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Slayer: New Album May Included Material Written by Jeff Hanneman

  • Axl Rosenberg

Let’s say you’re Slayer — specifically, let’s say you’re Kerry King and Tom Araya. Jeff Hanneman, the guy who wrote all your best material, has recently passed away, but you don’t wanna break-up… in fact, you want to make a new album. But you’re in a real pickle, ’cause a) who is gonna write the damned thing? and b) now there are a whole lotta fans, including ones who defended you for years even through a series of albums many consider to be lackluster, saying you can’t possibly be the same band without Hanneman and you should just call it a day. What do you do? What do you do?!?!

Well, if you’re smart, this is what you do. From a new Loudwire interview with Araya:

“We have two songs [that were written by Hanneman]. 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 intention of doing.”

Araya continues:

“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.”

Including any previously-unreleased material written by Hanneman is a brilliant idea, even if it is only a couple of songs. For one thing, that’s a couple of songs on the new album which are almost guaranteed to be better — or at least more Slayeriffic — than everything else on the album. And for another thing, it pays tribute to Hanneman in a really nice way. And according to MetalSucks contributor D.X. Ferris in his brilliant book about Reign in Blood, other than his solos, Hanneman never actually recorded guitars for Slayer anyway. (Not an uncommon practice — it’s much easier to make the guitars sound tight when one guy is syncing up with himself instead of another person.) So even cynics like me can’t really argue that Hanneman’s “vibe” or whatever will be missed.

Of course, two songs does not an album make, and there’s still the issue of Dave Lombardo not being present. Still, something is better than nothing, right?

[via Metal Insider]

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