Slayer fans, we’ve got some exciting and exclusive news to share with you! The passing of iconic Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman hit us all like a ton of bricks, but we’re ecstatic to report that new Hanneman material may appear on Slayer’s upcoming 11th studio album.
We spoke with frontman Tom Araya earlier today (Oct. 7), and he confirmed that past songs Hanneman shared with his band, along with never-before-heard archived audio recorded by the guitarist will be extracted for Slayer’s upcoming writing sessions.
Earlier this year, Jeff Hanneman died at the age of 49. Having battled with a freak case of necrotizing fasciitis along with liver damage for a number of years, the legendary shredder succumbed to liver failure on May 2, 2013. Although the news was, and still is, incredibly sad, Slayer fans can raise their heads (and devil horns) high knowing that Jeff Hanneman’s work could appear on Slayer’s next album.
“We have two songs,” Araya tells us. “I haven’t had the privilege of going through his audio files at the moment, but that’s something I plan to do. Once we get some business squared away, that’s something I plan to do; to go through his music and see what he has. I know that he had several ideas together that he had presented to us in the course of the past year. Before he passed away, there was one complete song that he had managed to send to everybody that I listened to and that I thought was really, really good and communicated that to him. There’s stuff that I thought would be great to listen to just to see what’s there and how we can possibly use what he had done. That’s something I have every intension of doing.”
Araya goes into more detail, “One song was a song we didn’t finish for ‘World Painted Blood.’ That song is actually complete. Me and Jeff were working on melody and lyric ideas for that song. We weren’t really happy with what we were doing or what was becoming of that song, so it didn’t make it on the album. It was just something we were working on and we couldn’t find anything we were happy with that would work well lyrically and melody-wise, so that’s one reason why that one didn’t make it on the album, but that song is complete, it’s done, it’s ready to go. I don’t want to use the term ‘typical’ [laughs] but it’s Jeff, it’s obvious who put the song together. It’s Jeff music. He created a certain way and he put music together a certain way; it’s signature Jeff. It’s new, it doesn’t sound like anything else that we’ve done, in my opinion. Jeff usually just wrote songs and a lot of his stuff had certain signature things he would do to songs. That stuff is in there, but I would consider it new.”
We also asked Araya what emotions come up when he hears the second full song Hanneman submitted to Slayer shortly before his death. “Listening to that, and this isn’t meant in a bad way, but when I listen to it and I’m thinking about him, it’s kind of like, ‘F—in’ Jeff!” [laughs]. That’s what crosses my mind; ‘F—in’ Jeff!’ Some people wouldn’t understand that, but having conversations with Paul [Bostaph, drums] on these past tours that we’ve done together, I’ll look at him, I’ll be onstage playing and then it’ll hit me. Then I’ll be talking to Paul after the show and I’ll look at him and sometimes I’ll just be like, ‘F—in’ Jeff!’ and he’ll just smile and say, ‘Yeah, I know what you mean.’ [Laughs] I do that periodically. When I think about him, that’s usually the phrase that’ll come to my mind.”