Araya discussed some details about the album, including why the album had a different sound than their usual by saying:

“Kerry has a different style of writing compared to Jeff. I’m just going to leave it at that. They both have different styles of playing. Kerry’s is very chaotic, very fast and in your face. That was my concern, what are these songs going to sound like? He writes good songs and lyrically he writes great stuff too, but I was really thinking OK how is this going to sound? What is this going to be like? What’s a finished product going to be like? So that was one of my main concerns when we started working on the record. My thought was, that Jeff was definitely — you can hear that Jeff was not part of the record because of the songwriting style that was predominant on the album.

A lot of fast stuff, a lot of riffy stuff, which is how Kerry writes. That was my concern and like I said, I was like what’s this going to sound like? Then as we worked on the record and progressed on the record, and you know doing what I do and having a producer that sat there with me and listened, tell me and give me feedback. That’s what I like, having someone give me feedback and say I like how you’re doing this, I like where you’re going. Keep moving in that direction. Or, eh, you’re not convincing me. I’m not feeling it, why don’t we stop for today?

Come back tomorrow and try it again. That’s the kind of stuff that was helping me with what I was doing in the studio. I didn’t get a lot of that on a lot of the other records, and I think this record lyrically and vocally I think was one of my favorite vocal recordings, period because of the producer, Terry Date, was just amazing help. He had an ear for melody and just paid attention, so I was really happy to have that.

On previous records, Kerry would say this is how I want it done and that’s how he expects it to be done. With this record, I kind of broke the mold on that because for one, we didn’t have Jeff. He needed to allow me to do what I need to do and what I do best, so I think that was my concern with this record. How everything was going to sound compared to a record that would have Jeff there.

Jeff would come in and say, “Hey that sounds great.” He would give feedback. That was my concern, and like I said, Terry Date was there with me and listened to me and kind of guided me and allowed me to do what I did. I was very happy with what I did on this record. In the end, sitting back and listening to it, overall thinking oh my god this sounds really, really good. I really like how this is sounding. So the doubt about how the overall album was going to sound like went out the window. It was like, ok, this is really good, this is Slayer. Fans are going to like this because I like this.”

You can catch the band during their current tour at any of the dates and cities below:

Slayer 2016 tour dates with Testament and Carcass:

2/24 – The National, Richmond, VA
2/26 – House of Blues, Myrtle Beach, SC
2/27 – The Ritz, Raleigh, NC
2/29 – The Fillmore, Charlotte, NC
3/2 – Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, NY
3/3 – The Fillmore, Philadelphia, PA
3/5 – The Fillmore, Silver Spring, MD
3/6 – The House of Blues, Boston, MA
3/8 – LC Pavilion, Columbus, OH
3/9 – The Orpheum, Madison, WI
3/11 – Myth, St. Paul, MN
3/12 – Civic Auditorium, Fargo, ND
3/14 – MacEwan Hall, Calgary, AB
3/15 – Shaw Centre, Edmonton, AB
3/17 – Revolution Event Center, Boise, ID
3/19 – The Paramount, Seattle, WA
3/20 – Roseland Ballroom, Portland, OR
3/22 – Warfield Theatre, San Francisco, CA
3/26 – The Joint, Las Vegas, NV

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