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Slayer

an interview with drummer Paul Bostaph

Slayer on the cover of Max Ink's 20 year anniversary issue CD: Repentless
Record Label: Nuclear Blast America
Artist's Facebook
by Chris Fox
March 2016

SLAYER is a name that is synonymous with metal music, and their latest album, Repentless, stays true to the band’s reputation. The new album is the first release since legendary guitarist Jeff Hanneman passed away unexpectedly in 2013, and also marks the return of Paul Bostaph, who last drummed on one of the band’s staple albums, God Hates Us All.

“I would describe SLAYER’s sound as uncompromising, dark, energetic,” Bostaph explains. “I think Slayer spans the realm heavy metal from punk to death metal to even Black Sabbath-style stuff.”

It could be argued that Bostaph’s presence is felt on the new album, as Repentless calls back to some of the older SLAYER stylings. “This album has elements of stuff that you might hear on the older records, but for me I hear a lot of things that are really new on this record as well.” SLAYER has been around since 1981, so they’ve had a lot of time to evolve and develop with time. “It’s new in terms of an evolution of time,” he says. “Personally, I’m too close to it, but with flavors of old, it’s very much in the now of what the band is.”

The sound of the new album has leanings more toward the thrash metal side of SLAYER, than the death metal side, which keeps with the traditional raw feel that the band carries. That brash sound can often change when played live. “The material translates very well to live… I think some of it even translates better when it’s live,” Bostaph explains.

“When I play [the song] Repentless live, it’s the same song, but it’s definitely different. For me the feel is different as I evolve with the music. I think of how I’m playing to the riff, and it’s definitely changed a bit since we recorded it,” he says. SLAYER classics have developed a newer tinge as well. “The older material that we play definitely sounds different from back when we first played it live.”

SLAYER is an icon of heavy metal. You can often hear people yelling “SLAYER!” in a crowd at any metal show - much like the “Freebird” call at rock shows - but Bostaph says that being a staple of metal hasn’t changed how the band plays music. “We’re still the same band. I don’t think that that changes our approach at all.”

On the upcoming tour, SLAYER is headlining with other iconic metal bands, Carcass and Testament, opening - a pretty epic tour by the standards of old-school thrash metalers. “I’ve been on so many tours where I thought it would be the tour to beat all tours,” Bostaph says. “From a fan perspective and a musician perspective, I can say this one ranks up there for me, but I hope this isn’t the one to beat them all. I’m really excited about this tour, but hope there are many more tours like this one too.”

SLAYER is bringing the brutality in support of their newest release, Repentless, to The Orpheum on March 9.

Purchase Repentless on Amazon.com
Download Repentless on Amazon.com

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