As thrash brethren around the world quiver in anticipation of Slayer’s upcoming studio release World Painted Blood, the band has just issued a very welcome update, divulging many details about the album, as well as this summer’s Rockstar Mayhem Festival, which the metal legends will be headlining (along with Marilyn Manson) when it kicks off later this week. We’ve rounded up the best bits for you after the jump, and we’ve also got a short video clip from the band talking about the album… so get yer ass in here!
World Painted Blood was recorded in LA in two phases (last fall and early this year) with producer Greg Fidelman at the helm. Fidelman, who has worked with Metallica and Slipknot, was recommended by long-time Slayer collaborator Rick Rubin, who acted as executive producer. It also marked the first time the band did most of their songwriting right in the studio, instead of writing and rehearsing beforehand – which Fidelman says helped preserve the spontaneous energy of the songs, and encouraged a collaborative effort.
"Individually, they are all really good at what they do, but when you put them in a room together, it creates something really unique,” Fidelman explains. “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. What those parts are, I'm still not sure, but when you hear it, you know it."
The band spent more time writing together than ever before, which they claim made them more aware of each other’s input during the process. “While my name will be on the songs I wrote, and Jeff's will be on the ones he wrote, there was a lot of interaction between us while the songs were taking shape,” guitarist Kerry King states.
As usual, songwriting duties were mainly shared by King and fellow guitarist Jeff Hanneman, which Araya says creates “a combination of speed and heaviness… Kerry's writing is really aggressive and fast, while Jeff likes things to be fast, but with melodies and grooves.” According to drummer Dave Lombardo, Hanneman played a major role in setting the album’s tone with what he described as “great punk energy,” and which King notes as having “an '80s vibe to it,” particularly in the album’s first single “Psychopathy Red” – which was based on the exploits of Russian serial killer Andrei Chikatilo, known as “The Rostov Ripper.”
"Jeff's coming in so early with three new songs really added an energy that got us all going," Lombardo reports, "and combined with what Greg brought to the equation, everything just fell into place and moved quickly.”
King also cited the inspiration of his late friend Dimebag Darrell, whose guitar he kept in the studio with him while recording. "The one thing that made me look at my lead playing a little differently was when Dimebag passed away," King said. "Not that I'm going to fill Dime's shoes because nobody can do that, but I paid more attention to my leads while recording this album. I wanted to make them more memorable in memory of Dime."
World Painted Blood runs the gamut of favorite Slayer subjects, with tracks like “Beauty Through Order,” “Unit 731,” “Playing With Dolls,” “Public Display of Dismemberment” and the politically-potent track “Americon,” which King wrote to address “what I think the rest of the world thinks of America.”
The band also noted that the Mayhem Festival, which starts this Friday, marks their second co-headlining gig with Marilyn Manson. "I had fun when we toured with Manson two years ago," King recalls. "Manson's a friend of mine and Twiggy's [Ramirez] back in the band, so it can only be that much better.” He also commented on the spectacle that Manson always brings to his set – and given the artist’s particularly weird behavior lately, it should be very interesting this year. “I love watching him play,” King adds. “There's always something going on."
World Painted Blood is slated for a late summer release, but so far no exact street date has been set. While you wait, here’s a little preview clip from the band...