Slayer axe-man Kerry King gives the lowdown on co-guitarist Jeff Hanneman's rehabilitation progress, the rumored two-song EP and their in-the-works new album in a new interview.

Slayer are currently overseas doing some dates in advance of their stint on this year's Rockstar Mayhem Festival. Unfortunately, all of those dates are being performed without Hanneman, who is currently on the mend from a bout with necrosis that threatened the guitarist's life as well as his arm. While the unfortunate incident caused by a spider bite happened in early 2011, he has yet to return to active duty with the band.

"If you look at him, he looks fine. But playing the intricate things that we do, he’s not ready to do that," King tells MTV of Slayer's decision to tour with Exodus guitarist Gary Holt in Hanneman's place. "He doesn’t know if he has the stamina for an hour-and-fifteen-minute set. He can play any of the slower stuff and do it just like the record. But we made a name for ourselves, historically, for being good live, so we had to make the decision and say, ‘You’ve gotta get better before you try to come back. If you come back, make it a special thing, not just an adequate thing.’”

Jeff's absence hasn't slowed the band from moving forward in the studio either, as they have been working on material for a new album and just finished two songs that they're unsure of what to do with. "It’s [like], do you put them out now or do you just wait for the [full-length] record to be done?" says King. "We’re gonna finish the record September-October. So I, myself, would rather wait, because I don’t like to put those two songs out and then include them on the record ... We’ll see what the record company proposes. I think they’ve been talking about an EP, which is kind of a throwback to the ’80s, which is really cool, I think. But we’ll just have to see.”

Slayer will soon return to the U.S. to make the rounds with Slipknot, Anthrax, Motorhead and others for Mayhem Fest, which kicks off June 30 in San Bernardino, Calif.