Headbanging icons Slayer have slotted a "late summer" release for their ninth album, "World Painted Blood," following the quartet's co-headlining slot on this year's Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival. It follows 2006's "Christ Illusion," which itself came five years after its predecessor, "God Hates Us All."
"I figured, and I'm sure the other guys figured, that if there was another five-year gap this would probably be our last record," guitarist Kerry King tells Billboard.com. "If we're going in five-year gaps, that means two records in 10 years. I think we all didn't want to wait that long. Not that we didn't have ideas -- we toured, put out DVDs and box sets and had a lot of other stuff going on."
Slayer recorded "World Painted Blood" in Los Angeles with producer Greg Fidelman (Metallica, Slipknot, the (International) Noise Conspiracy), who was recommended to the band by executive producer Rick Rubin. An October 2008 session yielded the punk-flavored "Psychopathy Red," which was released as a limited-edition red vinyl 7-inch in April for Record Store Day, then Slayer returned to the studio from January to March. The group finished 13 tracks -- six by King, seven by fellow guitarist Jeff Hanneman -- 11 of which will appear on the album.
"I like when Jeff writes as much as he did for this record," says King. "When you have one guy doing most of the writing you only get one perspective. A lot of Jeff's stuff has a very punky vibe this time; the stuff I write sounds thrashy but with a hint of punk, and when Jeff writes the stuff is more punk with a hint of thrash. It works together well."
"World Painted Blood" also marked the first time Slayer created material in the studio rather than coming in with songs fully prepared -- a process that made King skeptical at first.
"I was kind of thinking, 'Man, this could be the first record in a long time that's got a little bit of filler,' " he acknowledges. "But I think every song came out great. I was concerned some would sound similar, and every one is completely different. It's cool how it worked out." Song titles include "Beauty Through Order," "Unit 731," "Playing with Dolls," "Public Display of Dismemberment," "Americon" and the title track.
King expects that Slayer will only play the already widely disseminated "Psychopathy Red" during its Mayhem Tour sets when the tour starts on July 10. King says some Australian dates are "on the bubble," as well as shows in Europe and Japan before the group returns to North America in early 2010.