Exclusive: Guitarist Kerry King Gives Update on New Slayer Album

While Kerry King stopped short of saying everything was smooth sailing when we talked to him at the Guitar World Rock & Roll Roast of Zakk Wylde in January, the Slayer guitarist seemed upbeat on what 2012 holds for thrash's most evil band.

"Before the holidays, me and Dave were already working," King said. "We got three songs down before we broke, and I sent him a fourth one, and we've got a couple we didn't use on the last record, so we're already six deep."

With King's bandmate and co-writer Jeff Hanneman still feeling the ill effects of a necrotizing fasciitis -- a flesh-eating disease he caught while on tour in Australia, likely from a spider bite -- King has taken the lead writing material for what will become the band's 12th studio album.

"I've got parts to like five or six songs I just can't finish. December was great, January's been a drought. I'm waiting for the drought to be over so I can finish them. I've got halves; I just can't marry the half to something else."

That’s not to say the follow-up to 2009’s World Painted Blood won’t feature some riffs from King’s partner in crime.

"We always said we'd never entertain the idea of doing an album without [Jeff]," King recently told Metal Hammer. “But there he is, getting those riffs ready!"

King was adamant that his comrade would be ready when the band hit the road in the late spring, but with some questions over Hanneman’s health lingering, the question remains: Will there be a new Slayer album this year?

"Absolutely," King said. "I want to be [in the studio] in March and April. I want to be done before we go on tour, which is May 25."

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Josh Hart

Josh Hart is a former web producer and staff writer for Guitar World and Guitar Aficionado magazines (2010–2012). He has since pursued writing fiction under various pseudonyms while exploring the technical underpinnings of journalism, now serving as a senior software engineer for The Seattle Times.