In a brand new interview with In The Loop magazine, SLAYER and EXODUS guitarist Gary Holt was asked if he anticipates being part of the songwriting process for SLAYER‘s follow-up to last year’s “Repentless” album. He responded: “I’ve certainly never been one to have a shortage of material, so yeah, it’s a bit premature, but down the line, if Kerry [King, SLAYER guitarist] and Tom [Araya, SLAYER bassist/vocalist] want me to, I have about as good of an insight into SLAYER‘s writing style by now as just about anybody. I think I could write some things that fit right in, sure. But right now, of course, we’re focused on the tour [in support of ‘Repentless’].”
Holt, who is still a member of San Francisco Bay Area thrash icons EXODUS, has been the touring guitarist for SLAYER since January 2011 when the band’s co-founding guitarist, Jeff Hanneman, contracted necrotizing fasciitis, also known as flesh-eating disease, from a spider bite in his backyard. The infection ravaged the flesh and tissues of Hanneman‘s arm, leading to numerous surgeries, skin grafts and intense periods of rehab that forced him into semi-retirement and left him near death at several points.
Holt did not contribute to the songwriting process on “Repentless”, although he did lay down guitar solos on most of the album’s twelve tracks.
“I would have loved for Gary to have been more involved with writing,” King explained to LA Weekly. “I thought a long time about this, but I didn’t think SLAYER fans were ready for that yet. Even though Gary‘s a household name in thrash, I didn’t feel that the first SLAYER record without Jeff should have Gary Holt contributing as a writer.”
Hanneman eventually died in May 2013 from alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver. He is credited for writing many of SLAYER‘s classic songs, including “Angel Of Death” and “South Of Heaven”.
Hanneman‘s last appearance with SLAYER was in April 2011, when he played an encore with the band at the “Big Four” concert in Indio, California.
“Repentless” was released last September via Nuclear Blast.