Mon, 27 Jul 2015 10:20:20
Legendary guitarist Kerry King on being Repentless, working with Terry Date, and so much more.
Slayer—Tom Araya [vocals, bass], Kerry King [guitar], Paul Bostaph [drums], and Gary Holt [guitar]—uncover their eleventh full-length album, Repentless, on Friday, September 11, 2015. It's 15 years since God Hates Us All, their last record with drummer Paul Bostaph who returned to the fold this time around. In some ways, it feels like it could be a direct successor to that seminal 2001 offering with its artful amalgam of speed demon metal, dark grooves, and sinisterly soothing passages. The thrash titans are firing on all cylinders, and their latest album stands amongst their finest hours proudly. So, we talked to Kerry King in this exclusive interview about the ins and outs of Repentless, the approach behind the album, working with producer Terry Date [Pantera, Soundgarden, White Zombie], and so much more.
Repentless has a real cohesion. You have to listen to it from beginning to end.
It's hard to talk about [Laughs]. I had a lot of time to put music together for this, and I was also using one of Jeff's songs, "Piano Wire," as well. Even though Jeff's song is at least six-years-old, it still feels like it was written for the same project. The funny thing about Slayer music is two riffs in particular are twenty-years-old. It doesn't matter when I made it up. It's just finding the friends that make an idea a song. Knowing that I like it, knowing it's in my back pocket, and finally finding the riffs that complete it as a song makes it sort of timeless.
When was the moment that you felt the album's vision crystallized?
Well, this recording process was a little weird for us. There were three breaks where we did either a weekend or a week of shows. In the beginning when Paul was doing drums, we would have to consciously take an hour-and-a-half aside from tracking to prepare to go do shows. You get a different mindset. You're making sure you've got the live stuff right as opposed to listening to everything in the studio and thinking, "How can I make this better?"
It was trying and difficult for me. It's basically uprooting what you're doing, playing some shows, and coming back. On the other hand, you take the songs you've already done and go live with them for a week or a weekend and basically solidify the fact you liked it in the first place.
The songs probably make more sense when you return.
It's hard to convey, dude. It was nice, yet it was a pain in the a** [Laughs].
Had you always talked about working with Terry Date eventually?
It's really funny. We had a day off in Seattle at the beginning of the tour, and that's where he lives so we went and had dinner. I'm not what I call a "Producer nerd." I don't take people's names from records aside from "Mutt" Lange who did the AC/DC stuff, of course you know that. I knew Terry's name from Pantera, my old friends. I certainly didn't know what else he did. It was a month or month-and-a-half into recording where we were shooting the s***, and he was talking about Soundgarden.
I was like, "You did Louder Than Love?! I had no idea." That's one of my favorite records. Obviously, he's done some historic great records through his career, but it didn't seem like a lot in the metal community recently. So, what we did since we hadn't done a record in six years and, to me, Terry hadn't done anything metal for quite some time, the marriage between Slayer and Terry Date made both of us better at this moment.
Watch the visualizer for the title track, "Repentless" from Slayer: