During our recent hangout with Slayer legend Tom Araya, we had a chance to speak with the frontman about Slayer’s newest album, Repentless. He took us through the creation of the record along with his feelings on what Jeff Hanneman would likely think of Slayer’s 12th full-length studio disc.

Slayer’s Repentless is the first album the iconic thrash band has released without Jeff Hanneman’s physical playing. Hanneman passed away in May 2013, leaving a gigantic hole in Slayer’s creative core and in thrash metal as a whole. The band mourned Jeff’s loss, but soldiered on to craft what would become Repentless.

“When we went into the studio after he passed, I was a little apprehensive,” Araya shared. “Slayer is really the culmination of the two of them [Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King]. I felt it would be lopsided. Slayer has two sounds; really aggressive and fast, and also really aggressive and slow.”

Hanneman’s absence left Kerry King to compose almost the entirety of Repentless himself, other than the Hanneman-penned track “Piano Wire,” which King still had to replicate in the studio. Araya also found himself taking Hanneman’s load of production tasks, as the two would traditionally switch off manning the studio to make sure everything was coming along nicely.

“It was always between me and Jeff,” Araya told us. “I would be there or Jeff would be there, so there was always someone there to babysit, kind of [laughs].

Check out our in-depth chat with Slayer’s Tom Araya in the clip above!

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